WASHINGTON DC - Wednesday night, four Illinois Democrats - possibly nervous about re-election chances - joined the Republican U.S. House majority in calling for a special counsel to investigate the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative non-profit groups.
Democrat Congress members Brad Schneider (10th CD) Cheryl Bustos (17th), Dan Lipinski (3rd) and Bill Foster (11th) and 22 other Democrats agreed with the Republican majority. All six of Illinois' Republicans supported the measure, in the 231 to 187 vote.
But no Illinois Democrats supported Congressman Darrel Issa's resolution recommending the House of Representatives find Lois G. Lerner, former Director, Exempt Organizations, Internal Revenue Service, in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.
The vote passed 250 to 168, with six Democrats - none from Illinois - crossing the aisle.
Chicago's C. Steven Tucker (far left) appeared with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at pre-vote press conference
Before the votes, Illinois insurance broker C. Steven Tucker was at the Capitol to call on the House to move on the IRS targeting scandal. Tucker was targeted by the IRS for an audit after he drew national attention assisting a South Carolina cancer victim that had lost his health care plan due to the Affordable Care Act's requirements. Both Tucker and the cancer patient were notified on the same day - the day before Thanksgiving 2013 - of the IRS initiating investigations on them.
Two Congress members - Michelle Bachman and Louie Gohmert - called on Lerner to set aside pleading the Fifth Amendment.
“Lois Lerner needs to tell the truth, and tell it now,” Bachmann said in her remarks.
“The IRS used intimidation tactics to target those with whom the president disagrees, prevented ordinary citizens from exercising their constitutional right to free speech, and has thus far evaded responsibility for this reprehensible action,” said Tea Party Patriots president Jenny Beth Martin in a statement. “Today’s vote holding Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress brings us one step closer to justice and accountability.”
“Lois Lerner is at the epicenter of the scandal. She even signed letters to Tea Party Patriots demanding we give answers under penalty of perjury. It’s time for Lois Lerner and the administration to tell the truth. Period,” Martin said.
Chicago's Tucker was among four who have been harassed by the IRS recently: Kevin Kookogey of Nashville, TN, from whom the IRS tried to get information about minors involved in his local group; Justin Binik Thomas of Cincinnati, OH, an educator and bystander who was targeted by name for no apparent reason; recent post-scandal victim C. Steven Tucker of Chicago, IL; and targeted tea partier Darcy Kahrhoff of Katy, Texas.