“The underlying facts of the case and her refusal to testify have not changed,” said the senior House Republican staffer, speaking on the condition of anonymity.Lerner, as you may recall, is the person who put the "scandal" on the front pages when she tried to get out ahead of the story by apologizing for targeting conservative groups before it became public. It turns out, however, that the IRS didn't target conservative groups exclusively. Liberal groups were targeted as well. And the reason they were targeted was understandable: They were applying for a special tax-exemption. In other words, this wasn't a case of the IRS going after political opponents; it was a case of groups seeking special privileges and being upset when the IRS asked them to provide evidence proving they qualified for those privileges.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) joined calls to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress after she asserted her Fifth Amendment right during a Wednesday hearing. Issa has suggested that Congress could hold a contempt vote early as next week.
Of course, in Issa's world of Republican fantasy, this was an example of Obama's Gestapo run amok. And not only is House Speaker John Boehner calling for Lerner to be held in contempt, he's previously demanded that somebody go to jail for what he imagines must have happened, so you can see why Lerner—who says she did nothing illegal—would be wary of offering testimony.
It must be a nightmare for her to be treated like a political football, but if there's any consolation, it's that being held in contempt by the House is hardly a death sentence. In fact, in some respects it's a badge of honor, one that Attorney General Eric Holder proudly wears on his lapel—the House held him in contempt in June 2012, and yet he continues to serve in the cabinet today. And yes, it was the very same Darrell Issa who drafted the resolution holding the Attorney General in contempt. I'm sure Lerner wishes this would all go away, but if you're going to have enemies, it always helps for them to be clowns.