You all remember Lois Lerner’s contemptuous refusal to testify before a House Committee after she gave an opening statement in which she effectively testified to her defense.
The House sought a DOJ prosecution for contempt.
News that will shock no one, DOJ will not prosecute.
The Justice Department will not seek criminal contempt charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner, the central figure in a scandal that erupted over whether the tax agency improperly targeted conservative political groups.
Ronald Machen, the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a seven-page letter this week that he would not bring a criminal case to a grand jury over Lerner’s refusal to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in March 2014. The House approved a criminal contempt resolution against Lerner in May 2014, and Machen’s office has been reviewing the issue since then.
Lerner cited her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself during congressional testimony on March 5, 2014, although then-Oversight Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said she had waived that right by giving an opening statement at a hearing 10 months earlier when she asserted her innocence. Issa wanted her charged by the Justice Department with criminal contempt of Congress for failing to answer questions about her role in the scandal….
However, Machen said DOJ lawyers determined that Lerner “did not waive her Fifth Amendment right by making an opening statement on May 22, 2013, because she made only a general claims of innocence.”
Machen added: “Given that assessment, we have further concluded that it is not appropriate for a United States attorney to present the matter to the grand jury for action where, as here, the Constitution prevents the witness from being prosecuted for contempt.”
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