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Friday, March 7, 2014

What are they going to do about Lois?

Rep. Jim Jordan is quoted in the Daily Caller;
“I think that’s where we’re moving,” Jordan said. “I think that’s where this is headed.”
Jordan added that he feels holding Lerner in contempt is “the right thing to do.”
Jordan is a scrappy little bastard. Every congressman promises aggressive action on the campaign trail but Jordan delivers. One does not get to be Ohio high school state wrestling champion four times with promises. It takes action.
The executive branch does not have a monopoly on feckless leadership. Newt Gingrich would have brought half a dozen bills of impeachment by now giving the senate something to do as it doesn't bother to pass budgets anymore. Now it looks as if Boehner has no choice but to allow a vote on citing Lois Lerner for contempt of congress. It's now confirmed by her attorney, Bill Taylor, that Lerner has cooperated with the with federal prosecutors and members of the inspector general’s staff. In that setting she was of course accompanied by her lawyer who could remind her that she was protected by the fifth amendment when the questioning got tough but she forfeited her protections in congress so she should tell all or go to jail. Patrick Fitzgerald had no problem sending Judy Miller to jail when she, as a reporter for the New York Times, refused to give up her source.
When the House held Eric Holder in contempt of congress the Washington US attorney refused to act. Should that happen in Lerner's case the House is not without recourse. It can hold her indefinitely or until the legislative session adjourns and then jail her again at the beginning of the next session. The House has not used its power of inherent contempt since 1935 but it has been upheld by the Supreme Court 4 times and was used 85 time from 1795 to 1935. It fell from favor because it was thought to be too cumbersome and the power to keep someone locked up only runs until the adjournment. Eric Holder is a member of the President's cabinet but Lois Lerner is only a bureaucrat. What's to consider?
The inherent contempt proceeding is not without theatrical appeal. The individual is tried at the bar of the body and if found in contempt can be locked up in the Capitol. Seeing Lerner escorted to her seat by two beefy uniformed Capital Police officers would send outrage through out the media but it would also command attention to the details of the IRS scandal that have too long been ignored. It would be the right thing to do.

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