Robert Walker Comments on House Vote to Hold Former IRS Official in Contempt
Robert L. Walker, of counsel in Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics and White Collar Defense & Government Investigations practices, was quoted in a Politico article published May 7 about the House of Representatives’ vote to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.
The House approved the contempt citation in connection with Ms. Lerner’s refusal to answer questions of the House Oversight Committee during a hearing in May 2013. At that hearing, Ms. Lerner gave a voluntary opening statement, and then invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to lawmakers’ questions. The committee later determined that by making the voluntary statement, she had waived her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. According to the article, the contempt citation now heads to the U.S. Department of Justice where it is up to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to decide whether to bring the issue to court.
“Part of the process in deciding whether to bring a case is [asking]: Is it winnable? I don’t think this one is winnable in federal District Court,” said Mr. Walker, former chief counsel for both the House and Senate ethics committees and former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
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