Urgent: Hse panel aiming to senda criminal referral to DOJ asking for prosecution of IRS figure Lois Lerner
Per Pergram-Capitol Hill
Fox has learned that the House Ways and Means Committee is attempting to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice surrounding potential wrongdoing surrounding former IRS figure Lois Lerner.
This is in addition to a markup session, slated for Thursday, by the House Oversight Committee, where Republicans plan an effor to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.
On Wednesday, the Ways and Means Committee will meet briefly in open session, then close the meeting, to prepare a letter for DOJ citing possible criminal activity by Lerner.
Specifically, the letter will argue Lerner violated the Constitutional rights of citizens, gave misleading information to investigators and inappropriately released private taxpayer information.
Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Service code allows the chair of the Ways and Means Committee and the chair of the Senate Finance Committee to look at virtually anyone’s tax returns. The closed session of the meeting will allow them to debate the merit and demerit of giving members of the Ways and Means Committee some access to some tax records as a part of their investigation.
Criminal referrals from Congress to DOJ are rare..and can be dicey. Keep in mind the DOJ DOES NOT have to take up the referral.
The last major effort like this came in 2008 when then House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and then-Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), the top GOPer on the panel, sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department afte they felt baseball star Roger Clemens failed to tell the truth during a hearing about performance enhancing drugs.
In that instance, DOJ accepted the referral and prosecuted Clemens. He was eventually exonerated in court.
Senior Producer for Capitol Hill