House panel says IRS official waived 5th Amendment right
June 28th, 2013
11:53 AM ET
1 year ago

House panel says IRS official waived 5th Amendment right

Washington (CNN) - Republicans on a House committee rejected strenuous Democratic objections in voting Friday that Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner waived her constitutional right against self-incrimination at a prior hearing.

The resolution was the first step in an effort by Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the GOP chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to force Lerner to return to answer questions about targeting of conservative groups by the unit she headed.

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Filed under: IRS
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Ron Jeremy's stunt double

    You can't come into court and explain how you had nothing to do with anything and gives reasons as to such, without being cross-examined.
    ----------------
    That's not what happened. She denied any wrongdoing, and then took the 5th Amendment. You can plead the 5th at any time you choose. The Republicans are going "Thelma and Louise" on this one.

    June 28, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Well, she's going to jail and you can too.
    -------------
    You can't strip away someone's constitutional right
    -----–
    It wasn't. She opened her big mouth and in doing so she waived it.She HAD the right to remain silent... but she didn't have the ability.

    June 28, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. Italmn

    LOL,,,LOL,,, Darrell Isa ???? A CRIMINAL !!!! Who burned down his business for financial profit and collected insurance money???? Really ? What a JOKE! Who's calling the kettle black ? It amazes me the B/S that comes out of Washington.

    June 28, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Thomas

    CAN YOU SMELL THAT SMELL? A. Lois Lerner was appointed to serve as an IRS Commisisoner in 2005, by George W. Bush.

    June 28, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Econ301

    Steveo:
    1) YES exactly.
    2) No Incorrect. You can be completely innocent but still wish to pleed the 5th because you think they are hunting for ways to make you the scape goat.

    That's the point right, if she's guilty of a crime, charge her for it.
    Then you can ask all the questions you want, otherwise she has all the right in the world to pleed the 5th at anytime.

    The problem is they don't have anything to charge her on, so they want her to testify so they can find someting to charge her on... which is exactly what the 5th is there to protect you from...

    June 28, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Downhill We Go

    She waived her 5A rights when she issued a full statement. If she would have just said, "I plea the 5th" and walked away, no harm. But, you cannot plea 5A and then issue a statement professing innocence and then not allowing cross-examination. Doesn't work that way
    ------------------
    And it did not happen that way, either. She read a statement, THEN she took the 5th. Even if she had begun answering their questions, she can still put a stop to it and take the 5th at any time she wants. It's her right. Those male chauvinists just don't like the fact that they were outplayed and outsmarted by a woman.

    June 28, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Econ301

    If you think she waived her right to pleed the 5th, then go to the courts and have them decide if she did or did not... That is there job after all.

    June 28, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. Fair is Fair

    Thomas

    CAN YOU SMELL THAT SMELL? A. Lois Lerner was appointed to serve as an IRS Commisisoner in 2005, by George W. Bush.
    -----–
    Who cares who appointed her? What difference does it make? Is someone more guilty or less guilty depending on who appointed her?

    June 28, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Econ301

    Fair is Fair:

    I'll reagrdless, of the answer, the question of if she did or did not waive her rights is for the courts to decide. Not a vote in congress.

    Do it the right way and take it to the courts.

    June 28, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "this probably goes further up into the administration"

    There is ZERO evidence to support that ASSUMPTION. After all the hearings, investigations, reports, testimony, secret interviews, etc. etc. etc., the GOP/Teatrolls have found NOTHING whatsoever to support that ASSUMPTION. Maybe try wearing your tinfoil hat under a wig so it doesn't show?

    June 28, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "The problem is they don't have anything to charge her on, so they want her to testify so they can find someting to charge her on... which is exactly what the 5th is there to protect you from..."

    BINGO

    June 28, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. Apex

    Econ301, did you miss the part where the IRS has been caught in corruption and blatant abuse of power? Maybe you don't understand how serious this is... If the citizens of this country can not trust the IRS, or government, we have big big problems moving forward.

    As it is, we have Democratic voters foaming at the mouth that Republicans have the audacity to flex their muscle to make the head of the IRS talk...Again the IRS targeted citizens..

    I am just amazed how this works in regard to how your see issues... The IRS actions don't even bother you do they? It doesn't make you mad she won't speak...instead you name call the GOP... Just wow!

    June 28, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Winning

    Let's not let the constitution get in the way of our witch hunts and grandstanding.

    June 28, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "Who cares who appointed her? What difference does it make? Is someone more guilty or less guilty depending on who appointed her?"

    She may very well have taken the 5th because the whole thing was a ploy to create this scandal by manufacturing the appearance of the IRS targeting Teatrolls. Of course, now we have plenty of actual evidence that the IRS wasn't just targeting Teatrolls and that it didn't go "all the way up," etc., but the Teatrolls in Congress are still desperately trying to salvage their attempt to fabricate a justification for impeaching Obama.

    June 28, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Steveo

    @Econ301

    Steveo:
    1) YES exactly.
    2) No Incorrect. You can be completely innocent but still wish to pleed the 5th because you think they are hunting for ways to make you the scape goat.

    That's the point right, if she's guilty of a crime, charge her for it.
    Then you can ask all the questions you want, otherwise she has all the right in the world to pleed the 5th at anytime.

    The problem is they don't have anything to charge her on, so they want her to testify so they can find someting to charge her on... which is exactly what the 5th is there to protect you from...
    ------
    I appreciate the info! It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The vote is scary and the question I have is if they do this now, when will they do it again?

    June 28, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Econ301

    Apex:

    So because something went wrong, you are ok with letting Congress ignore the seperation of powers as outlined in the Constution this one time... and give them the power to vote on if you've got constutional rights or not?

    How about they do it the right way and take the dispute to the court and let them decide if she waived her rights or not.

    June 28, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Downhill We Go

    Let's reverse the rolls here for sake of seeking ones true feeling.

    Issa is a Democrat...the Democrats vote today to say Lerner revoked her 5A rights by not allowing cross-examination after confessing her innocence..Republicans state she didn't waive it. IRS willfully targeted Liberal/Progressive groups by a 11-1 margin...Lerner pleas the 5th to not answer questions regarding departmental actions, thus potentially avoiding linking this to a Republican administration.

    How do you feel about it now. I thought so...

    June 28, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Ron L

    PEOPLE please LISTEN, getting Ms. Lerner back to answer questions is a COMPLETE waste of time. It has already been proven that while some of the IRS employees selected more Republican groups attempting to get tax exempt status than Democrat there is NO PROOF it was POLITICALLY motivated. Here's what REALLLY needs to be done...the law needs to be returned to it's ORGINAL intent. This means NONE of them would receive tax exempt status. The problem is solved and could never return. But GUESS WHAT...few of your representatives want this because "THEY" benefit from this unexplained changing of the law by the IRS back in 1959. it allows the biggest donors both Republican and Democratic to remain in the shadows. You see if Americans found out 6 billionaires were putting up huge amounts of money in an attempt to control our political process. It would be our nature to do just the opposite to "teach them a lesson". This is the real reason the politicians want to keep it the way it is THEY WANT TO KEEP YOU IN THE DARK. This is more political drama that we as a country can do without and if it is not corrected NOW it will reappear in the future....

    June 28, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Had Ms. Lehrner really intended to plead the 5th which allows her to not answer any questions because her answers could incrimate her, she waived that right. She held up her right hand and was sworn in to tell the truth. She then proceeded to read a somewhat lengthy opening statement declaring her innocence. Then, at the first question, she pled the 5th. I'm sorry, the minute she gave her opening statement, she waived that right. Had she, or better yet her lawyer been more knowledgeable, they should have known that by making that opening statement, Ms. Lehrner was open to cross examination, and it was too late to plead the 5th.

    Bring her back and compel her answers, or jail her for contempt of congress. But, an even easier way for congress to get the truth, give her complete immunity from prosecution if she tell all, and names names.

    June 28, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    After the BOLO memos showed that the IRS also targeted liberal and other groups and the full transcript of that self-declared "conservative Republican" showed that this didn't go back to D.C. or "all the way up" to Obama...and showed that Issa had been selectively leaking cherry-picked quotes in a bid to misrepresent the evidence and further weave his fabricated narrative, this can really be interpreted as only one thing: the GOPers/Teatrolls in the House are desperately trying to perform CPR on this thing....Controversy Paradigm Resuscitation.

    June 28, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. just sayin

    Rudy NYC

    Ron Jeremy's stunt double

    You can't come into court and explain how you had nothing to do with anything and gives reasons as to such, without being cross-examined.
    ------
    That's not what happened. She denied any wrongdoing, and then took the 5th Amendment. You can plead the 5th at any time you choose.
    -–

    reading a statement is testifying. once you start testifying, you can't just stop testifying and plead the 5th unless it is with regards to an entirely different matter. she should be compelled to testify and cited for contempt if she does not.

    it is very clear the democrats are not interested in getting to the truth in this matter. like obama, they will lie, deny, and do everything they can to bury this.

    June 28, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Apex wrote:

    As it is, we have Democratic voters foaming at the mouth that Republicans have the audacity to flex their muscle to make the head of the IRS talk...Again the IRS targeted citizens..
    ----------------------
    Actually, what we have are Republican voters foaming at the mouth because their politicians have persisted with one faux scandal after another. The stuff you see coming out of the mouths of Democrats....they're salivating. They're mouths are hanging open in utter awe at the Republicans, just tasting and savoring 2016 already.

    June 28, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. rs

    Issa should quite while he's ahead. He made a mockery of the Benghazi hearings, and at current rate of burn he is apparently winding up with nothing here either. Republicans just seem to love to waste millions of tax-payer dollars on their ficticious little investigations.
    Do these clowns think that these little bits of theatre make Americans think anything more of the Republican Party? They've made wild, unfounded accusations, slandered witnesses, and proved nothing, and they still say "trust us"?.

    Not a chance, Issa, not a chance.

    June 28, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Testify in front of Issa about the whole truth? What's the point? He doesn't want the whole truth, just his slanted "poor, poor, Republican victim" version of it. If she does have to testify, perhaps she'll have as many "I don't recall..." moments as Alberto Gonzales.

    June 28, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. rs

    "Who cares who appointed her? What difference does it make? Is someone more guilty or less guilty depending on who appointed her?"
    ______________________________
    Let's see, she's a Republican, appointed by a Republican, accused by a Republican of subverting Republican groups (who claim to be "Taxed Enough Already") from getting 501 (c) 4 "Social welfare group" status, now being called before a Republican lead committee.

    What word appears most often here?

    June 28, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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