By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A House committee is voting whether to hold a former Internal Revenue Service official in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions at a pair of hearings.
The official, Lois Lerner, previously headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. Last May, after providing an opening statement, she refused to answer questions at a House Oversight Committee hearing about IRS agents improperly singling out tea party applications for extra scrutiny. She again refused to answer questions at hearing in March.
Lerner has emerged as a central figure in investigations by two congressional committees. On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to refer her to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.
The oversight committee scheduled a contempt vote on Lerner for Thursday.