House Republicans have scheduled a vote next week to hold Lois G. Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about her role in the Internal Revenue Service’s tea party targeting scandal, setting up a major battle over constitutional rights versus Congress‘ ability to oversee the government.
Rep. Darrell E. Issa, the House’s top investigator, said Thursday that as a senior official at the center of the IRS targeting, Ms. Lerner will either talk or face penalties for refusing to help the committee get to the bottom of who orchestrated the targeting and what the motives were.
“Ms. Lerner’s involvement in wrongdoing and refusal to meet her legal obligations has left the committee with no alternative but to consider a contempt finding,” he said.
Mr. Issa has scheduled an April 10 vote of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. If the contempt resolution passes, it will go to the House floor for final approval and would not require approval of the Democrat-led Senate.
Ms. Lerner ran the IRS division that oversaw nonprofit groups’ applications for tax-exempt status. That is the branch that reviewed, delayed and, in many cases, posed intrusive questions to tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.