“Asking the Justice Department to prosecute Lois Lerner for admittedly illegal activity is a joke. The Obama administration will not prosecute the Obama administration. How much longer will the House allow itself to be mocked? It is up to this House to uphold the rule of law and hold accountable those who illegally targeted American citizens for simply having different ideas than the President,” said Stockman. Under the resolution Lerner would be held in the D.C. jail and would have full legal rights and access to an attorney.
“It’s time to for House to stop tacitly endorsing this administration’s illegal activity by refusing to hold him accountable. I expect Democrats to defend and even praise criminal activity. The question is whether Republican leadership will join them in mocking the House and breaking the law,” said Stockman.
Contempt of Congress is a criminal offense (Act of January 24, 1857, Ch. 19, sec. 1, 11 Stat. 155.) Congress’ power to hold someone in contempt has been recognized by the United States Supreme Court four times.
Democrats admit the House has the power to arrest those in contempt of Congress. “I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day,” former House Speaker and current House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi told The Huffington Post just days ago, on June 20. “I’m not kidding. There’s a prison here in the Capitol. If we had spotted him in the Capitol, we could have arrested him.”
CNN has also recognized Congress’ power to arrest those in contempt of Congress, going so far in 2008 as to televise potential locations where Rove would be held.
The New York Times also recognizes the House’s power to arrest.
“From the Republic’s earliest days, Congress has had the right to hold recalcitrant witnesses in contempt — and even imprison them — all by itself. In 1795, shortly after the Constitution was ratified, the House ordered its sergeant at arms to arrest and detain two men accused of trying to bribe members of Congress. The House held a trial and convicted one of them,” the Times wrote in a Dec. 4, 2007 editorial.
“In 1821, the Supreme Court upheld Congress’s right to hold people in contempt and imprison them. Without this power, the court ruled, Congress would “be exposed to every indignity and interruption, that rudeness, caprice, or even conspiracy, may mediate against it.” Later, in a 1927 case arising from the Teapot Dome scandal, the court upheld the Senate’s arrest of the brother of a former attorney general — carried out in Ohio by the deputy sergeant at arms — for ignoring a subpoena to testify."