Peoria Congressman Aaron Schock says a high ranking IRS official should be prosecuted for misusing her position to target TEA Party-based not for profit groups who filed as social welfare organizations. Lois Lerner headed the division in charge of making decisions on tax exempt status. The GOP Representative voted with the House Ways and Means Committee party line decision to forward the results of an investigation of Lerner to Attorney General Eric Holder.
"She violated the Constitutional rights of a number of the applicants for 501-c-4 status. Second, she purposefully mislead investigators who were investigating potential wrongdoing by the IRS. And third that she released taxpayer information viz a viz her personal e-mail account."
Later this week, another Committee could hold Lerner in Contempt of Congress for asserting her fifth amendment right to refuse to testify, though Schock stops short of saying he agrees with a contempt decision.
"There is some question about whether or not she correctly requested her Fifth Amendment rights. So, there are those who think she should not have been allowed to make her opening statement and sort of lay her case out and then plead the 5th. You either plead the 5th and remain silent or speak and be willing to answer questions."
It would be the first time since the McCarthy era of red baiting that Congress has prosecuted someone for refusing to testify. No court has ever denied someone's invocation of the 5th amendment before Congress.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Schock said it is clear that White House assertions are wrong that the targeting of TEA party groups went no higher than a bunch of rogue IRS agents in an Ohio office. Schock says e-mails indicate Lerner was feeling outside pressure to investigate those seeking status as social welfare groups on a partisan basis.
But, he says without Lerner's testimony of who was pressuring her to investigate groups, it's not possible to say where an investigation would lead. He says the committee looked at, among other things, Lerner's e-mails. Schock says he's disappointed no Democrats joined in the vote recommending prosecution
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