Boehner: No, the House isn’t going to arrest Lois Lerner for being in contempt

posted at 6:41 pm on May 12, 2014 by Allahpundit

A leftover from yesterday via the Corner in case you missed it. I understand his reluctance: Having Congress send its own “police,” a.k.a. the sergeant-at-arms, to arrest a citizen is bad optics notwithstanding the merits of the contempt charge. It risks turning Lerner, the shadiest actor in the IRS scandal, into a media martyr “persecuted” by Republicans. Is it too much to ask, though, that Boehner relay the history of this power correctly in declining to use it? Contra what he says, the House has arrested people before, more than once. And it’s all perfectly legal.

Congress’ “inherent contempt” power hasn’t been used since 1935, but it has been upheld twice by the Supreme Court, in 1821 and 1927, according to O’Donnell’s article.

The House first pursued inherent contempt proceedings in 1795 against two men accused of offering bribes to lawmakers, and more than a dozen inherent contempt cases were tried in Congress over the course of the next six decades.

According to O’Donnell:

“The people rounded up by the sergeant-at-arms ranged from would-be bribers to an attorney general’s brother who was imprisoned in 1927 for refusing to comply with a subpoena in a Senate investigation of the lack of prosecution of allegations of antitrust violations. The offending witness is supposed to be locked up in the Capitol, but Congress also has turned them over to the city jail.”

He’s going to let Holder enforce the contempt charge, which is politically win/win for the GOP. If the DOJ prosecutes her, great! The chances of that happening are a hair north of zero but it’d be nice to have bipartisan unity against Lerner. If Holder doesn’t prosecute her, great! The GOP gets to show the public that the administration’s protecting one of its own in defiance of the law. And before you say that the flaw in that scenario is that Lerner won’t do time, read Jazz’s post from yesterday. Lerner’s probably not going to do time anyway.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Boner is otherwise engaged.

Schadenfreude on May 12, 2014 at 6:43 PM

Of course not, she is damned near your bestest friend. The enemy of your enemy is your ally. The Tea party is her enemy and the tea party is Boehner’s enemy…

astonerii on May 12, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Boehner might cry if that happens.

NotCoach on May 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM

DON’T THINK! VOTE REPUBLICAN! They totally will represent you!

astonerii on May 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM

The GOP gets to show the public that the administration’s protecting one of its own in defiance of the law. And before you say that the flaw in that scenario is that Lerner won’t do time, read Jazz’s post from yesterday. Lerner’s probably not going to do time anyway.

Arrest her and appoint an independent prosecutor. There’s enough on her to convict. If she does jail time, great! If she gets Obama to give her a pardon, the administration will have revealed how corrupt it is, so great!

Stoic Patriot on May 12, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Nothing ever comes of these trials, except a waste of taxpayer money.

DFCtomm on May 12, 2014 at 6:47 PM

“Bon Jovi was like…20 years ago!”

-LIV

Bishop on May 12, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Mr. Speaker, you know good and well that AG Holder isn’t going to do anything about continued intransigence from Lerner & Co. Pushing your responsibility onto his office is weak and vacillating. Why on earth should anyone from the Obama Administration respond to you if you are just going to weasel your way out of taking a stand on or for anything.

Just as I expected, naming the committee was just another ‘feel good’ exercise from the so-called House Leadership. (Sigh)

ss396 on May 12, 2014 at 6:50 PM

AoS is back up.

gh on May 12, 2014 at 6:51 PM

He’s going to let Holder enforce the contempt charge

LOL. Holder has his own contempt citation framed and hanging over his toilet.

The Vichy GOP are nothing but a bunch of treasonous useful idiots for Barky and the dems. They all need to go straight to hell.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 12, 2014 at 6:52 PM

those social media sharing buttons are way too big…

Sachiko on May 12, 2014 at 6:57 PM

I’d be interested in hearing Newts position on this.

Last speaker with balz.

wolly4321 on May 12, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Am I the only one who seems to notice we are seeing the same articles over and over and over and over and over oh Hot Gas nowadays?? Driving as many clicks as possible I guess???

Boehner needs to go. Now.

KMC1 on May 12, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Boehner: No, the House isn’t going to arrest Lois Lerner for being in contempt

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go introduce another Continuing Resolution…

Gohawgs on May 12, 2014 at 6:59 PM

The Republican Party is dead to me.

ConstantineXI on May 12, 2014 at 6:59 PM

And before you say that the flaw in that scenario is that Lerner won’t do time, read Jazz’s post from yesterday.

Bad link? I think you mean this one?

dont taze me bro on May 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Shorter Bo(eh)ner – our shared goal with Lerner of destroying the Tea Party movement is more important than getting revenge for her simultaneous targeting of Karl Rove’s group.

Steve Eggleston on May 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM

I don’t understand why Boehner is ruling out arrest and imprisonment. It’s as idiotic as Obama taking foreign policy options off the table before negotiations even begin. Both surrender leverage for no apparent useful purpose.

Boehner should have said, we’re not considering it now. We will wait to see what Eric Holder does, and we won’t wait forever for him to do it.That leverages his power, instead of neutering it.

Holder drags his feet, give him a deadline. He fails to meet it, or refuses to prosecute without a solid legal argument, take it back to the House and see if there is support for tossing her in jail.

I’d let her sit for at least 30 days before I considered immunity. And immunity would entail explicit details of what her testimony would be in advance. If she’s going to lie, no deal.

One thing I have not seen discussed is Lerner’s vulnerability to civil suits. If she acted with knowledge of illegality and malice, any official immunity she has as a government employee will not apply. At some point in the future, I think she will wind up in federal court, just not necessarily on the criminal side.

novaculus on May 12, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Steve Eggleston on May 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM

A lousy tactician, nefarious tool, or both?.

novaculus on May 12, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Hold on now, bigots, Bonehead hasn’t ruled out an official notice of condemnation which he will sign personally in very large letters.

Ever had one of those, they can ruin your day. Ok half a day, but that half a day you will NEVER get back.

Bishop on May 12, 2014 at 7:03 PM

As the world churns, I suspect that Lois Lerner will seek to ‘arrest’ the ‘pub House, aided and abetted by the Red Menace.

vnvet on May 12, 2014 at 7:05 PM

He’s going to let Holder enforce the contempt charge, which is politically win/win for the GOP.

Aaargh, can we once — just once — not analyze something in political terms? I realize this is a political blog, but c’mon. Can’t we ever, just for once, analyze it in terms of what is the right thing to do, what is going to serve justice, what is in the best interests of the American people, instead of what is politically smart for the GOP?

To hell with what is politically smart for the GOP.

This woman is a criminal, she has persecuted people of opposing viewpoints through the enormous power of the IRS, she has thumbed her nose at the branch of government charged with oversight of the IRS, and so far she has done all of this with impunity, believing she is untouchable.

It’s time for Congress to haul her off in handcuffs, political calculations be damned!

Shump on May 12, 2014 at 7:09 PM

And before you say that the flaw in that scenario is that Lerner won’t do time, read Jazz’s post from yesterday. Lerner’s probably not going to do time anyway.

>>>didn’t show up anything by Jazz.

Is this one meant?

Bad link? I think you mean this one?

dont taze me bro on May 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM

avagreen on May 12, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Shorter Bo(eh)ner – our shared goal with Lerner of destroying the Tea Party movement is more important than getting revenge for her simultaneous targeting of Karl Rove’s group.

Steve Eggleston on May 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM

This is %100 correct.

tetriskid on May 12, 2014 at 7:16 PM

Boehner: No, the House isn’t going to arrest Lois Lerner for being in contempt

The GOP: The Progressive Party of the Future…Forward!

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 12, 2014 at 7:18 PM

House Speaker Fraud Boehner!

KOOLAID2 on May 12, 2014 at 7:19 PM

All these ‘select-committees’ and ‘contempts’ are nothing but clown shows.
They are only for entertainment.
After the Benghazi ‘investigations’ they will have one big press conference and blame everything on Hillary.

weedisgood on May 12, 2014 at 7:20 PM

A lousy tactician, nefarious tool, or both?.

novaculus on May 12, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Both.

Steve Eggleston on May 12, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Boehner: No, the House isn’t going to arrest Lois Lerner for being in contempt

Boehner isn’t about to upset his congressional frat brothers over a little thing like the Democrats using the power of government to illegally deny citizens electoral freedom in spending, especially if the attacked are the Democrats and Republicans mutual enemy, the TEA Party folks.

RJL on May 12, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Well, we already knew that Cryin’ John was no Wyatt Earp, and now we know he’s not even a Barney Fife. John needs to go sit with the women.

VorDaj on May 12, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Cryin’ John is probably even afraid of lightning.

VorDaj on May 12, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Boehner said today that he “was living on borrowed time”…?

I can’t think of a reason why Boehner would not pursue the IRS scandal….hmmmm. Let me think……….

d1carter on May 12, 2014 at 7:28 PM

The problem with ruling out the possibility of Congressional jail is, that may be the only jail time she can be threatened with.

Obama could easily buy her silence by promising not to prosecute her, and/or by promising her a pardon if she has legal trouble because of the contempt of Congress charge. And a presidential pardon would be pretty much absolute.

Except if she’s in the Congressional jail, which may be the only place where the president’s pardon power can’t reach.

I don’t see how you make any credible threat to her if she’s been offered a get-out-of-jail-free card by the president, EXCEPT by putting her in Congressonal jail.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 12, 2014 at 7:29 PM

All these ‘select-committees’ and ‘contempts’ are nothing but clown shows.
They are only for entertainment.
After the Benghazi ‘investigations’ they will have one big press conference and blame everything on Hillary.

weedisgood on May 12, 2014 at 7:20 PM

And you know clowns.

RickB on May 12, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Yeah, letting Eric Holder enforce the contempt charge is a real winner….since he is in contempt of Congress as well.

d1carter on May 12, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Boehner: No, the House isn’t going to arrest Lois Lerner for being in contempt

So…in Boehner’s eyes, this was a sop to the masses to get them off his back? Pretty cowardly, as well as being a slap in the face of True, Loyal Americans everywhere. >:-(

Newtie and the Beauty on May 12, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Courage!

/sarc

Yeah – ObamaCare will NEVER be repealed.

gwelf on May 12, 2014 at 7:37 PM

All you need to know about the bought-and-paid-for Boehner (excerpted from Breitbart):

House Speaker John Boehner signaled support for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to run for president during a press conference on Monday.

“Jeb Bush is my friend,” Boehner said. “I think he’d make a great president. And I’ve been nudging him for some time.”

Boehner made his remarks during a Q&A session with Texas Tribune at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Boehner also asserted that a majority of Republicans were interested in immigration reform, even though some were blocking the issue.

“There are some members of my party that just do not want to deal with this,” Boehner said. “It’s no secret. But I do believe the vast majority of members of our party do want to deal with this.”

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com …

onlineanalyst on May 12, 2014 at 8:03 PM

LOL. Holder has his own contempt citation framed and hanging over his toilet.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 12, 2014 at 6:52 PM

No, he’s actually got it hanging IN the urinal. He uses it for “target practice”.

climbnjump on May 12, 2014 at 8:09 PM

OF COURSE Lois Lerner is going to go to jail. It’s right there in Article, 5, section 3, paragraph 2 of the United Socialist States of Amerika Constitution … only Republicans go to jail for using the IRS for political purposes; purveying intimidation and retribution on Enemies of the Demorat Party!

[sarc off]

r27cj on May 12, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Oh … wait a second … Lois Lerner is a Demorat!

My bad!

r27cj on May 12, 2014 at 8:49 PM

ConstantineXI on May 12, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Me thinks ….

Time to restart the Whigs. ‘ow ’bout the Cojones Party of the USA. Anything would be better than the damn Repubs at this point. “Me, too, Sire!”

Thank you sir, can I have another?

Limp wits.

Chuck Ef on May 12, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Shocked. Shocked, I tell ya.

Cleombrotus on May 12, 2014 at 9:09 PM

“If XDEM doesn’t X, great! The GOP gets to show the public”

That pretty much is the whole problem with the GOP leadership. They never actually have a goal of achieving our stated objectives ever. Instead they only want to politick the dems into bad light while maybe at best holding the line on some issues before they tactically retreat AGAIN.

The conservatives and the BASE want action they want to fight they want to GAIN ground not make meaningless politick shows. We cannot get anyone higher then throw the bia in jail. I got money that once this yuppie stuck up hit intake she would start squealing. Even if she didn’t all the underling at the IRS would understand that if they continued her path they would end up in the same, and so WOULDN’T.

The goal is to stop the IRS interference based on political reasons. MAKE SOMEONE PAY The GOP needs HEADS.

C-Low on May 12, 2014 at 9:24 PM

I play poker for a living. I am trying to figure out why Boehner shot his wad before the hand was called?

Surely I would have left it out there that the House has the option to arrest her just in case.

No Chop Charlie on May 12, 2014 at 9:24 PM

You know, I’d really like to arrest Boehner for contempt . . .

BigAlSouth on May 13, 2014 at 5:55 AM

Boehner is losing on substance, and he’s not going to make it up on style points because the GOP has walked away from its base.

David Blue on May 13, 2014 at 11:07 AM