Days after Republicans in the chamber led a vote to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, House Speaker John Boehner announced his intention to effectively neuter representatives hoping to enforce a real penalty against her.
Despite her consistent pattern of stonewalling investigators trying to get to the bottom of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, he indicated the House’s role in the Lerner ordeal is over.
Although House members are constitutionally permitted to make an arrest on such charges, Boehner explained this weekend that he is firmly against pursuing that option. Instead, he said in a Fox News interview Sunday, he wants to let Eric Holder be the sole arbiter of justice in the case.
“The contempt charge has gone to the attorney general,” he said, “and it’s up to the attorney general, Eric Holder, to prosecute this and to assign someone to prosecute the case.”
Of course, Boehner conceded that he is unsure whether the Justice Department, which has been accused countless times under Holder’s leadership of enforcing the law with a partisan bias, will vigorously pursue the case against Lerner.
“Now, will he do it?” Boehner asked. “We don’t know. But the ball is in his court.”
Interviewer Maria Bartiromo specifically asked him about the enforcement provisions afforded his chamber. Boehner’s response, though disjointed, revealed his clear opposition to pursuing Lerner’s arrest.
“There’s a provision in the Constitution that has never been used; and, uh, and so, that’s uh,” he began. “I’m not sure that we want to go down that path.”
His only identifiable argument against the action is that it would mark the first time the House has pursued it. Nevertheless, the provision exists for a specific reason; and, by the criteria of many experts, the Lerner case is one in which such a move would be warranted.
Nevertheless, Boehner has made his decision, conceding he has no idea why the House has never acted on its enforcement authority.
“I’m not the historian here,” he concluded, returning to his previous position that it has “never been used, and I’m not sure that it’s uh, uh, an appropriate way to go about this.”
If you think Boehner’s wrong, sign the petition to arrest Lois Lerner below.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom