Late yesterday, Congress voted to hold former head of the IRS, Lois Lerner, in contempt:
The House voted to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt on a 231-187 vote Wednesday, as Republicans work to uncover the depth of Lerner’s involvement in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups from 2010 to May 2013.
Six Democrats broke with their party to support the contempt vote: Ron Barber of Arizona, John Barrow of Georgia, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and Patrick Murphy of Florida. All are facing Republican challengers in tough districts for Democrats in November.
“Who’s been fired over the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS? No one that I’m aware of. Who’s gone to jail for violating the law? When is the administration going to tell the American people the truth?” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Wednesday morning. ”One would have to guess, if they’re not willing to tell the American people the truth, it must not be very pretty.”
This now formally throws the matter over the fence to the Department of Justice, which is (unfortunately) headed by the least lawful Attorney General in recent memory, Eric Holder, who is also currently in contempt of Congress. Remember, it is the Constitutional duty of the House to initiate these proceedings on officials appointed by the President since they do not answer to voters at any point in time. It seems that there is zero precedent for the AG to refuse to prosecute a case like this, but given the people involved I honestly think they’ll find some way to slip around it. After all, this is an administration rife with unprecedented lawlessness and hypocrisy from the top down; sidestepping something like this is all in a day’s work for them. If it does come to heads rolling, it’s a certainty that Lerner or Holder will take the fall to protect Obama, so don’t think for a moment this will knock him out of office (and really…does anyone on either side want Biden running the show? I think not…). The only real question that remains is how much punishment such a sidestep might cost the party as a whole in November, but given the way things are shaping up now it may not add a whole lot of fuel to an already fierce bonfire. Regardless, it’s good to see Republicans in Congress grow a tiny bit of spine for a change. We’ll see how they follow through.
There’s my two cents.