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Washington (CNN) – The Republican-led House Oversight Committee voted 21-12 Thursday to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about the agency's targeting of conservative and other groups. The vote sets up a full debate on the House floor, followed by possible court battle over the Fifth Amendment and a potential standoff with the Justice Department.
"This is not something that I take lightly,” said Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa of California. “We cannot tell the American people we have done all we can do to get to the truth in this investigation if we give a pass to a critical witness like Ms. Lerner.” FULL STORY
We want you to weigh in: Do you think Lois Lerner should be held in contempt over the IRS scandal?
Vote by tweeting Yes or No using #Crossfire or by commenting on our Facebook post. View results below or through our Poptip results page.
Posted by CNN's Christina Manduley
Filed under: Fireback • IRS • Lois Lerner • Political scandal • Political Ticker • Politics
Author, documentary filmmaker, historian, Speaker of the House (1995-1999), and 2012 Republican presidential candidate
Fmr. Obama Deputy Campaign Mgr. and W.H. Sr. Adviser, founder of Precision Strategies, fmr. Sr. Adviser to Maj. Leader Reid and Sen. Kennedy
Conservative columnist for New York Daily News, contributing editor at Townhall Magazine, commentator and author
Former Special Adviser for Green Jobs under President Obama, co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, author and attorney
None of us should be suprised by ANYTHING SLIMY, SLEAZY, AND ILLEGAL done by anyone connected to Obama....It's simply in the blood for LIBS/DEMS to lie, cheat, steal, and circumvent the law....
Grant her immunity, ask your questions, and then charge her if she refuses to answer. Simple solution. Why isn't it being handled this way. Because the GOP/TP has no real interest in getting the facts. Its easier to whip the mob into a frenzy and increase fund-raising by holding a witch hunt. Issa is a joke. Question for all of the arm-chair lawyers on this thread. Can Issa personally be sued if the courts rule against, or is he completely protected?
How about water boarding?
I think everyone in congress should be water boarded for treason!
I think Senator Cummings should go to jail too!
Issa has the right to begin proceeding against him if he feels like there is enough evidence to warrant charges.
He has not done so. He hasn't done it with Lerner either. There is a reason for him not bringing charges against anyone and pushing so hard for Lerner to be forced to testify. The reason is he doesn't have enough evidence to charge anyone with anything otherwise.
If, as Obama says, there is not s smidgen of corruption in the IRS targeting scandal, what on earth could she possibly incriminate herself on? Why shouldn't she be made to explain her emails? Why shouldn't Cummings be made to explain his emails? Now we know why he wanted this case closed so fast, don't we? Looks like Issa found a smoking gun in Cummings hands!
Again, regardless of what Obama says, if SHE believes that her testimony will lead to her incarceration, she cannot be forced to testify short of giving immunity.
She may believe what she did was correct, but the current leaders of the house will twist her testimony and cause her to go to jail for it anyway for political reasons. Even in that scenario, she can take the 5th.
The 5th amendment prevents you from being forced to incriminate yourself. Why shouldn't she be made to testify? Because the constitution says she doesn't have to.
If congress wants to send her (or Cummings) to jail, they'll have to find evidence that will hold up in court and press charges. They simply don't have that evidence or they would have done so already. The only way to force her to testify is to grant immunity.
All the arguments come back to the fact that everyone pressing her to testify is assuming she's guilty. And if those people are correct, I can't see how ANY of them would think she should be forced to testify. The constitution says she doesn't have to. Congress can't trick you into beginning to testify and then force you to answer questions because you began. It's not a court trial... you can take the 5th at any time as selectively or widely as you like.
IF the GOP believes she's guilty... then stop with the contempt garbage and admit she has the right to take the 5th. If they believe she's innocent, then give her immunity and she has to testify. You cannot have it both ways.
Issa can bring charges in any of his proceedings. The IRS "scandal" his Benghazi "investigation"...any of them he likes. Over a year of hearings...doesn't appear there is anything there. If there was, I'd expect formal charges.
Kurt – you are 100% correct (I'm a 2nd year law student)
persecuted by hose republicans at sham hearing
There is a better way to get this woman in prison for doing the acts that she committed. Go after the "people" that were supposed to be doing the actions and offer them a deal for immunity and put her out to dry. It's time then let's see if the White House will protect her like they did Holder in the Fast and Furious.
Yes, absolutely she should be held in contempt and be forced to testify. Obama promised that he would bring transparency and sunlight onto government behavior. This is not what the American people signed up for. This is what republicans do.......isn't it. Whether we like it or not we must hold our politicians to their words. This was a cornerstone of the Obama campaign. Even it this reflects very poorly on the party she should be held in contempt.
This is precisely why we will lose the election in 2016. The healthcare lies told day after day and now the IRS scandal which we all know was very wrong. Sometimes it is difficult to be honest with yourself and your party but we must be better than the opposition. If she does not come clean this will be another nail in the coffin.
Obama's promises cannot force someone to give testimony that might cause them to go to jail.
If congress wants her testimony, they can grant her immunity. If they have enough to press charges, they should press charges on the actual topics they want her to testify on. But they cannot force her to testify on something where her testimony can send her to jail.
This isn't a transparency issue... it's an issue on if she should be forced to self-incriminate. The constitution says she cannot be forced to do that.
This comment is too thoughtful for the CNN forums..
Ok, if no law was broken and the IRS is on the up and up, then please tell me why she would plead the 5th to begin with. How can she possible "incriminate" herself if no "criminal" action was taken?
The reason she is pleading the 5th is because she was directed to target conservative groups and she did so. I suppose if some harm were to come to her, ala Ron Brown and Vincent Foster, you guys would think it was Issa that did it. All that aside, she plead the 5th AFTER giving testimony. She is in contempt - whether she's making Democratic stew or Republican pie, she is in contempt.
"Ok, if no law was broken and the IRS is on the up and up, then please tell me why she would plead the 5th to begin with. How can she possible "incriminate" herself if no "criminal" action was taken?"
While not exactly likely, you could take the 5th if you believe your actions were legal but others may twist those actions in a way that could cause you to be charged with a crime. For example, in this case the law actually ALLOWS for the IRS to evaluate these organizations. She is in fact allowed to direct those in the IRS to investigate these organizations. What she's NOT allowed to do is to discriminate on selecting which ones to investigate based on political reasons. She could believe she didn't use politics in her judgement, but believe that it may look like she did to others. Thus she is using the 5th to protect herself from charges based on others misinterpreting what she did as politically motivated.
Likely? Perhaps not. But it is in fact a justification that can be used (successfully) in her taking the 5th and claiming she is still innocent.
"The reason she is pleading the 5th is because she was directed to target conservative groups and she did so."
Actually, that's not a valid reason for pleading the 5th. If that were the case she wouldn't be incriminating herself, but rather her superiors. It's clear the GOP doesn't believe that's the case either or she would be given immunity and be forced to testify to get the bigger fish. It's pretty clear that the biggest fish that could possibly go down from this is Lerner herself... otherwise she'd have already been granted immunity.
"I suppose if some harm were to come to her, ala Ron Brown and Vincent Foster, you guys would think it was Issa that did it. "
I'm sure you'd think it was a vast conspiracy.
"All that aside, she plead the 5th AFTER giving testimony. She is in contempt – whether she's making Democratic stew or Republican pie, she is in contempt."
You can take the 5th at ANY TIME when testifying to congress. You can testify som, then take the 5th on several questions, then testify some more. The reason (as I've explained in the thread several times) is that in a criminal trial the lawyers have restrictions on what they can question you on. Because of that, once you begin to answer questions, you've agreed to answer all of them related to the trial. Congressmen can ask you ANY question under oath. They have no limitations. Because of that, you can take the 5th at ANY point, when their questions address anything you believe may cause you to incriminate yourself.
This is why no contempt of congress charge for someone taking the 5th has ever been upheld.
Should Issa get a brain transplant??? The answer from some is YES. From others, they just hope he dies off soon. He has actually proven to be an asset for the Democrats, with his lunacy and obsession with investigations that have already been proven to be just an insane man trying to prove that he really is racist. Will someone please tell him he has succeeded...I heard he will be changing his first name to Racist. Kinda has a ring to it, doesn't it. I have never in my life seen an investigator so obsessed with anybody like Issa has been with our President. He should step down from his position a seek professional treatment immediately...
So you are going to ignore the emails and information saying that Lois Liar did not tell the truth to anyone. You are part of the problem.
If they have proof that she broke the law, congress should bring charges.
But the contempt charge is stupid. Everyone has the right to take the 5th when testifying to congress at any time as long as they feel their honest testimony could result in their going to jail. The fact that you and the rest of the GOP believe she is guilty only STRENGTHEN'S her case that she should be able to take the 5th.
If you have proof... charge her. If you don't and want to force her to testify... grant her immunity and hope she fingers someone else. But quit whining that she's using her constitutional right not to send herself to jail while you keep going on about her guilt. That's what the 5th amendment is FOR. To allow a person to keep quiet rather then sending themselves to prison. Your evidence will have to come from somewhere other then her mouth if you want to send her to jail.
Spoken like a true flag waving liberal. The liberal party is alive and well the democratic party died after the Kennedy administration but by your rationale just the same as Barack's nothing to see here move along. Are you liberals ready for what comes next if this allowed to happen to americans ?. Your party will be targeted and it's supporters and even if it is discovered you will be be told to shut up and go to your room. This is what we need a true eastern european autocracy instead of policies that put people to work – which Barack should have been doing all along but what do you expect from a scumbag politician from Chicago ? that's right that eastern european thing again- speak up for what is right now and demand all the facts now so that all the libs are exonerated but no it is all about attacking and defending for your liberals which will be getting their teeth kicked in coming up very soon to an election near you !
Here's the long and the short of it.
They dont' have evidence enough to convict anyone of anything.
They want Lerner to give some dirt on someone, but she's refusing to do so on the basis of the 5th amendment (which in a congressional hearing, you CAN take even after testifying or answering other questions... congressional hearings work differently then court hearings in regards to the 5th).
The only way they can get her to testify is to give her immunity. But they won't do that because they know whatever wrongdoing is there is on her... it doesn't go up the food chain. So if they give her immunity, she'll take all the blame and they won't even be able to punish her.
More then likely, if given immunity she'd say she was enforcing law as written, but did tell subordinates to pay attention to specific groups.... most or all of which would be conservative. She'd say it was all done on her own due to suspician that these groups were not legitimate non-profits.
That might be enough to send her to jail if she said it without immunity, so she'll (correctly) take the 5th until given immunity. And the GOP doesn't have enough proof of that without her testimony to bring charges... because we're talking about the motivations in her head for the actions she took... because there is NOTHING ILLEGAL ABOUT THE ACTUAL ACTIONS.
It's like firing someone. It's okay to fire someone. It's not okay to fire them because they're a man, black or a christian. It's not the action of firing that's illegal, but rather the motivation for doing so. And congress apparently doesn't have anything showing that motivation for Lerner.
You only plead the 5th so you do not incriminate yourself, and the evidence is vindicating Issa or did you miss this part of the scandal?
Yes, you can only plead the 5th in it will incarcerate yourself.
But in practice there's no way to tell without getting the testimony. Even if they were to claim they did nothing wrong, they can still say "Despite the fact I did nothing wrong, my testimony to this group might be interpreted incorrectly and lead to my incarceration so I will take the 5th."
It's especially hard to claim that someone is taking the 5th incorrectly when you constantly say they are guilty like the GOP is.
The ONLY way to force testimony in a congressional hearing is to grant immunity. They aren't willing to do that... so she doesn't have to testify. If they have enough evidence, they should bring charges on the actual crime... not on contempt which they have no case for.
Everyone has the right to plead the 5th. Not just her, but you and I also. For what ever reason, it is part of our legal system. And I think she is guilty and should go to jail
I am saddened that more interest by the media and law enforcement is given to a claimed traffic jam on a bridge, than to a Federal agency accused of violating its fiduciary duties to the whole nation.
Yes, we had weeks and weeks of stories about Christie's staff wrong doing which held up traffic on a bridge that effected not even a fraction of the states population. Yet we have the president apologizing about the IRS mess and saying he would get to the bottom of it. We had the head of the IRS resigned and testimony from field offices stating they were under orders from Was DC to target certain groups. Yet.............the media has gone very quiet, Obama now calls it a phony scandal and Lerner takes the 5th.
The saddest part of this story is that democrats don't want justice and are content to sweep this under the carpet. All Americans should be appalled by this and all Americans could suffer from this illegal and despicable behavior.
Don't you know that the GWB closure is wayyyy more important? Or perhaps it's just because Christie is a Republican?
Just to be clear, the GWB scandal was everything the IRS scandal WASN'T. A clear tie to the administration. Evidence of malicious intent.
Had Issa's investigation actually uncovered anything, it would have been similarly sensationalized. But it didn't.
Better look out Lois. I hear waterboarding is next.
"I get the bucket. You turn on the faucet, ok?"
Being held in contempt means nothing. She is not going to answer any questions nor provide any information. She is not going to incriminate herself or anyone in the Obama administration for targeting several dozen conservative groups, and supposedly, a few liberal/progressive groups.
Not one liberal group was targeted.....
WRONG!! The only groups denied tax exempt status were liberal groups. Your TEA/GOP Koch roach funded lies have zero credibility outside the Limbaugh/Fox ignorance bubble.
Does that mean that the House is going to issue citations for the millions of other Americans who hold Congress in contempt?
Sham hearing based on a bogus report prosecuting an american citizen for nothing more than political gain. Abuse of power and a violation of her constitutional rights and misuse of public funds.
How many conservative groups were targeted? How many liberal/progressive group were targeted?
Why were only liberal groups denied a tax exemption?
Right...because YOU say so! The Liberal 'word police' at its' "second best"...King Barry IS the best, "If you want to keep your Dx; then you can keep your Dx. Period." (Just wait to ALL those 250,000 children in Fla. need to get to "their" Dx – there's 7 to choose from! Go Billary_'16! lol
NO, It will just lead to more Dumb GOP hearings that are not going anywhere.
If it wasn't for lois liar and Mr. Non-Transparant, maybe this would have been over a long time ago, but since evidence tells us otherwise hey why do like obozo and ignore the law.
I seriously doubt she did anything wrong and I doubt the IRS targeted anyone unfairly. But this is Washington where politics is a blood sport. An opportunity has opened for the GOP to skewer someone in the Obama administration plus this gives Issa a lot of air time to improve his standing in the GOP and look tough to his voters. Yes, my Fox watching Limbaugh-loving friends, if the shoe were on the other foot the democrats would be doing the same thing.
You SHOULD know that the IRS has already admitted to wrong doing and targeting Conservative groups!
How many conservative groups were targeted? How many liberal/progressive group were targeted?
Bombastus seriously doubts she did anything wrong, phew I was worried that our Constitutional rights are being threatened but Bombastus seriously doubts this angel who pled the 5th twice did anything wrong. She must have been tired and didn't feel like talking, the only logical explanation I can think of.
Dude...LL plead the 5th AFTER 17 talking points of her 'non-involvement"...She waived her right to the 5th at THAT TIME!!!! YOU or ME would be JAILED immediately!!
Congress has no rules about what they can question you on. Because of that, you are allowed to take the 5th at any point (even after answering other questions or making a statement) when testifying to congress.
It's not the same as a criminal trial, where lawyers have restrictions on the line of questioning they can pursue and an answer or statement in the trial indicates your consent to testify on everything regarding that line of questioning. In congressional hearings you can take the 5th on some questions but not others.
McCarthy tried this stuff... ask some innocent questions that the person would answer, then hit them with some they'd take the 5th on and try to hold them in contempt for not answering. It didn't hold up then and it won't now. It's not how the law works.
Exactly Andy! You cannot read a statment saying you did no wrongdoing and then take the 5th!!! Her Lawyer scr@wed her!
Bobo... in political hearing you absolutely CAN do that.
In a court setting, the lawyer questioning you has rules and restrictions on what they can ask. Because of that once you agree to testify... you're committed to testify on that line of questioning.
Congress has no rules on what they can ask you. Because of that you can take the 5th on a question by question basis. You can answer some, then take the 5th on others, then answer some more. You can also read a statement then take the 5th.
There is absolutely NO chance of any contempt charge standing up on her taking the 5th. It's a useless, pointless display that will show nothing. The only way they can force testimony is by giving her immunity.
Sham hearing based on a bogus report. Stripping American citizens of their constitutional rights. And prosecuting American citizens for nothing more than political gain. Republican are the GESTAPO. What next? Gas chambers for poor people. Or will it be blacks they start murdering?
Really Mike? Were you born yesterday?
That's right you learn real good Mike . All this is just because GOP and supporters are all racist every one of them. MSNBC has schooled you real well. You will probably be in line for Ed Schultz's job as soon as he is fired for comments/misconduct.
CNN comments, it's like going on to a teen forum for kids. So naive and ideological, so uninformed
GOP teatards cherry picking the Constitution AGAIN for their witch hunt. Lerner has the RIGHT to plead the fifth.
Thank God that IGNORANCE is not a crime (for your sake)
Obviously Nathan is too stupid to live.
Why is it many GOP folks are so concerned about the constitution if it's defending the right to have and use weapons, but think someone using their constitutional right not to testify under oath if they believe it might cause them to incriminate themself should go to jail for that?
" nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself"
That means that a person is allowed to refrain from issuing any statement that can be used as evidence against them in a criminal trial.
If they want her to testify... give her immunity from any charges that could result from that testimony. Otherwise... stop being idiots and trying to get her held in contempt for using a constitutional right.
Lois Lerner (at her very first testimony) talke upon 17 points re: her "non-involvement". She suspended her 5th amendment rights then! You are REALLY angry at her dumb-as s lawyer...aren't you?
You may not realize this, but the rules for the 5th amendment are DIFFERENT for congressional hearings then criminal trials.
In a criminal trial, the lawyers have restrictions on what they can ask. Because of this, once a person testifying begins testifying on the subject of the trial, they cannot back off and take the 5th later (except in some circumstances where the subject drastically changes and is allowed to change by the judge).
In congressional hearings, congress has no rules on what they can ask. Because of this, people testifying can take the 5th AT ANY POINT. They can answer three questions, take the 5th on a couple more, then answer a few after that. The reason this is allowed is because otherwise congress could ask "What is your job"... get an answer, then demand self-incriminating testimony on ANY SUBJECT under the sun. "Ever smoked pot?" "Ever cheated on your wife?" "Have you ever engaged in sodomy?"
We protect witnesses from that sort of treatment through the protections in the 5th amendment. Anyone can take the th at any time in response to any question at any point in testimony to congress.
yes let the house once again have a full debate on the IRS while the country is waiting for a immigration bill, unemployment benefits to over 2 million American, minimum wage increase for middle class, wage equality for women do I dare go on. They just need something to waste there time on like repealing ACA so the GOP do not have to deal with issues that really matter to Americans. This is why GOP will not win POTUS in the 2016 elections. Got to love it. It is not like she was hiding weapons of mass destruction and 1000's of Americans died. If she could only paint.
We do not need any more laws passed by this congress or administration. We need the current laws to be prosecuted without political intervention. The Attorney General's office has abdicated responsibility for acting in a manner that represents the people in favor of a political hack. Holder and Obama will leave a legacy of vapor so strong it will take years to expunge.
Two Constitutional points need to be made: First is Leaner's right to 5th Amendment protections. If congress wants to know what she knows give her immunity. How hard is that? The second is that the IRS did not have the legal right to change the 501(c)(4) tax regulation back in 1959 that is the root of this problem. Legally and technically groups like American's for Posterity and others like them (right or left) should not tax exempt.
And now we find out that 100's of IRS agents were campaigning for Obama on our dime during their work day. Who will hold this corrupt regime accountable?
Obviously not the Media...... Remember: Dems want to help the world and Republicans are Racist! lol
Just more hype from the TEA/GOP over an already disproven claim. As to the 5th, a federal judge, in New Jersey, just said she can plead the 5th. Or is that different because it involves GOP Christie?
How many conservative groups were targeted? How many liberal/progressive group were targeted?
Ask the Bush appointee who was IRS head at the time. Ask the conservative Republican department head that approved, and ordered the plan's implementation. Lerner was also a Bush appointee. Sorry, but the TEA/GOP Issa witch hunt has zero credability outside the Limbaugh/Fox bubble.
The GOP Prayer/Mantra/Solution: Dear God...Help us to turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then, with your guidance, we will whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. God...Grant us the knowlege to then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. God...Give us the strength during our speeches to repeatedly yell........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!..........and........GET RID OF SS AND MEDICARE!!!
So much of what these people do (politicians) are politically motivated that I do not trust them at all. If they had targeted only liberal groups I guarantee you Issa would not be talking about this at all. Government oversight should be a good thing, but it should be run by non partsan individuals. This committee is a farce.
He'll yes she needs to be held in contempt and thrown in jail and throw away the key! If this had been a Republican adm CNN and all the other liberal media would be running non stop on CNN. Obama and his goons, Holder need to be investigated for criminal and treason charges!
You're confusing the contempt of court charge with what the GOP hopes to prove from her testimony.
She has the right to remain silent. She doesn't have to offer any testimony to anyone that might result in her incriminating herself. This is in the 5th amendment of the US constitution.
If the GOP really believes there is proof that Obama was using the IRS to target Conservative groups... they have a solution. They can give Lerner immunity from any charges (other then Perjury) based on her testimony. If they do that, then they CAN force her to testify because nothing she would say could cause her to incriminate herself... she's immune.
The fact they haven't done that says a lot more then her not testifying does. If they thought they had something, they wouldn't hesitate to give her immunity so they can catch a bigger fish.
If they have proof of wrongdoing, Issa can bring charges without Lerners testimony. But a "contempt" charge is bogus and will be thrown out by anyone... because she does have the right to use the 5th amendment. We all do. We can ALL decide not to talk to avoid getting ourselves in more trouble.
not unless you change the constitution
Simple fact of our legal system. You have the right not to testify if you believe it might cause you to incriminate yourself. The ONLY way you should be held in contempt for taking the 5th is if you are given immunity for anything you say while testifying.
Issa CAN do that with Learner. But he hasn't. Until he does, I see no reasonable explanation why she could be held in contempt. When this was tried under McCarthy, it wasn't upheld either.
This is kind of pathetic.
of course not. she was only following orders
Orders from her appointer, Bush?
WE are FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
Resistance is futile
Elijah Cummings blatantly lied about his involvement with Lois Lerner and "True the Vote." He needs to step down. There's Email proof.
I think Holder should be held in contempt actually if he does not pursue an independent investigation that is transparent into this,... for if the allegations are true, then Lerner should be doing some jail time and be stripped of any pension or retirement benefits. It is doubtful that anything will come of this even if allegations are true,.. for most politicians, most higher ranking government employees never face any real consequences
Holder is being asked to investigate and press charges on Learner for Contempt of congress.
He'd be completely reasonable to dismiss the request... for the simple reason that everyone has the right to take the 5th and not answer questions UNLESS they are given immunity from prosecution from anything that would be revealed from their testimony.
The law says you have the right to keep silent if answering questions truthfully would cause you to go to jail.
McCarthy couldn't sidestep that law, and neither can Issa.
This is such a sham. The IRS nobody likes, has to do the business of the US government to collect taxes that no one relishes paying. We all want to pay as little as possible, and people cheat on their taxes. This is about the IRS doing their job, period. Nobody was actually hurt, jailed or made to pay an illegal sum, so what is this really about? No jobs will be created, no illegal aliens were made legal, this is just more from a do nothing Republican Congress that exhibits signs of ignorance and racism. Where is there love for America?
Do you understand the benefit of being granted tax exempt status? Groups supporting Democrats were getting applications hurried through the process while groups supporting Republicans were/are getting stonewalled with applications made during 2012 still sitting unanswered. You do understand that this greatly undermines our political system - even if it does benefit the party you associate with, don't you? You do understand that such practices cause money to flow on behalf of one group, during a campaign year, while the other group either gets taxed or eliminates fund raising. The IRS has admitted that this happened. I highly suggest we put a stop to this now. Otherwise next time it might be your side that gets railroaded by a "non-partisan" arm of the government. Or worse, we get people in power who none of us agree with, but who use this precedent to extend their own power.
Duh, of course
DUH the constitution is protects everyone
The only person worthy of a contempt citation is Issa The Arsonist.
Yes, she should be prosecuted. An IRS bureaucrat abused the authority of her office for political purposes. Let her be an example to all the corrupt government officals that we the people will not tolerate their criminal activities.
If they have the evidence to prosecute her, they should do so.
But you can't prosecute someone for not testifying if they claim their testimony would incrimnate themself. Not unless you give them immunity... in which case they have to testify.
Kurt – I believe you are wrong on that point. According to FindLaw you can't invoke the 5th one you give testimony of your innocence. Lerner proclaimed her innocence prior to invoking therefore she waived that privilege: One must explicitly claim his privilege or he will be deemed to have waived it, and waiver may be found where the witness has answered some preliminary questions but desires to stop at a certain poin – See more at: http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment5/annotation07.html#2
You're comparing testimony in a trial to that in a hearing and they're actually treated differently.
In a trial, there are cases where once you begin testifying, you then must continue or be held in contempt.
In hearings where you are not on trial but are under oath, you can take the 5th as a lump (which some do) or on a question by question basis (where you answer the questions that won't incriminate you but refuse to answer the ones that do).
You have MORE of a right to the 5th when talking to congress then you do with talking to the courts... because unlike lawyers in a criminal proceeding, there are pretty much no rules as to what congressmen can ask you.
If you're in court to fight a charge of arson... they aren't allowed to ask you about if you stole something from your boss the day before. They have to ask relevant questions. So once you agree to testify on the topic... you're kind of stuck.
With Congress, they could have you in to supposedly talk about drug use in baseball and grill you on if you paid your taxes. Because of the lack of rules on congressmen... you have a more free hand to take the 5th. This is why McCarthy couldn't get people held in contempt of congress. It's why Issa's attempt won't work either.
Angelfish ......"she should be prosecuted. An IRS bureaucrat abused the authority of her office for political purposes...” Help me here. What were the political purposes did for which she abused her authority?
Of course she should. politicians should NEVER be above the law like most are.
so you think that using her constitution rights makes her above the law?
You can't make a statement proclaiming you did nothing wrong then claim the 5th. Unless of course you;re a democrat right?
You obviously don't know much about your rights or the Constitution emskadittle. She made a statement proclaiming her innocence before the Congress, then when she finished her statement she pleaded the 5th. Not how it works..... When you plead the 5th, you say nothing except you plead the 5th... You don't make a statement saying your innocent then when your asked a question refuse to answer.... She has been on record 17 times discussing the case and voiding her 5th. (Even had a meeting with Obama's DOJ getting free legal advice so the Obama regime could cover their a**es, but can't answer Congress) Just pretend she was a republican, working for a GOP administration then I'm pretty sure then you would want her held accountable... Obama's way of dealing with scandals, just say it's phony and cry racism.... IRS, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Obamacare Lies, and the list goes on... You can't say it's OK when your own side does it... It's wrong no matter who does it and she needs to be held accountable...
Apparently there are people who think that invoking the 5th is like Kings-X or a "get out of jail free" card. I agree with your premise. She is not the only one who has constitutional rights. So do the rest of us. This needs to go forward whether or not she continues to clam up. She can continue to invoke the 5th and still go to jail for violating OUR rights.
Apparently you don't know how the 5th works. It's different for a trial and a congressional hearing.
As I said above, in trials there are rules as to what lawyers can ask you. Once you waive the 5th by testifying, you are stuck.
But Congress has no rules as to what they can ask. They can start asking you about the topic at hand (say IRS behavior), then switch and ask about things you did outside your job that might be illegal. In trials, the judge would stop the lawyer from doing that because of lack of relevance. No judge is there to do that with congress. Because of this, the courts allow you to invoke the 5th at any time in a congressional hearing. You can use it for a few questions, then answer a few, then use it again.
McCarthy tried to use this trick. He'd throw "are you a communist" into the middle of hearings, then ask about their taxes, then about other things he thought he could catch them on. If they took the 5th after testifying on other topics, he tried to use the threat of contempt of congress to make them talk.
he could NEVER get it to stick... because you are allowed to take the 5th to ANY question congress asks you (even if you've testified to other questions) because congress has no limitation on what they can ask. The only way to force testimony is to grant immunity.
So since when an American Citizen availing themselves of their constitutional rights is to be considered wrong. After all we all depend on those protections as citizens of the United States of America. Just because you avail yourself of these rights does not mean you are placing yourself above the law. It means you live in a country of hopefully just and equal laws and protections.. If she is guilty of a crime then let them prove it without making the accused testify against her self. After all if it were you I would venture to say you would do the same thing. Put partisan politics aside and let us all prosper in the equal granting of all constitutional rights to all citizens even when we do not agree with their politics, religion, or for that matter what kind of car they drive.
Another example of TEA/GOP ignorance. She is not a polititian. She was a Bush appointee.
You are the dumbest person commenting o this story. Get back on the short bus.