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Contempt charge against Lois Lerner an assault on Fifth Amendment, say Dems who don’t want to investigate assault on First Amendment

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By Doug Powers  •  May 8, 2014 10:12 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

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If you drafted Eric Holder and Lois Lerner for your Contempt-a-Palooza fantasy league, your season is really off to a good start:

The Republican-led House voted Wednesday to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions related to the agency’s undue scrutiny of certain tax-exempt groups.

The vote to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress was 231-187, with all Republicans voting in favor and all but a few Democrats voting against.

It’s now up to a local U.S. attorney to consider criminal charges against Lerner. The Justice Department, however, has ignored past contempt charges against executive branch officials, including contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder.

Six Democrts voted for contempt, but 26 Dems voted to call on the Justice Department to appoint a special council (pause for laughter).

The Dem approach is to frame the contempt vote against Lerner as an attack on the Fifth Amendment:

Republicans are “looking for scandal when there is no scandal — and that is the scandal,” Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., declared Tuesday evening during the Rules Committee meeting. “Ms. Lerner had every right to assert her Fifth Amendment right. When it is in court… you will find it will be dismissed.”
[…]
Democrats have also argued that holding Lerner in contempt of Congress could set a dangerous precedent for other Americans exercising their Fifth Amendment right.

“I am not defending Ms. Lerner,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, said on the House floor Wednesday. But “I cannot vote to violate an individual’s Fifth Amendment rights just because I want to hear what she has to say. A much greater principle is at stake here today.”

The MSM has been given their lede: Why do Republicans hate the Constitution?

The First Amendment is apparently fair game though.

As for Democrats defending Lerner’s Fifth Amendment assertion, if they won’t listen to Republicans, maybe they’ll listen to one of their own:

Oof!

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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