We Want to know the IRS, that is all we ask…
Based on our own empirical study (a non-scientific survey based on observation) we found that it is responsible for two actions to finally become known given this decision. Furthermore, we are pretty certain that a pound of flesh would not be enough for this action.
Last month when former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner plead the Fifth for a second time and refused to answer questions about inappropriate targeting of conservative groups under her watch, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa threatened to hold her in contempt.
Now, sources tell National Review’s Eliana Johnson that a contempt vote could come from the Committee as early as next week.
A committee aide tells National Review Online the panel will “make an announcement on the contempt process for Lois Lerner sometime today,” and a GOP congressman confirms that committee chairman Darrell Issa has indicated the vote will take place “next week.”
When the vote takes place, Lerner will more than likely face contempt charges. Keep in mind two votes will take place, one for criminal contempt, and one for civil contempt. The civil contempt charge will be easier for the Committee to enforce. The Department of Justice is responsible for pursuing criminal contempt charges and we already know how that will go. A report produced by the Congressional Research Service breaks down the obstacles and the contempt process.
A number of obstacles face Congress in any attempt to enforce a subpoena issued against an executive branch official. Although the courts have reaffirmed Congress’s constitutional authority to issue and enforce subpoenas, efforts to punish an executive branch official for non-compliance with a subpoena through criminal contempt will likely prove unavailing in many, if not most, circumstances. And it is here friends that I believe the Founder’s would be spitting venom and fire!
Where the official refuses to disclose information pursuant to the President’s decision that such information is protected under executive privilege, past practice suggests that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will not pursue a prosecution for criminal contempt. In addition, although it appears that Congress may be able to enforce its own subpoenas through a declaratory civil action, relying on this mechanism to enforce a subpoena directed at an executive official may prove an inadequate means of protecting congressional prerogatives due to the time required to achieve a final, enforceable ruling in the case.
Although subject to practical limitations, Congress retains the ability to exercise its own constitutionally based authorities to enforce a subpoena through inherent contempt. That we find all well and good; however, we do not believe that the Founder’s intended either the executive branch or the Justice department to have such power.