House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said Wednesday night that his committee could consider holding former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress as early as next week for failing to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.
Appearing on Fox News’ “On the Record,” Issa discussed the explosive incident with U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings after adjourning Wednesday’s hearing and said he didn’t consider Cummings request to “ask a question,” because Cummings wasn’t asking a question.
“[Cummings] was just endlessly slandering the efforts of the committee,” Issa said. “Mr. Cummings is there with the president on ‘Not a smidgeon of evidence’” regarding the IRS targeting of conservatives, he added.
But, in fact, there is evidence that “leads to Lois Lerner and that’s why we hoped to hear from her,” Issa told Van Susteren.
Issa explained that, as the Democratic ranking member, Cummings received the same emails Issa attempted to question Lerner on, like the email where Lerner specifically wrote, “Tea Party Matter very dangerous.”
“When the discovery comes in from the IRS, it goes to both of us together,” Issa said. “So simultaneously they’ve been receiving the same emails, the same information. They’ve been in every single one of 33 interviews. This is not something where we’re asking questions behind closed doors.”
Van Susteren pressed Issa to answer whether the House Oversight Committee would consider holding the new IRS commissioner in contempt for continuing to fail to comply with the subpoena requesting the emails, to which Issa said the Committee would “have no choice but to hold” him in contempt as they did with Attorney General Eric Holder.