Entire Oklahoma House Delegation Votes To Hold Lois Lerner In Contempt
All five members of Oklahoma's House delegation voted with their Republican colleagues to hold a former Internal Revenue Service official in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify at a pair of committee hearings about her role in the agency's tea party controversy.
Lois Lerner directed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. A year ago, she publicly disclosed that agents had improperly singled out tea party applications for extra, sometimes burdensome scrutiny.
U.S. Rep. and Senate candidate James Lankford (R-Okla. 5) said on the House floor Wednesday constitutional principles are at stake.
"Can a person stand before a court or before the Congress, and to make a long statement that they've done nothing wrong, and then choose not to answer questions?" Lankford said Wednesday. "This is a precedent before every Congress from here on out, and in front of every court. Can this be done? And we would say no."
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla. 4) said in a statement the IRS is a “frighteningly powerful entity in the first place,” so when employees use that power to silence political speech, it's especially chilling.
“[Americans] expect and trust that those responsible for threatening these rights will be held accountable and justice will be served,” Cole said in a statement. “Due to her refusal to cooperate with the IRS investigation, it seems that Lois Lerner thinks she is above the law.”
Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla. 3) says he hopes the chamber’s action means Lerner will start cooperating. But House Democrats say yesterday's vote was little more than an election-year ploy to fire up the GOP base.
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