Newsletter subscribe

Features, Politics, Top Stories

Oversight Committee: Lerner Waived Her 5thAmendment Right

Posted: June 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm   /   by

WASHINGTON- On a vote of 22-17, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today approved a resolution determining that IRS official Lois Lerner waived her 5th amendment rights when at a May 22, 2013 hearing she offered testimony and answered questions.

“Today’s vote brings us closer to hearing Ms. Lerner’s important testimony about the targeting of conservatives,” said Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “The Committee remains focused on hearing Ms. Lerner’s full and truthful testimony.”

Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS during the time that political groups applying for tax exempt status were being targeted for extra scrutiny. As such, she is in a unique position to answer key questions about the targeting. On May 22, after being subpoenaed to testify, Lerner appeared before the Committee and gave a voluntary opening statement denying any wrongdoing and stating that she intended to invoke her Fifth Amendment right.  Several Committee members raised objections, contending the witness had effectively waived her Fifth Amendment right by reading a self-selected and entirely voluntary opening statement that was entered into the record.  After conferring with counsel, Issa allowed Lerner to leave and later recessed the hearing so the issue may be resolved.

The Committee defeated an amendment offered by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton, D-D.C., to effectively kill the resolution by a vote of 20-16.

Click here to view Chairman Issa’s opening statement, and click here to view comments by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC., a Committee member and former state and federal prosecutor, who outlined the specific statements Ms. Lerner made which caused her to waived her 5th amendment right. Full markup details will be posted here within 24 hours. You can find a copy of the resolution here.

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook