Issa Lets Lerner Get Away; Update: Issa Will Recall
Update: Politico reported Wednesday afternoon that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) will recall Lerner as a witness, agreeing that she waived her Fifth Amendment rights.
It is possible that Lerner anticipated an eventual subpoena and therefore chose to place an opening statement on record even though doing so would waive her rights. She has been accused of lying to Congress.
IRS Exempt Organizations director Lois Lerner arguably waived her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when she read a prepared written statement under oath before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday, telling Congress, "I have done nothing wrong."
Committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) excused Lerner and her attorney over the objections of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-DC), a former prosecutor, as well as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a fellow attorney. Rep. Gowdy noted that Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had said he wished to run the hearing as a courtroom. Members of the public in the hearing room broke into applause.
Rep. Cummings countered that while the proceeding should emulate a courtroom, it was not a courtroom.
Issa explained his decision to allow Lerner to leave by noting the committee's respect for the rights of the witness and his intention of calling several additional witnesses who would be able to shed light on the IRS's behavior.
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