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House Panel Vote: IRS’ Lerner Waived Fifth Amendment Right

House Panel Vote: IRS’ Lerner Waived Fifth Amendment Right

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved a resolution Friday determining that IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination when she made opening statements in a May hearing before refusing to answer further questions.

From USA Today:

A deeply divided House Oversight Committee approved a resolution Friday declaring that Lois Lerner–the IRS official at the center of a firestorm over the agency’s targeting of conservative groups—waived her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The move paves the way for the panel’s GOP majority to force Lerner to reappear before the committee.

The resolution was approved on a partisan vote, 22-17, after a heated debate that oscillated between lofty constitutional questions and bitter partisan jabs. Lerner will almost certainly not comply with any effort by the committee to compel her testimony, and the committee’s chairman did not say if or when he would recall her.

Lerner had been called to testify before the committee on May 22nd to answer questions about the IRS targeting of conservative groups, at which time she invoked her Fifth Amendment right.  But Lerner first read aloud an opening statement in which she said she had done nothing wrong and had broken no laws.  The fact that she read the statement – telling only her side of the story – before invoking the Fifth Amendment is what prompted Friday’s resolution.  Also from USA Today:

GOP Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said at stake in Friday’s action was a question of “whether people will come and give one side of the story and not allow themselves to be cross-examined.”

“Having now considered the facts, I believe Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment privileges,” Issa said in his opening statement Friday. “She did so when she chose to make a voluntary opening statement.”

Some Democrats on the committee expressed concerns about constitutional issues that they felt needed to be considered more thoroughly before voting on the resolution, according to USA Today.

Democrats on the committee noted that Lerner appeared before the committee in May under subpoena and argued that she did not waive her rights by asserting her innocence. They said the committee was considering a weighty constitutional question and the panel should hold a hearing with expert witnesses to further delve into the legal thicket before voting.

“This is first and foremost Lois Lerner, an American citizen, invoking one of the sacred privileges” afforded under the Constitution, said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

Noting that Lerner appeared “against her will” in May, Connolly said, “The fact that she made a statement does not somehow constitute a waiver. … We are trampling on the rights of an American citizen.”

Friday’s vote makes it possible for the committee to recall Lerner to testify again.  It is expected that Lerner would likely invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege again, which could ultimately lead to a vote to hold her in contempt of Congress.

From Reuters:

A contempt of Congress vote could lead to her being prosecuted in a court and subject her to a maximum $1,000 fine and potential 12-month prison sentence. Lerner is now on administrative leave and has been replaced in her post.

A copy of the resolution can be found below.

Resolution of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 6-28-131

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Comments

healthguyfsu | June 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Democrats caring about the Constitution…that’s cute.

Can WE send her to GITMO now? She may help the animals down there, end their hunger strike.

Abu, i got wishbon, gra and make wish, says hassan..

Henry Hawkins | June 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Hahahaha. Take yer pick, Lo-Ler: perjury or the felonious truth.

    CPT. Charles in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Nah… even though it’ll make her look bad (if that’s possible), she’ll just continue to invoke the 5th at every question aimed at getting to the truth.

    She knows the Iron Rule of the Chicago Way… nobody talks, everybody walks.

    Unless somebody squeals, nobody is going to be punished for what happened in this particular scandal, or any of the others hovering over Dear Leader’s head like a sour, juicy fart.

    And, without a Special Prosecutor, Holder and DoJ remain the gate-keepers, and that translates into ZERO action. Add to that an adoring MSM… nothing will be done, and no one will face justice (at least on this earthly plane).

    Sad to say… get use to it.

Hate to burst the bubble, but guess who gets to prosecute Contempt of Congress citations?

Aw, you guessed it – DOJ. The chances of Eric Holder prosecuting an Obama official for Contempt are somewhere between none and none. So the only option the House has is to confine her in the cells in the basement, but they would have to induce her to surrender after the citation to do even that.

Fat chance of that when she is collecting her paycheck while at the beach.

The only thing they can do is cut the IRS’ appropriation by the amounts of her salary and benefits package – and zero out their budget for travel and conferences to eliminate that abuse, while they are about it.

    They could cut far deeper than that, insisting that the cuts will only be restored when the TEA Party matter has been fully investigated. Let the majority of the IRS, who are uninvolved, choose whom to back — the cretins who got them into this mess, or themselves.

    And how come Congress doesn’t have an armed police force? Everyone else does.

The precident of telling half the story must not be allowed to stand.

The Republicans in the House need to start attaching a new special prosecutor law to each and every bill they can, including the debt limit. Let Obama close down the government to avoid having a special prosecutor look into the IRS scandal and election manipulation. Bet he doesn’t.

She is protecting George Zimmerman who was an undercover special IRS investigator looking into the black marketing of tax free Skittles.

I assume that Lerner had legal counsel and so she is too stupid to heed advice or just insists on continuing the coverup.

Too bad that the Committee cannot toss her in jail like a judge can…

    creeper in reply to GrumpyOne. | June 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Lerner’s not stupid. She’s arrogant. She knows she will not face consequences for anything she has said or done, so she feels quite comfortable thumbing her nose at Congress and us.

Feckless.

“This is first and foremost Lois Lerner, an American citizen, invoking one of the sacred privileges” afforded under the Constitution, said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.”

I always love it when Democrats crow about the constitution.

Roger Williams | June 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Why doesn’t the committee just grant her use immunity and compel her testimony without bringing the Fifth into it?

    Doug Wright in reply to Roger Williams. | June 28, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    In reality, that approach should have been the one Issa, et al, should have used. Of course, granting her immunity does mean that she’l receive the Ollie North grant of getting out of jail free card, probably forever. Well, if she can point her finger at other high up IRS corrupt officials, it might be worth it. Also, when she then refuses to divulge any of the corruption, then she could be tossed into the slammer; well, unless Obama pardons her for all her federal misdeeds.

    Ragspierre in reply to Roger Williams. | June 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    No need. She cleverly waived her immunity, so there is no need to grant her any concession.

    Just call her back, put her under oath, and let’er rip.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I understand, Lerner made her statement, and then incorrectly asserted her Fifth amendment rights to skip out on the whole rest of the questioning session. Now that she can be dragged back to be questioned, can’t she still assert the Fifth on *every* question she is asked individually, for hours, and hours..? (which is what I expect to happen)

    Ragspierre in reply to georgfelis. | June 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    After you evoke your 5th Amendment rights, you can STILL be compelled to answer.

    IFFFFFF you invocation was well-grounded, your information cannot be used against you. It CAN be used against others.

    If it was groundless (like you waived it) you are SOL.

      Ok, that leads to the next question: Presume she gets dragged in front of the Committee and pleads the Fifth after every question other than her name. What can Congress do to her? And more likely, what *will* Congress do to her? (Presuming the answers are ‘jail’ and ‘not much other than pontificate in front of cameras.’)

        Ragspierre in reply to georgfelis. | June 29, 2013 at 8:28 am

        She could be held in contempt, and she could be jailed by Congress.

        As to what would happen, I have no better prognosticator than you.

Henry Hawkins | June 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm

This just in…… in an effort to afford herself insulation from criminal charges, Lois Lerner has formally joined the Black Panther Party. Asked what she could possibly have in common with the Black Panthers, Lerner replied, “if Elizabeth Warren is Cherokee, then I’m a m-f-in’ Black Panther, aw’ight? If you have questions, call my attorney, Eric Holder.”

Now, lock her up, and keep working up the chain until we get to the traitor-in-chief.

[…] Legal Insurrection: House Panel Vote: IRS’ Lerner Waived Fifth Amendment Right: […]

[…] official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when she pleaded her innocence before trying to invoking […]

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