Steny Hoyer urges Dems to oppose Lois Lerner contempt
By: Lauren French
May 5, 2014 02:00 PM EDT
House Democratic leaders are urging their members to vote against holding former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said on Monday.
The Maryland Democrat said leadership would oppose the contempt vote, which is scheduled to reach the House floor this week, on grounds that it is “political messaging.”
Lerner, who retired from the IRS last fall, was responsible for the agency division that targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny as they sought a tax exemption. She has repeatedly refused to answer questions from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s panel, prompting the contempt vote.
“We’re going to express our opposition certainly to the Lerner [vote],” Hoyer said.
Speaker John Boehner has previously said Lerner would face a contempt vote as long as she refused to testify and Republicans are hoping a court will determine that she waived her Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate after giving a short speech before the Oversight Committee last May.
Hoyer said he predicts any court will side with Lerner.
“People want to read the Constitution right up until the time it makes them uncomfortable with providing people with the rights that they don’t think they ought to have,” he said. “I think if it passes, the courts will sustain Ms. Lerner’s claim of Fifth Amendment privileges.”