Lois Lerner finds herself in the midst of the scrutiny from Congress and could face criminal charges. The former IRS official, who was in charge of the tax-exempt unit, finds herself in the mix of all the IRS controversy. Lois Lerner took the fifth for the second time on Wednesday morning, refusing to answer questions about the targeting of conservative and tea party affiliated non-profit groups. Strangely, she had brought this issue to the fore front in a hearing last year, by acknowledging IRS officials gave added scrutiny to conservative and tea party groups.
The Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives will consider to hold her in contempt of Congress this Thursday. Lerner is playing with fire by continuing to invoke her fifth amendment right to not testify in front of Congress. There is question as to whether she has already given up that right when she first testified by giving a statement to the Oversight Committee, and then invoking her fifth amendment rights. Lerner could be jailed for a period of time that would be from one month to twelve months, if found guilty by the House Oversight Committee.
Boehner seems committed to holding Lerner in contempt, unless she testifies honestly and fully. A number of Congressional members have stated that they believe the American people have the right to know the truth. Of course, within the House, it is not without controversy that the vote for contempt is being put forth. Representative Elijah Cummings (D) of Maryland wonders if there can be any consequences if Lerner refused to testify, and whether or not the Congress would have any authoritative power to hold her in contempt. Lawyers who work for the House of Representatives, disagreed with Rep. Cummings and have cleared the House to move forward with a charge of contempt. Although there was no mention of Lois Lerner facing criminal charges from the lawyers, there is a number of members in the Congress who are quite clear on this issue.
The targeting of Conservative non-profit groups has set a scary precedent in the political arena. The scrutiny of Conservative groups began somewhere in the election year of 2010. Senator Al Franken (D) of Minnesota has been called out for encouraging the scrutiny of Tea Party Conservative groups. The House, Senate, and Administration were all held by Democratic majority at the time. This brings a lot of questions as to the motivation behind the scrutiny. Some of these groups have yet to get there tax exempt status. Some have reported being held under a microscope by the IRS, visited by ATF and the FBI. Whether a person believes in the cause of the Tea Party or Conservative movement, the thing that should come to mind is that these are everyday people, who are following their beliefs and forming groups with like-minded individuals. That opens the door for any party, who happens to be in control at the time, to place pressure on groups they do not agree with. That is why this issue is so important, not necessarily because of the groups the IRS targeted, but because the IRS did it all.
Recently on the Kelly File, Fox News Commentator Megyn Kelly interviewed House Speaker John Boehner. The Speaker of the house stated that Lois Lerner may face criminal charges for misleading the Congress, as well as contempt of Congress. Boehner stated, “Someone asked the question, who should be fired? I don’t care who is going to be fired, I want to know who is going to jail?” It seems the candidate for that statement at the moment is Lois Lerner. The indication is that Lois Lerner may not be the only IRS employee that could face criminal charges. Boehner would neither admit nor deny whether they were pursuing other employees of the IRS. Boehner states that House Oversight Committee is intent on getting to the bottom of the IRS targeting.
Commentary by Jabar Morarend
Kelly File, Fox News Network