House Panel Finds IRS’s Lerner Waived Fifth Amendment, Can Be Forced to Testify in Targeting Probe

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

A House Republican-led committee approved a resolution Friday declaring that high-ranking IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by delivering a statement before the committee in May.

Lerner used to oversee the IRS division that targeted groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. At a May 22 hearing, she invoked her right not to answer lawmakers’ questions after declaring in an opening statement that she had done nothing wrong.

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines Friday morning, with 22 Republicans saying she waived the Fifth and 17 Democrats arguing she did not. Lerner remains under subpoena, and the committee believes it could bring the long-time IRS official back and compel her to testify.

Late Friday, her attorney, William Taylor, issued a statement saying, “It is too bad that an issue like this gets put to a vote in a highly polarized forum. A party line vote does ‎not affect anyone’s constitutional rights and this one does not affect Ms. Lerner’s.

“Her rights under the constitution are no different now than they were when she asserted them.”

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