GOP Congressman Wants To Arrest Former IRS Official Lois Lerner, Put Her In D.C. Jail

07/10/2014 06:22 pm ET | Updated Jul 10, 2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) filed a resolution on Thursday directing the House sergeant at arms to find former IRS official Lois Lerner and arrest her on charges of contempt of Congress.

"Asking the Justice Department to prosecute Lois Lerner for admittedly illegal activity is a joke," Stockman said in a statement. "How much longer will the House allow itself to be mocked? It is up to this House to uphold the rule of law and hold accountable those who illegally targeted American citizens for simply having different ideas than the President."

House Republicans have waged war on Lerner over her role in the IRS's 2012 targeting of tea party groups trying to secure tax-exempt status. The agency lost two years' worth of Lerner's emails, which has only fueled GOP allegations of partisan wrongdoing, even though progressive groups were also singled out by the IRS. Earlier this year, Republicans voted unanimously to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify at a hearing on the matter.

Stockman, a tea party favorite, said the sergeant at arms has the authority to arrest Lerner and put her in a D.C. jail, given that House Republicans voted to hold her in contempt of Congress, a criminal offense. He said he could direct her to be arrested and held in the jail in the basement of the Capitol, but a prison in the city would be better.

"Ms. Lerner will be held in the D.C. jail,” he said.

It's unclear whether House Republican leaders will actually give Stockman's resolution a floor vote. An aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hadn't even heard of the resolution, while an aide to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declined comment.

Here is the full text of Stockman's resolution:

Providing for the arrest of Lois G. Lerner to answer the charge of contempt of Congress

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. STOCKMAN submitted the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on ______________

RESOLUTION

Providing for the arrest of Lois G. Lerner to answer the charge of contempt of Congress

Whereas Lois G. Lerner, former Director, Exempt Organizations, Internal Revenue Service, has been found to be in contempt of Congress for willfully and intentionally refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena duly issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, thereby obstructing the Congress in the lawful exercise of its constitutionally mandated legislative powers; and,

Whereas such behavior is an insult to the dignity of the House of Representatives, an attack upon the integrity of its proceedings, works violence upon the rights of the House collectively, and therefore implicates the long-recognized inherent power of the House to punish and commit for contempt, privileged under the Constitution; and,

Whereas recent history with similarly contumacious and insolent witnesses such as Eric Himpton Holder, Junior, strongly suggests that the present statutory judicial rubric set up to punish and reform such insubordinate and obstructionist witnesses would be ineffective in this case, as it is likely that the US Attorney for the District of Columbia would refuse to perform his lawful duty to bring the offending contemnor Lerner before a Grand Jury and prosecute the same for her misconduct pursuant to section 104 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (2 U.S.C. 194) and section 102 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (2 U.S.C. 192); and,

Whereas the executive and judicial branches’ prolonged and dawdling failure to prosecute Attorney General Holder’s insolent contempt of the 112th Congress strongly suggests that a like proceeding against contemnor Lerner would be similarly futile, and the threat of such prosecution has clearly been insufficient to encourage contemnor Lerner to be honest and candid with the Congress regarding the heinous actions of the Internal Revenue Service;

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Speaker issue his warrant, directed to the Sergeant-at-Arms, or his deputy, commanding him to arrest and take into custody forthwith, wherever to be found, the body of Lois G. Lerner, and bring her to the bar of the House without delay to answer to the charge of contempt of its authority, breach of its privileges, and gross and wanton insult to the integrity of its proceedings, and in the meantime keep the body of Lerner in his custody in the common jail of the District of Columbia, subject to the further order of the House. While in custody, Lerner shall enjoy no special privileges beyond those extended to her fellow inmates, shall not access any computer or telephone, and shall not be visited by anyone other than her counsel, clergy, physician, or family.

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