The House voted Wednesday to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the agency’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups.
The 231 to 187 vote, which attracted just 6 Democrats, marked the latest escalation in the nearly yearlong IRS controversy, which broke last May when Lerner acknowledged and apologized for the agency’s singling out of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Democrats who voted in favor of the move included Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), John Barrow (Ga.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Nick Rahall (W.Va.) and Patrick Murphy (Fla.). All Republicans voted “yes.”
Republicans said the move to hold Lerner in contempt was both reluctant and a long time coming, after they’d tried to secure her testimony for more than 11 months.
Lerner has twice invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination before the House Oversight Committee.
But Republicans say she waived those rights by claiming her innocence in an opening statement, and they have suggested the Obama administration is stonewalling them in their investigation of both the IRS and the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
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