GOP lawmaker calls for criminal penalties against IRS's Lerner

Lerner's emails, which the Committee released today, show that Lerner appeared to have some say over the IRS's targeting activities. In one 2011 email, for example, Lerner suggests that IRS officials in Washington should handle the issue, and others show that she was aware of Washington's involvement.

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"It certainly appears that the IRS was weaponized for the political purpose of one party," Gohmert said on the House floor in reaction. "Here we are … with a group of Democratic operatives doing things with the IRS that Richard Nixon could only dream of doing.

"I think there are criminal implications here that need to be followed up."

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) warned Thursday that Lerner would face unnamed consequences for her apparently untruthful comments to Congress.

"There is increasing and overwhelming evidence that Lois Lerner and high-level IRS employees in Washington were abusing their power to prevent conservative groups from organizing and carrying out their missions," he said. "There are still mountains of documents to go through, but it is clear the IRS is out of control and there will be consequences."

Gohmert said the Obama administration continues to stonewall Congress on requests for information about the IRS, last year's attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and other scandals. He warned that continued use of federal agencies in this way is a danger to the country.

"When one party in power in the executive branch can weaponize its federal agencies against its political opponents … unless it is stopped, this little experiment in democracy will come to an end," he said.

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