House panel asks DOJ to consider criminal prosecution for Lerner - New York News

House panel asks DOJ to consider criminal prosecution for Lerner

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

A House committee voted Wednesday to formally ask the Justice Department to consider criminal prosecution against ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, the figure at the center of the political targeting scandal.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 23-14 to send the criminal referral, which accused her of "extreme bias." The vote marked an escalation in Republicans' push to confront Lerner over her role in the agency's controversial practice of singling out conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny.

"If we don't stand up for the right of the American people, who else will?" committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said after the vote.

A 14-page letter to Attorney General Eric Holder outlined Republicans' case against the former IRS official, saying she "may have violated multiple criminal statutes."

The letter accused Lerner of using her position to improperly target conservative groups and deny their constitutional rights; of impeding an inspector general investigation by giving misleading statements; and of risking the disclosure of confidential taxpayer information.

"This investigation has uncovered serious, unprecedented actions taken by Lois Lerner that deprived conservative groups of their rights under the Constitution," Camp said in a statement. "Today's action highlights specific wrongdoing for the Department of Justice to pursue. DOJ has a responsibility to act, and Lois Lerner must be held accountable."

The Justice Department is not obligated to act on the committee's referral. But, according to the committee, if convicted on these allegations she could face up to 11 years in prison.

The letter accused Lerner of showing "extreme bias and prejudice" in her oversight of the nonprofit sector. It specifically cited efforts to deny the conservative Crossroads GPS group's tax-exempt status application and target them for an audit, though left-leaning groups did not merit the same treatment.

On another front, a separate committee will vote Thursday on whether to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for twice refusing to testify on the scandal.

The rare session on Wednesday to consider a criminal referral produced some partisan fireworks, as Democrats called the move against Lerner "unprecedented."

Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Mich., initially tried to keep the deliberations open to the public and press, triggering a dispute with the chairman as he tried to raise a "point of order."

Camp then told Levin to "chill out."

"I'm very chilled out," he responded.

Despite Levin's objections -- and opposition from the rest of the Democrats on the committee -- lawmakers broke into closed session to debate the measure. After returning, they quickly approved the criminal referral.

A day earlier, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee formally laid out its case for contempt in a new report.

"Lois Lerner's testimony is critical to the committee's investigation," the oversight report stated. "Without her testimony, the full extent of the IRS's targeting of Tea Party applications cannot be known, and the committee will be unable to fully complete its work."

The report repeatedly called out for Lerner for refusing to cooperate with the committee's investigation.

During her first appearance before the committee last year, Lerner gave an opening statement and then invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination three times before being excused. Last month, she was before the lawmakers once more, once again exercising her Fifth Amendment rights.

  • More Political NewsMore>>

  • Got $1M to run for Congress? Barrow rival is close

    Got $1M to run for Congress? Barrow rival is close

    Regardless of whether he wins election to Congress this fall, Augusta businessman and Republican Rick W. Allen is on the brink of joining an exclusive club in Georgia politics - candidates willing to spend $1...
    Regardless of whether he wins election to Congress this fall, Augusta businessman and Republican Rick W. Allen is on the brink of joining an exclusive club in Georgia politics - candidates willing to spend $1 million of...
  • New Insider Advantage polls show Republicans with narrow leads

    New Insider Advantage polls show Republicans with narrow leads

    Thursday, August 14 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-08-14 22:58:09 GMT
    An InsiderAdvantage/Opinion Savvy survey of 719 likely voters shows both the contests for U.S. Senate and for governor of Georgia to be competitive races. The poll of ‘landline' and mobile device respondents was conducted August 12 and 13. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7%. For the full crosstabs and more on the poll itself visit www.insideradvantage.com and www.opinionsavvy.com.
    An InsiderAdvantage/Opinion Savvy survey of 719 likely voters shows both the contests for U.S. Senate and for governor of Georgia to be competitive races. The poll of ‘landline' and mobile device respondents was conducted August 12 and 13. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7%. For the full crosstabs and more on the poll itself visit www.insideradvantage.com and www.opinionsavvy.com.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Manhattan fire hydrant earns more than average American

    Manhattan fire hydrant earns more than average American

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:47 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:47:10 GMT
    One Manhattan fire hydrant has turned into a cash cow for the city.It's become a celebrity in revenue generator and it does not ask for sick days, gets no health benefits, and no 401(k). Yet it brings in tens of thousands of dollars for the city each year.The old hydrant is so notorious, it's got a personalized sign.. It sits across from 152 Forsyth St. and is a local legend.In just an eight month period the hydrant has caused drivers to get hundreds of tickets.The issue that catches drivers ...
    One Manhattan fire hydrant has turned into a cash cow for the city.It's become a celebrity in revenue generator and it does not ask for sick days, gets no health benefits, and no 401(k). Yet it brings in tens of thousands of dollars for the city each year.The old hydrant is so notorious, it's got a personalized sign.. It sits across from 152 Forsyth St. and is a local legend.In just an eight month period the hydrant has caused drivers to get hundreds of tickets.The issue that catches drivers ...
  • Zoo feeds roadkill to animals

    Zoo feeds roadkill to animals

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:07 AM EDT2014-08-21 13:07:23 GMT
    Roadkill is part of the menu when it's feeding time at a zoo in western New York. The Seneca Park Zoo has been feeding deer carcasses to its carnivores for years. The practice began after a zoo employee hit a deer on the way to work. The zoo gets the deer after they've been hit by vehicles on Rochester-area roadways. But it won't accept deer that have been dead for more than 10 hours. The zoo also accepts deer killed by bow hunters.
    Roadkill is part of the menu when it's feeding time at a zoo in western New York. The Seneca Park Zoo has been feeding deer carcasses to its carnivores for years. The practice began after a zoo employee hit a deer on the way to work. The zoo gets the deer after they've been hit by vehicles on Rochester-area roadways. But it won't accept deer that have been dead for more than 10 hours. The zoo also accepts deer killed by bow hunters.

  • Park Service bans drones over Appalachian Trail

    Park Service bans drones over Appalachian Trail

    Thursday, August 21 2014 8:25 AM EDT2014-08-21 12:25:02 GMT
    The National Park Service has banned drones from flying over the Appalachian Trail. The Park Service said Wednesday the interim rule prohibits launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on Appalachian National Scenic Trail lands. The ban takes effect immediately and lasts until the Park Service can develop an appropriate policy. 
    The National Park Service has banned drones from flying over the Appalachian Trail. The Park Service said Wednesday the interim rule prohibits launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on Appalachian National Scenic Trail lands. The ban takes effect immediately and lasts until the Park Service can develop an appropriate policy. 
  • More National NewsMore>>

  • 3 people dead in District Heights in apparent murder-suicide

    3 people dead in District Heights in apparent murder-suicide

    Saturday, August 16 2014 9:28 AM EDT2014-08-16 13:28:53 GMT
    Prince George's County police say one man and two women are dead in an apparent domestic-related murder-suicide at a townhouse in District Heights.
    Prince George's County police say one man and two women are dead in an apparent domestic-related murder-suicide at a townhouse in District Heights.
  • Iraqi PM to file complaint against new president

    Iraqi PM to file complaint against new president

    Sunday, August 10 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-08-11 02:47:06 GMT
    President Barack Obama justified the U.S. military's return to fighting in Iraq Saturday by saying America must act now to prevent genocide, protect its diplomats and provide humanitarian aid to refugees...
    Iraq's embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in a surprise speech late Sunday, resisted calls for his resignation and accused the country's new president of violating the constitution, plunging the government...
  • James Foley's parents remember him as fearless, community shows support

    James Foley's parents remember him as fearless, community shows support

    One day after news of their son's killing surfaced, journalist James Foley's parents spoke about their son, remembering him as fearless and loving, and committed to his job, which he felt was a calling.
    One day after news of their son's killing surfaced, journalist James Foley's parents spoke about their son, remembering him as fearless and loving, and committed to his job, which he felt was a calling.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices