LERNER LAMPOONS SELF: House says IRS Official Waived Rights, Contempt Possible

An IRS official effectively waived her right not to testify about the  tax agency’s targeting of conservative groups, a Republican-led  congressional committee concluded on Friday in a vote that cleared the  way for Congress to hold her in contempt.

Lois Lerner, former  head of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt division, angered  Republicans last month when she invoked her constitutional right not to  answer their questions at a hearing.

The committee is investigating  the IRS’s admission that it subjected applications for tax exempt status from groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names to special  scrutiny.

By reading a statement telling lawmakers that she did  “nothing wrong” before invoking her Fifth Amendment protections, some  Republicans said that Lerner waived her rights.

The Oversight  and Government Reform Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives  approved on a party-line vote a Republican resolution on Friday saying  that Lerner did waive her Fifth Amendment protection against  self-incrimination.

“That is the not the way the Fifth Amendment works. You don’t get to tell your side of the story,” and then avoid  cross examination, said Republican Trey Gowdy. “She sat there and could  have said nothing.”

The vote could clear the way for Republicans to haul Lerner back before the committee, where she would likely again  invoke her Fifth Amendment rights. That would likely lead to a vote to  hold her in contempt of Congress, Republican aides said.

Read more: chicagotribune.com

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