A guest post by Horace Cooper, attorney, legal commentator and Project 21 co-chairman:
Today the House of Representatives voted to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress and to formally request that the DOJ begin a criminal probe of her actions.
This vote is the culmination of nearly a year of investigation by the House Oversight Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee into IRS abuses. The evidence uncovered so far makes clear that numerous right-of-center organizations and think-tanks were subjected to special scrutiny by IRS and, in the process, it is likely that federal laws were broken. Last month the Ways and Committee voted to formally request that the DOJ begin a criminal investigation of Ms. Lerner and the Oversight Committee voted to hold her in contempt.
Ms. Lerner now has the dubious distinction of being one of a dozen executive branch officials since the 1970s -- including Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joe Califano, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch -- to be held in contempt by a Congressional committee.
I commend the House for taking aggressive steps to hold Lois Lerner accountable. Today's announcement makes it clear that wrongdoing cannot be ignored by the Justice Department or the White House. It is in the interest of every American that we have an IRS that doesn't single out groups or individual for mistreatment based on their political views -- this isn't just dangerous, it is UnAmerican.
Today's action signals that the House is serious about its determination to get to the root of the illegal use of the IRS to punish conservatives generally and opponents of the White House in particular. I urge Mr. Holder to act quickly.