The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 21-12 along party lines to send a contempt resolution to the full House, where lawmakers will decide whether to ask the Justice Department to take criminal action against her.
The Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has led the public charge in investigating whether Lerner and other officials at the IRS specifically sought to challenge conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. But the Ways and Means Committee also voted Wednesday to refer a criminal investigation to the Justice Department and has been conducting a separate investigation.
“Our investigation has found that former IRS Exempt Organizations division Director Lois Lerner played a central role in the targeting scandal and then failed to meet her legal obligations to answer questions after she waived her right not to testify," Issa said in a statement. "In demanding answers and holding a powerful government official accountable for her failure to meet her legal obligations, this Committee did its job."
Lerner has twice invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, although she has maintained, through her attorney, that she has not broken any laws.
A separate investigation at Justice "remains a top priority," a spokesman for the agency said Wednesday.