GOP Rep.: Former IRS official Lois Lerner may have broken the law

Lois Lerner, former director of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division at the Internal Revenue Service, exercises her Fifth Amendment Right against self incrimination during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill on March 5. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The House Ways and Means Committee says it has uncovered potentially criminal evidence against Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the heart of the controversy over the undue scrutiny the IRS gave to certain tax-exempt groups.

The committee, led by Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., will vote on Wednesday whether to refer Lerner to the Justice Department "for possible criminal prosecution for violations of one or more criminal statutes," according to the committee calendar.

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  • The inappropriate behavior at the IRS, which occurred between 2010 and 2012, came to light when Lerner spoke about it publicly in May 2013. It led to multiple congressional investigations, as well as a Justice Department investigation and a report from an IRS internal watchdog, the Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration. Unlike other House committees, the Ways and Means committee has access to confidential taxpayer information that could have shed more light on the issue.

    Lerner's lawyer told the Associated Press that the charge Lerner potentially broke the law is "ridiculous."

    One day later, the House Oversight Committee will vote separately on whether to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer the committee's questions about the IRS scandal.

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