Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican member of the House Oversight Committee, described a “growing crescendo” to hold disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress after she again refused to testify Wednesday morning.
The North Carolina congressman spoke with Fox News’ Alisyn Camerota about today’s contentious hearing on alleged IRS’ Tea Party targeting, which saw an angry exchange between Chairman Darrell Issa and Democratic ranking member Elijah Cummings after Lerner pled the Fifth (RELATED: Darrell Issa angrily adjourns Oversight hearing after Lois Lerner pleads the Fifth).
Meadows explained that Issa’s questions for Lerner should’ve been easy to answer. “The bottom line message is there were emails that could’ve been responded to and a truth that could’ve been told to the American people,” he said. “And yet we continue to see stonewalling and the Fifth Amendment exercise. And really all the American people want is the truth so they can once again trust their government.”
The congressman claimed it would be difficult, if not impossible, to learn the truth of the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups without hearing from Lerner. But immunity from prosecution is a bridge too far, at least for Meadows.
“The American people not only want to get to the bottom, but they want to hold those people accountable,” he said. “And to carte blanche give immunity is not something that they’re looking for.”
Contempt of Congress, however, is another matter. “It’s too early to tell,” he began, “but I can tell you that there is a growing crescendo that they should hold her in contempt of Congress and make sure that the American people get what they deserve.”
“She has a duty to the American people,” he said. “We’ve paid her a salary — and bonuses, I might add — for many years, and so it’s time that she confesses and allows the American people to get to the bottom of it.”
“And by confesses, you mean testify?” Camerota asked.
“Well, it’s not just the testifying,” Meadows said. “When we start to see the plethora of information that is coming out, all fingers continue to point not only to her agency, but to her and those above her — that they knew about it going back all the way to 2010.”
And the next step for the oversight committee? “I think we are going back to see what our options are,” he explained. “Like I say, there are a number of us who say she needs to be held in contempt.” But he noted that she could escape that fate if she “brings forth something that will highlight and allow the DOJ to do their work, and perhaps get to the bottom of it.”
The GOP-led House famously held Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over the failure to release documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal in 2012.
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