Guidance from FNC Producer Chad Pergram-Capitol Hill:
William Taylor, counsel to former IRS employee Lois Lerner at the center of the political targeting scandal, made an usual request to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) yesterday: allow him to speak on the House floor and defend his client against a pending contempt of Congress resolution.
Such a request is highly unusual. In fact, one well-placed Congressional source tells Fox News that if the House GOP leadership did want to hear from Taylor, they would counsel the leadership to do it when the House was out of session. Kind of like a “classified briefing” and do it in HC-5 in the basement of the Capitol or the Congressional auditorium.
Typically, remarks on the House floor are reserved for Members only. The exceptions are when the president comes to deliver his State of the Union address during a Joint Session and when other heads of state come for a similar Joint Meeting.
Forty-eight heads of state have addressed Congress. There only have been a few exceptions for non-heads of state to address the House. Such was the case when Lech Walesa spoke in 1989 BEFORE he became the Polish leader. Same with Nelson Mandela in 1990, before he became leader of South Africa.
Six sets of astronauts have spoken before Congress.
The most-notable “non-member” was Gen. Douglas MacArthur who gave his farewell address to Congress in 1951 after he was fired by President Harry Truman.
Such a request by Taylor is nearly unprecedented. There are special circumstances when the House considers disputed elections (such was the case in 1984 over an Indiana House seat). But almost no vehicle permits for the type of give and take which Taylor is requesting.
Interestingly, the forum closest to what Taylor is requesting is how the Senate treated the impeachment of President Clinton in 1999. There, the Senate permitted House “managers” (House members) to present the impeachment charges (adopted by the House) to the Senate during the Senate trial. Defending Clinton was White House Counsel Charles Ruff as well as other attorneys Cheryl Mills, David Kendall, Bruce Lindsey, Nicole Seligman, Lanny Breuer and Greg Craig. All were permitted to speak on the Senate floor as though they were defending a client during a trial in a conventional courtroom.
In short, what Taylor is asking for is unique, extra-parliamentary and House leaders don’t seem willing to give him any special forum in which to make his case to defend Lois Lerner.