Skip to comments.Lois Lerner could go to jail in contempt clash
Posted on 03/30/2014 8:54:52 AM PDT by sgtyork
This may come as a shock to Lois Lerner, but the House of Representatives has the authority to jail her unless she changes her mind about refusing to answer questions about her role in the IRS scandal. Essentially, what is required for that to happen is for a House majority to vote for a motion holding her in contempt and House Speaker John Boehner to then direct the House sergeant at arms to arrest and confine her. Under the Constitution, the House can do that under its inherent contempt authority, which was initially exercised in 1795 during the First Congress and on multiple occasions thereafter. Lerner could be held until January 2015 when a new Congress is seated, which could issue another subpoena and throw her in the clink again if she still balks at testifying.
According to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report, inherent contempt has the unique advantage that it doesnt require the cooperation or assistance of either the executive or judicial branches. The House or Senate can, on its own, conduct summary proceedings and cite the offender for contempt. The prospect of an eight or nine month stretch in the congressional slammer might have a sobering effect on Lerner. On the other hand, neither the House nor the Senate has used this authority since 1935, according to the CRS report, because the process can be unseemly and time-consuming.
The prospect of an eight or nine month stretch in the congressional slammer might have a sobering effect on Lerner.
Plus, Lerner may be on solid ground in thinking Boehner and other House Republicans don't have the political spine to jail her. But just as the South's massive resistance in the 1950s to racial integration was doomed to fail because it could not be sustained over time, the Obama administration's comprehensive refusal since November 2010 to cooperate with legitimate congressional oversight by House committees may be sowing seeds of frustration that eventually undercut Lerner's calculation of how long she can keep silent. Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Jim Jordan, who heads that panel's oversight subcommittee, are patient individuals but perhaps not that patient.
Something else is also clear: House leaders have effectively laid the legal predicate for a contempt vote. Earlier this week, the Office of General Counsel for the House delivered its opinion that Issa's committee has satisfied all legal requirements in its dealings with Lerner and her Fifth Amendment claim, so there is no constitutional impediment to the committee approving a resolution recommending that the full House hold Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress
Contempt citations aren't common but neither are they a thing of the past. Among those cited for contempt just since 1980 are such notables as Attorney General Eric Holder, then-White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and then-White House General Counsel Harriet Miers, then-Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Anne Gorsuch Burford and then-EPA Assistant Administrator Rita Lavelle.
We should be sending more of them off to jail
Throw em all in jail.
As far as I’m concerned she is a common criminal and a traitor, to boot. Of course he needs to be jailed - until she talks. Any so-called Republican who would not vote to put her in jail for contempt is a traitor, too.
GOOD! It’s where she, and ALL the other corrupt Obama minions, belong/s!
Fine with me and while they are sending people to jail,round up the obama administration.That’s a start.
I will believe it when I see it. Until then.... Yawn.......
Republicans, the party of all bark and no bite.
Not in our lifetimes. We need a leader with the fortitude to bring respect and discipline back to the lower house. It isn't Boner, Cantor, or Issa.
I think Lerner is guilty of criminal actions but i think she did it on orders from higher up.
But I do not think you EVER give up your right to the fifth ammendment on a ‘technicality’
If they have people who she ordered to do things then proceed right to a criminal case and call them as witnesses and convict her.
It’s then up to her is she wants to plea bargain for giving up info
Yes, but ...
... Boehner and other House Republicans don't have the political spine to jail her.
So, the bottom line is, she has absolutely nothing to worry about.
You are right on. Eric Holder will not do a thing when the info is sent to him from Congress.
Yeah. Any day now.
And I’m going to win the Miss America pageant this year too!
Well that's the flaw in the plan right there.
She testified under oath that she did nothing wrong. The committee is entitled to cross examine her on that point.
By making a statement after being sworn in, she has already testified on the issue of her criminality. Whoever advised her to read a statement after being sworn in committed malpractice. Her remedy is not to be subject to cross examination, but to sue her attorney for malpractice.
You want me to do that?
Eric Holder and the DOJ have nothing to do with the Congress' (in this case the House of Representatives) ability to hold someone in contempt and jail them.
—you have it-—and, look what happened to “pants thief” Sandy Berger under a nominally Repub Administration—
Sure just like Holder spent the last several years in jail for contempt of Congress.