After repeatedly invoking her Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, House Republicans last week voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. Since she initially proclaimed her innocence, they concluded she waived that constitutional protection and decided to take action against her in the ongoing investigation.
As attorney general, the notoriously partisan Eric Holder can pursue charges in the case. Should he decline, a constitutional provision allows the U.S. House to arrest Lerner pursuant to the contempt vote.
House Speaker John Boehner, however, announced in an interview Sunday that he will work to make sure that never happens. In his clumsy response to Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, he concluded:
There’s a provision in the Constitution that has never been used; and, uh, and so, that’s uh, I’m not sure that we want to go down that path.
In other words, if Holder’s Justice Department fails to act against Lerner regarding her role in the IRS targeting of conservative groups, she could escape the scandal with little more than a largely meaningless contempt charge.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Speaker John Boehner