Federal employees should not receive pay while being held in contempt of Congress, according to a group of Republican lawmakers.
Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, chairman of the subcommittee with oversight of the federal workforce, recently introduced the Contempt Act, which would ban an agency from paying the salary of an employee held in contempt. Farenthold specifically named Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service executive who oversaw the agency’s targeting of mostly conservative groups when conducting audits of tax exempt organizations, and Attorney General Eric Holder as examples of employees he would like to prevent from receiving pay.
While Lerner, who the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held in contempt last week, has since retired from federal service, Holder is still receiving his salary. The attorney general was held in contempt by the same committee in 2012 over the “fast and furious” gun-tracking scandal.
“If [Holder] continues to refuse to resign,” Farenthold said, “my bill would at least prevent hardworking American taxpayers from paying his salary.”
He added allowing federal workers to continue to receive pay after a contempt vote sets a bad example for the country.
“The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior,” the lawmaker said. “If the average American failed to do his or her job, he or she would hardly be rewarded. High-ranking government officials should be treated no differently than everyone else.”
Reps. Scott DesJarlais, R-Iowa, and James Lankford, R-Okla., co-sponsored the legislation.