Well the IRS Targeting hearing with Lois Lerner went well, didn’t it? Sorry for the delayed reaction. I was en route to Washington DC for CPAC 2014 while this mess was going down.
Republicans have been saying that Lerner was expected to either testify or ask for a delay, today.
Clearly, that didn’t happen.
She maintains that she did not waive her right to plead the Fifth when she made a statement at the hearing last July. We were also led to believe that there would be immediate repercussions if Lerner refused to testify again. She was to be held in contempt and sent to jail.
Clearly that didn’t happen.
“On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully exercise my Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer that question,” she said in response to several questions.”
There are reports that Lerner’s life has been threatened. But in what manner and by whom? She’d probably plead the Fifth before she’d answer that question, too.
Via Fox News:
“On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully exercise my Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer that question,” she said in response to several questions.
But ranking Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., got into a heated argument with Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., after Issa tried to adjourn the hearing.
Issa at first stood up and prepared to leave as Cummings said he wanted to ask a “procedural question.” In seconds, tensions flared.
“Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this,” Cummings appealed.
Cummings’ microphone was then turned off, and then flipped back on again. Issa sat down momentarily, but then abruptly told Lerner she was “released” and said: “We’re adjourned, close it down.”
Cummings, his microphone again turned off, continued to shout, complaining about the Republicans’ “one-sided investigation.”
“I am a member of the Congress of the United States. I am tired of this,” he shouted.
The clash bared long-running tensions between the Democratic and GOP members of the committee over the IRS probe.
Lerner headed the IRS division that improperly targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups. After publicly disclosing the targeting, Lerner refused to answer questions about it at a congressional hearing last year. Lerner then resigned from her post as the agency’s director of tax-exempt organizations.
Issa and Lerner’s attorneys have argued about whether she is now still protected from having to testify under the Fifth Amendment. Emails obtained by Fox News revealed an attorney for Lerner negotiated over whether she would testify.
Issa claimed Wednesday that Lerner’s testimony remains critical.
“Ms. Lerner is uniquely positioned to provide testimony that will help the committee better understand how and why the IRS targeted conservative groups,” he said.
Issa warned that the committee may consider whether to hold her in contempt if she continues to stay silent. House Speaker John Boehner later made the same threat.
Last week, Lerner lawyer William Taylor made public a letter in which he told the committee that Lerner would testify on Capitol Hill only if compelled by a federal court or if given immunity for the testimony.
He was responding to a letter from Issa saying, in part, that Lerner’s testimony remains “critical to the committee’s investigation.”
Issa explains why he cut off Cummings’ mike: “He was actually slandering me at the time that his mike went off…”