Lois Lerner's Attorney: It Would Be 'Un-American' to Hold Her in Contempt

Posted: Apr 29, 2014 12:00 PM

Earlier this month, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.The full House is set to vote on contempt charges for Lerner in May.

[A] memo from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the contempt vote would proceed unless Lerner agrees to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the targeting scandal.

“Thorough investigations by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee have revealed findings that indicate that Ms. Lerner played a central role in the illegal targeting of conservative groups by the IRS,” the memo reads.

Now her attorney, William W. Taylor III, is asking for the opportunity to defend her in front of Congress before the vote is taken. Taylor is arguing it would be unfair and "un-American" to hold Lerner in contempt.

"Holding Ms. Lerner in contempt would not only be unfair and, indeed, un-American, it would be flatly inconsistent with the Fifth Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court," Lerner's lawyer, William W. Taylor III, wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Taylor requested "an opportunity to present to the House the reasons why it should not hold Ms. Lerner in contempt."

Many on the Oversight Committee, including former prosecutor Trey Gowdy, believe Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights last year when she made a more than two minute long statement which included, "I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations. And I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee," before saying she would be exercising her right to remain silent. Further, recently revealed emails show Lerner was in contact with the Department of Justice about the possible criminal prosecution of conservative taxpayer groups her old FEC friends were "pushing to shut down."

As Fox News' Chad Pergram notes, the defense of a client in front of Congress is usually reserved for the President of the United States.

Leader Cantor and Speaker Boehner have confirmed the opportunity to defend Lerner in front of the House will not be afforded to her attorney before the contempt vote takes place near the end of May.