The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 11, 2014

How They Voted: week ending May 9

WASHINGTON — Here's how area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending May 9.

House

Lois Lerner in contempt

By a vote of 231 for and 187 against, the House on May 7 approved a contempt-of-Congress citation (H Res 574) against Lois G. Lerner over her refusal to answer a House committee's questions about improper Internal Revenue Service targeting of organizations seeking tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code. Lerner, now retired, was head of an IRS division that singled out organizations for scrutiny based on their name, with many conservative groups and a lesser number of liberal organizations receiving special attention, according to the Treasury Department's inspector general. While Lerner has invoked the Fifth Amendment in a House Oversight and Government Reform probe of the scandal, she is cooperating with a parallel Department of Justice criminal investigation. The department now must decide whether to take the House-passed criminal citation to court.

Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., said: "I do not enjoy holding any federal official in contempt or pursuing criminal charges because doing so means that we have a government run amok and a U.S. attorney general who does not uphold the rule of law. Such a predicament is a lose-lose situation for all Americans and our Constitution."

Gerald Connolly, D-Va., said that Republicans' "declaring unilaterally that a U.S. citizen has waived her constitutional rights does no credit to this House and is a low moment that evokes the spirit of Joe McCarthy from a long ago era. Shame on us for what we are about to do."

A yes vote was to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.

Voting yes: John Kline, R-2, Erik Paulsen, R-3, Michele Bachmann, R-6, Collin Peterson, D-7

Voting no: Tim Walz, D-1, Betty McCollum, D-4, Keith Ellison, D-5, Rick Nolan, D-8

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