The Hill | Federal judge threatens Obama’s IRS commissioner with contempt for Lerner coverup

Bernie Becker, The Hill:

A federal judge threatened on Wednesday to hold IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in contempt of court, after the agency failed to follow through on an order to produce emails from Lois Lerner.

Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in Washington had ordered the IRS on July 1 to give Lerner documents every week to Judicial Watch, a conservative group suing the agency.

But the agency did not comply, nor did it ask the court to reconsider the idea – leaving Sullivan fuming.

“If there is further noncompliance, I will haul into court the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to show cause why that person should not be personally held in contempt of court,” Sullivan told Geoffrey Klimas, the Justice Department lawyer representing the IRS, according to a transcript on Judicial Watch’s website.

Sullivan, who once held government lawyers prosecuting former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) in contempt, also warned Klimas that his record proved he’d be willing to take that step.

“You’re in a very difficult position, but you’re walking out of court with your colleagues,” Sullivan told Klimas. “That might not always be the case, O.K.?”

The court hearing marked the second time in three days that Koskinen’s received a threat from another government branch. On Monday, a group of 21 House Republicans called on President Obama to fire Koskinen, accusing him of misleading Congress about the search for Lerner’s missing emails. The GOP lawmakers said they’d already begun contempt of Congress proceedings against Koskinen, and left open the possibility of impeaching him.


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