Lois Lerner, the former IRS manager considered to be a key player in the alleged targeting of conservative organizations, was charged with contempt of Congress for her unwillingness to assist congressional investigators. Lerner asserted her innocence before a congressional hearing last year, and simultaneously attempted invoke her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Horace Cooper, the co-chairman of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network and a former staff member for the congressional leadership, is commenting on the bipartisan 231-187 vote for the charge that will now likely move the Lerner case to the U.S. Department of Justice and a court where it can be determined whether or not she must testify about her involvement in any unethical partisan agenda at the nation’s tax-collecting agency:
Tonight, a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted to formally hold Lois Lerner in contempt and request that the U.S. Department of Justice name a special counsel to prosecute her alleged crimes.
Every American should be able to expect that they will not be mistreated by the IRS, and that they certainly shouldn’t have to fear that they will be targeted solely because of their political views.
The power of the IRS is significant and, for most Americans, it is an agency that can engender fear because of how it can affect a person’s life. It is incumbent upon those civil servants to act with care and high regard for the right of all Americans to hold whatever beliefs they may choose.
This vote makes clear that Ms. Lerner’s breach was serious and likely violated federal law. She and any others who aided her in these apparently egregious acts of political targeting must be held accountable.
Political freedom is a value that we can all come together in support of — left, right and middle. I commend the congressmen who stood up for the liberty of all Americans to participate, or not, in the political arena free from reprisal.