I made mention of this very issue a couple of weeks ago when former head of the Internal Revenue Service Lois Lerner pleaded the Fifth Amendment before a Congressional committee investigating illegal activity by the federal agency. Well, now at least one congressman has introduced legislation to deprive Attorney General Eric Holder of his salary for being found in contempt of Congress over his years of stonewalling subpoenaed documents in the Fast and Furious scandal.
“The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior,” Mr. Farenthold said.
Though last week’s encounter between Eric Holder and Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) took center stage, with Holder bowing up to Gohmert’s claim that the Attorney General didn’t think that contempt of Congress was a big deal, there was an even more blunt statement made by Congressman Farenthold. Farenthold said that Holder should not have even been allowed to testify, seeing that he has been held in contempt of Congress.
“I just don’t think it’s appropriate that Mr. Holder be here. He’s in contempt of this body…. If an American citizen had not complied with one of the Justice Department subpoenas, they would be in jail, not sitting here in front, testifying,” the congressman said.
During his statements, Farenthold also said what he had done and was pursuing, which has now come to pass. “I’ve called for his resignation, I’ve sponsored articles of impeachment and this week, I’m going to be introducing legislation that would prevent federal employees who are held in contempt of Congress or who fail to fully comply with a Congressional subpoena from being paid their taxpayer-funded salary,” he said. “I’m going to try and get that [the legislation] included with the appropriations bills that’ll be going through.”
According to Farenthold’s press release, “H.R. 4447 would simply prohibit any federal employee who is found in contempt of Congress from receiving his or her salary. More specifically, the bill would officially direct the employer of any officer or employee of the federal government who is in contempt of Congress to not pay compensation to the officer or employee while he or she remains in contempt.”
Like me, he recognizes that even members like Lois Lerner may exercise the right to silence, but that does not make them immune from the people pulling their pay, lest they are willing to be open and forthright with the American people, which are those to whom they are ultimately accountable.
“In the next few weeks, the House is set to hold former IRS department head Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her role in the IRS’ political targeting of conservative groups,” he stated. “While Ms. Lerner has since retired from the IRS, my bill will at least prevent current and future federal employees, like Attorney General Holder, from continuing to collect their taxpayer-paid salaries while held in contempt of Congress.”
This is a good start, but I would like to see it applied to pensions as well. I feel confident Lerner will be held in contempt of Congress. I don’t think it would be a stretch to remove the people funding the lifestyle of the scandalous and secret employees they hired, who will not comply in an ongoing investigation over crimes against the American people. Like I said, this is a good start. I would like to see a bit more teeth to it.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost.