Congressman Steve Stockman files motion ordering the arrest of Lois Lerner

Washington, DC - Congressman Steve Stockman Thursday filed a resolution directing the House Sergeant-At-Arms to arrest former IRS Director of the Exempt Organizations Unit Lois Lerner on charges of contempt of Congress.

“Asking the Justice Department to prosecute Lois Lerner for admittedly illegal activity is a joke.  The Obama administration will not prosecute the Obama administration.  How much longer will the House allow itself to be mocked?  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,” said Stockman.

“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.

Under the resolution Lerner would be held in the D.C. jail and would have full legal rights and access to an attorney.

“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,” said Stockman.

Contempt of Congress is a criminal offense (Act of January 24, 1857, Ch. 19, sec. 1, 11 Stat. 155.)  Congress’ power to hold someone in contempt has been recognized by the United States Supreme Court four times.

Democrats admit the House has the power to arrest those in contempt of Congress.  “I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day,” former House Speaker and current House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi told The Huffington Post just days ago, on June 20.  “I’m not kidding. There’s a prison here in the Capitol. If we had spotted him in the Capitol, we could have arrested him.”

CNN has also recognized Congress’ power to arrest those in contempt of Congress, going so far in 2008 as to televise potential locations where Rove would be held.

The New York Times also recognizes the House’s power to arrest. 

“From the Republic’s earliest days, Congress has had the right to hold recalcitrant witnesses in contempt — and even imprison them — all by itself. In 1795, shortly after the Constitution was ratified, the House ordered its sergeant at arms to arrest and detain two men accused of trying to bribe members of Congress. The House held a trial and convicted one of them,” the Times wrote in a Dec. 4, 2007 editorial.

“In 1821, the Supreme Court upheld Congress’s right to hold people in contempt and imprison them. Without this power, the court ruled, Congress would “be exposed to every indignity and interruption, that rudeness, caprice, or even conspiracy, may mediate against it.” Later, in a 1927 case arising from the Teapot Dome scandal, the court upheld the Senate’s arrest of the brother of a former attorney general - carried out in Ohio by the deputy sergeant at arms - for ignoring a subpoena to testify,” the Times wrote.

The text of the resolution, H.Res. 664, follows.

Providing for the arrest of Lois G. Lerner to answer the charge of contempt of Congress

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. STOCKMAN submitted the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on ______________

RESOLUTION

Providing for the arrest of Lois G. Lerner to answer the charge of contempt of Congress

Whereas Lois G. Lerner, former Director, Exempt Organizations, Internal Revenue Service, has been found to be in contempt of Congress for willfully 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 behavior 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-recognized 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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