Congressman Steve Stockman (R-Texas) took the IRS tax scandal to the next level Thursday by calling for the House to actually arrest Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who is accused of selectively targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny while applying for tax-exempt status.
“How much longer will the House allow itself to be mocked?” Stockman asked. “It is up to this House to uphold the rule of law and hold accountable those who illegally targeted American citizens for simply having different ideas than the President.”
The fact that Stockman is the pol to call for Lerner’s arrest won’t come as a surprise to observers of his recent political career. The outgoing congressman ran what reporters widely described as a bizarre campaign when he unsuccessfully primaried Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) this year. During that race, among other things, he disappeared from the campaign trail. Stockman was also once praised by New York magazine for being one of Congress’ greatest trolls — an internet term for someone who deliberately goes out of his way to provoke an angry response from his opponent.
Indeed, Stockman’s press release justified his call for Lerner’s arrest by recalling the time House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed the House could have done the same to Republican strategist Karl Rove. Stockman asserted his position was actually more moderate because he wanted to send Lerner to the Washington DC prison system instead imprisoning her in the Capitol building.
“Democrats have openly stated the House has the powers to arrest those in contempt of Congress and imprison them in the Capitol. I don’t want to go as far as Democrats in exercising the House’s powers to arrest. Ms. Lerner will be held in the D.C. jail,” said Stockman.
He also claimed it’s expected for Democrats to cheer criminal behaviour and asked if the House Republican leadership would join them by dismissing his resolution.
“Asking the Justice Department to prosecute Lois Lerner for admittedly illegal activity is a joke. The Obama administration will not prosecute the Obama administration,” he said. “It’s time to for House to stop tacitly endorsing this administration’s illegal activity by refusing to hold him accountable. I expect Democrats to defend and even praise criminal activity. The question is whether Republican leadership will join them in mocking the House and breaking the law.”
View Stockman’s resolution below.
Providing for the arrest of Lois G. Lerner to answer the charge of contempt of Congress
Whereas Lois G. Lerner, former Director, Exempt Organisations, Internal Revenue Service, has been found to be in contempt of Congress for wilfully and intentionally refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena duly issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, thereby obstructing the Congress in the lawful exercise of its constitutionally mandated legislative powers; and,
Whereas such behaviour is an insult to the dignity of the House of Representatives, an attack upon the integrity of its proceedings, works violence upon the rights of the House collectively, and therefore implicates the long-recognised inherent power of the House to punish and commit for contempt, privileged under the Constitution; and,
Whereas recent history with similarly contumacious and insolent witnesses such as Eric Himpton Holder, Junior, strongly suggests that the present statutory judicial rubric set up to punish and reform such insubordinate and obstructionist witnesses would be ineffective in this case, as it is likely that the US Attorney for the District of Columbia would refuse to perform his lawful duty to bring the offending contemnor Lerner before a Grand Jury and prosecute the same for her misconduct pursuant to section 104 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (2 U.S.C. 194) and section 102 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (2 U.S.C. 192); and,
Whereas the executive and judicial branches’ prolonged and dawdling failure to prosecute Attorney General Holder’s insolent contempt of the 112th Congress strongly suggests that a like proceeding against contemnor Lerner would be similarly futile, and the threat of such prosecution has clearly been insufficient to encourage contemnor Lerner to be honest and candid with the Congress regarding the heinous actions of the Internal Revenue Service;
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Speaker issue his warrant, directed to the Sergeant-at-Arms, or his deputy, commanding him to arrest and take into custody forthwith, wherever to be found, the body of Lois G. Lerner, and bring her to the bar of the House without delay to answer to the charge of contempt of its authority, breach of its privileges, and gross and wanton insult to the integrity of its proceedings, and in the meantime keep the body of Lerner in his custody in the common jail of the District of Columbia, subject to the further order of the House. While in custody, Lerner shall enjoy no special privileges beyond those extended to her fellow inmates, shall not access any computer or telephone, and shall not be visited by anyone other than her counsel, clergy, physician, or family.
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