WASHINGTON (AP) - The lawyer for a former Internal Revenue Service official at the heart of the agency's tea party controversy is asking to address the House ahead of a vote to hold his client in contempt of Congress.

WASHINGTON (AP) The lawyer for a former Internal Revenue Service official at the heart of the agency's tea party controversy is asking to address the House ahead of a vote to hold his client in contempt of Congress.

Lois Lerner directed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. This month, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions at a pair of hearings about IRS agents improperly singling out tea party applications for extra scrutiny.

Lerner's lawyer, William W. Taylor III, wrote in a letter Monday to House Speaker John Boehner that holding her in contempt would be, quote, "un-American."

Boehner's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The House is expected to vote on the contempt measure in May.