Former Rep. Alan West (R-FL) said that Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa “should not have adjourned Wednesday's hearing” following former IRS official Lois Lerner’s refusal to answer questions and take the Fifth.
The controversial conservative known for speaking his mind said, "Well, that is going to play bad as far as the optics. What I would have done is keep the pressure on Lois Lerner, because now no one is going to be talking about Lois Lerner. As a matter of fact, if Lois Lerner does not want to answer the questions of the American people, then she should not be getting that six-figure, taxpayer-funded pension that she is receiving. Now everyone is going to be talking about Darrell Issa and how he reacted," West told Newsmax TV's J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" Tuesday.
West feels, like a majority on the Oversight Committee, that Lerner should move to hold her in contempt of Congress.
The former congressman went on to say, "That's the only way you get it back on her. And really, she is thumbing her nose. When you think about what President Obama recently said in his interview with Bill O'Reilly, that there's not a smidgen of corruption in the IRS. Well, then, why is Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth? And so, somehow you got to retake that high ground and you got to do it quickly."
It was Lerner’s second appearance before the committee taking the Fifth Amendment to protect herself from self-incrimination. Lerner, who headed the IRS division that targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, was advised by her attorney after some initial tough questioning by Rep Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and the committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) to invoke the Fifth.
West formerly represented Florida's 22nd Congressional District from 2011 to 2013. He objected to Chairman Issa closing the hearing before Rep. Elisha Cummings, an ardent Obama supporter, could raise his objections to the tone of the hearing.
Said West, "I would have allowed Elijah Cummings to make his statement, to talk, because just the same as we've seen with Harry Reid on the Senate floor, give them the microphone. Let them use their own words to, you know, really tie themselves in a knot.”
"But now he's (Issa) lost that high ground.”
In the next days and weeks, it will be the topic of Washington as to whether the Republicans with a contempt of Congress citation can make Lerner talk.
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