Democrats Turn on IRS; Compare IRS Scandal to Totalitarian Regimes
As the House Oversight Committee commenced its hearing on the IRS Scandal Wednesday, it was clear that Democrats, visibly angered by the decision of IRS Exempt Organizations director Lois Lerner to answer questions, turned on the agency. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
In a fiery statement, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), cited the State Department's annual human rights report, and the practice of tyrannical regimes that enact human rights on paper but fail to honor them in practice. He compared the conduct of the IRS in singling out Tea Party and conservative groups to those regimes.
The witnesses were then sworn in. Lerner read an opening statement in which she denied providing false information to the committee or any other body: "I have not done anything wrong," she said defiantly.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) demanded that Lerner be made to testify, arguing that she had waived her Fifth Amendment rights by telling her side of the story. In a courtroom, he said, she would have been regarded as having waived her rights--and, he pointed out, Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had said he wished to conduct the hearings like court proceedings. The hearing room broke out in applause.
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