WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has introduced the “Contempt Act” to prohibit taxpayer-funded salaries from going to government officials found in contempt of Congress.

The Texas Republican official introduced H.R. 4447, the “Contempt Act,” last Thursday, which would direct the employer of any officer or employee of the federal government who is in contempt of Congress to not pay compensation to the officer or employee while he or she remains in contempt.

The move comes following Farenthold’s refusal to question Attorney General Eric Holder in a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week, citing Holder’s previous non-compliance in turning over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal.

At the hearing, Farenthold waived his time to question Holder, who he said should not even be in attendance given that any other “American citizen had not complied with one of the Justice Department’s subpoenas, they would be in jail and not sitting here in front of me, testifying.”

Farenthold released the following the statement regarding his contempt bill’s introduction: “In 2012, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting operation – despite this fact, he is still receiving his paycheck courtesy of American taxpayers.”

Farenthold cited similar “bad behavior” that shouldn’t be rewarded by taxpayer dollars, noting former IRS department head Lois Lerner’s upcoming contempt of Congress hearing, although she has since retired from the Internal Revenue Service.

“My bill will at least prevent current and future federal employees, like Attorney General Holder, from continuing to collect their taxpayer-paid salaries while held in contempt of Congress,” Farenthold said in a statement.

“The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior. 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.”


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