Challenging Congressional Subpoenas: Procedural Options

Law360, New York (April 9, 2014, 11:26 PM EDT) -- For over two years, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been investigating whether conservative groups that applied for IRS recognition of their tax-exempt status were subject to heightened scrutiny by the IRS. The committee has held multiple hearings and issued a number of subpoenas for witness testimony. One of the subpoenaed witnesses is Lois Lerner, the former head of the IRS division responsible for reviewing those tax-exemption applications. In her first appearance before the committee, Lerner insisted she had done nothing illegal and then refused to answer any questions by asserting her Fifth-Amendment right not to testify. The investigation escalated last month when Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., announced his plan to pursue contempt charges against Lerner for her failure to comply with the subpoena in light of her initial statement, which Chairman Issa believes waived her right to refuse to testify. The committee is scheduled to meet this week to consider a resolution holding Lerner in contempt of Congress....

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