WASHINGTON, May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents 41 organizations in a federal lawsuit challenging the IRS, said today's decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress sends an important message in the ongoing process to hold those responsible for the unlawful targeting of conservative and tea party groups accountable.
"By holding Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, the U.S. House sends an important message – that no one is above the law," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "She ignored a Congressional subpoena and refused to testify – refused to tell the truth about the unlawful and illegal targeting scheme as well as her involvement and the involvement of others in this scandal. What happened at the IRS is a real tragedy. Blatant targeting of Americans because of their political views. Sidestepping the constitution. And, violating the trust of the American people. The decision to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress is an important step forward on the road to accountability – an important marker along the way to uncovering the truth."
It's now up to Attorney General Holder to determine whether to permit a federal court to move forward with the contempt finding.
"Unfortunately, we don't expect the Attorney General to move forward with this case," said Sekulow. "Sadly, he has put politics above the enforcement of the law on numerous occasions and unfortunately that is likely to occur again."
Today's vote comes on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Lois Lerner admitting to and apologizing for the targeting scheme in an answer to a question she planted at an ABA meeting on May 10, 2013.
"From the very beginning, Lerner was not truthful with the American people," said Sekulow. "She downplayed the extent of the problem and attempted to blame a national scheme on a few rogue employees out of a single IRS office. But in the past year, we have learned that Lerner and others (we still don't know how high the involvement goes) employed a strategy to delay these applications – effectively silencing these conservative organizations – putting them on the sideline in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election."
The ACLJ remains committed to unearthing the truth about the IRS targeting scheme through its federal lawsuit which is progressing.
The ACLJ represents 41 organizations in 22 states. Of the 41 groups, 24 organizations received tax-exempt status after lengthy delays, 11 are still pending, 5 withdrew applications because of frustration with the IRS process, and 1 had their file closed by the IRS after refusing to answer the unconstitutional requests for more information.
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SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice