IRS

IRS Official Says She Did Absolutely Nothing Wrong, Then Invokes the Fifth

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Rumor has it the bus is being gassed up so she can be thrown under it.

As reported yesterday, IRS official Lois Lerner, who oversaw the part of the agency that looked over applications for tax exemptions for nonprofits, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights and declined to answer any questions from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today. She did give a brief statement, though. The Associated Press reports:

The Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the storm over the agency's targeting of conservative groups told Congress on Wednesday that she had done nothing wrong in the episode, and then invoked her constitutional right to refuse to answer lawmakers' questions.

In one of the most electric moments since the IRS controversy erupted nearly two weeks ago, Lois Lerner defended herself during a brief appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The committee is investigating the agency's improper targeting of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status from 2010 to 2012, and Lerner oversees the IRS office that processes applications for that designation.

"I have done nothing wrong," said a stern-looking Lerner, sitting next to three other witnesses and reading from a written statement. "I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations and I have not provided false information to this or any other committee."

There was some debate among congressmen following her statement as to whether she actually waived her Fifth Amendment rights by stating that she had done nothing wrong and broke no laws, but she was dismissed from testimony today with the understanding that she might be called back following investigation.

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  1. If she broke no law, then she is in contempt for refusing to testify under the subpoena.

    1. No she isn’t. Statements have been made by members of Congress accusing her of lying to them. Since lying under oath is a crime and she has been publicly accused of such, it is in her interest to exercise her right against self incrimination. Any lawyer worth their salt will tell you the same.

      1. It’s academic. As soon as they think they can nail anyone higher up, she’ll get immunity.

  2. Are we sure she meant to invoke her 5th amendment rights? She’s not very good at math.

  3. Current thread from Derp Undeground, with multiple posters asserting, straightfaced, demented burblings such as: “[Lois] Lerner is a deep cover GOP operative,” planted to discredit the boy-pharaoh; and “100% of the media is against the President and his agenda.”

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022884078

    Point and laugh. It’s fun.

    1. that Faux News Channel is the most obvious but certainly not the only the mouthpiece of Republicans and propaganda clarion for Corporate America against We the People.

      More and more people are becoming distrustful of our propaganda media, and turn to sites and blogs to get their news.

      It’s a vast, right-wing conspiracy!

      1. propaganda clarion for Corporate America

        Yes, Fox is a shill for corporate America, but you can’t make it a half-hour on MSNBC without a GE commercial.

        Fuck a duck, how do people that stupid manage to breathe without instructions?

    2. Yup. 100% of the media is against the President and his agenda.

      I know, G4A. But more and more people are finally coming to understand that Faux News Channel is the most obvious but certainly not the only the mouthpiece of Republicans and propaganda clarion for Corporate America against We the People.

      Successful troll is a success.

      1. I think if things get to the point where they accuse Maddow of having an anti-Obama bias, I will be laughing so hard that I could go into respiratory arrest.

        1. Obama defenders can be hugely irrational. A year or two ago I tangled with a Facebook friend over a term (which I’ve forgotten) that the New York Times used in connection with Obama. He claimed it was a subtle racist assault, as if the New York Times was going to subtly attack Obama in racist ways. I had to dig up many other instances of the term to prove that it was innocuous.

        2. The killing joke

          That’s their strategy.

    3. “100% of the media is against the President and his agenda.”

      I WISH!

      No, that should be the case, but the media in this country are a pack of boot-lickers.

      -jcr

    4. 8. Lerner holds the key to having this whole scandal blow up in the GOP’s face. This works for them.

      I can’t believe people aren’t seeing through this smokescreen.

      WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS, MAN!

    5. Eugene Robinson has criticized Obama, now. I never thought the day would come.

      1. “YOU NEVER REALLY LOVED HIM!!!”
        /progtard

      2. It’s espianews! Prosecute it!

      3. Salon progtards eagerly toss Lerner underneath bus, in frantic attempt to protect embattled boy-pharaoh:

        http://www.salon.com/2013/05/2….._disaster/

        Heh. 😉

        1. Ezra Klein and Josh Marshall just chimed in with the same idea. Journolist lives!

  4. federal employees should not be allowed to take the fifth when it comes to their job. Otherwise how are we to keep the fed’s in check.

    1. I’d like to see a federal statute that amounts to “if you’re on the job, you’re under oath”, which would impose penalties for perjury for any false statement made by any elected official or government employee in their official capacity.

      -jcr

      1. From a piece with other interesting parts:

        Finally, I’d note that when I was working at IRS-CID, taking the Fifth in any proceeding was grounds for termination. I have no idea whether that’s true for other IRS employees, but a Special Agent could never take five and survive. You don’t have a constitutional right to a government job.

    2. This is certainly confusing. Like you said, she is our public servant, and she must be compelled towards some sort of responsibility for her actions.

    3. Or at least, if they plead the fifth they should be fired immediately and perhaps lose a portion of their benefits.

  5. I guess it’s no big deal to Cosmotatdians when people support both gun rights and gay rights.

    1. Someone really lost and posting in wrong thread or Mary Stack?

      1. Clowning VG Zaytsev from another thread.

        1. Down with Homophobes and Hoplophobes!

  6. So they finally found a part of the Bill of Rights they like.

    1. Only temporarily.

  7. Issa fucked up by dismissing her. He should have kept her there for a couple of hours, asked leading questions that she would repeatedly refuse to answer.

    1. Ms. Lerner, is it true that you fuck sheep?

      1. No no, questions like “Did you used to work for the FEC?” “Do you believe in the right of free political speech?” “Have you ever met President Obama?” Taking the Fifth on innocuous questions is funnier and more damning.

    2. ^^ This.

      I wanted her to have to plead the 5th repeatedly whilst they ask her uncomfortable and incriminating questions.

      1. So are you in favor of Congress using their supeona power to publically harrass anyone they don’t like, or only if it’s people you don’t like too?

        1. The 5th Amendment only applies to questions where you could implicate yourself in a crime.

          The Congress is empowered to subpoena you to testify in regard to the entire range of events of which you have knowledge.

          That means if they want to hold you there and ask you 500 questions, half of which apply to your conduct and half of which don’t, you’d have to answer the latter half and individually invoke the 5th each and every question in the former half.

          And it wouldn’t be harassment.

          1. The Congress is empowered to subpoena you to testify in regard to the entire range of events of which you have knowledge.

            And they shouldn’t be so empowered. We have courts for making sure people are punished for crimes. People shouldn’t have to sit for a public lecturing and dressing down because some congressman has a bug up his ass. Much like the travesty yesterday with Apple, this lady shouldn’t have to sit there until the committee gets done humiliating her, regardless of whether she’s committed a crime or not.

            1. The Congress has to gather information about the executive branch’s operations in order to vote to fund its activities.

              You’re basically advocating that (for example) military officers be empowered to refuse to tell the Congress about the progress of wars, by claiming a 5th Amendment privilege.

              You might have a point about limiting the ability of Congress to engage in fact-finding about non-governmental activities, but since Lois Lerner is on the clock and getting paid today, she gets to sit wherever the Congress tells her to sit and do whatever the Congress tells her to do.

              1. They should be allowed to fire any employees or military officers that refuse to testify, but that’s it.

                Same as any other job. If you refuse to answer your boss’s question, he can fire you, but he can’t force you to answer or make you sit there while he asks you questions.

                1. They should be allowed to fire any employees or military officers that refuse to testify, but that’s it.

                  Well, not for military personnel (officers or enlisted). If your superior orders you to testify truthfully, and you refuse to obey a direct order like that, you can be tossed in the brig.

                  Civilian employees, not so much so.

            2. ” this lady shouldn’t have to sit there until the committee gets done humiliating her”

              Who does she work for again?

              I see no problem with congress policing it’s employees.

            3. this lady shouldn’t have to sit there until the committee gets done humiliating her, regardless of whether she’s committed a crime or not.

              The thick-skulled, unintentional irony inherent in attempting to advance such a claim on behalf of an IRS Grand Inquisitor is so hilariously rich and creamy, it practically qualifies as nougat.

              1. No kidding. Especially since in an IRS audit, you are presumed guilty unless you can prove your innocence.

          2. nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself

            This means that if you, reasonably or unreasonably, feel that there is even the remotest possibility that what you say could be used against you, then you have the right to keep silent.

            And EVERYTHING you say to government officials can be used against you.

            So she has the right to invoke the Fifth once and then STFU.

            1. You guys have a really specious understanding of the 5th Amendment.

              If Stormy Dragon is being tried for robbery, and I subpoena you as a witness to get your testimony, you can refuse to answer a question that would implicate YOU in the robbery.

              But if I ask you, “Did you see Stormy Dragon in front of the liquor store on the afternoon in question?” you don’t get to invoke the 5th. The 5th Amendment is not a blanket entitlement to just not testify about stuff if you don’t feel like it. There has to be a clear nexus to YOU.

              If Congress wants to bring Lerner in and ask her about the conduct of other IRS staffers, and there’s no identifiable nexus to self-implication, she doesn’t get to refuse.

              1. If you feel — reasonably or unreasonably — that talking about Stormy Dragon’s presence or lack thereof might under even the most ludicrously improbable circumstances result in you being charged, wrongfully or rightfully, as a conspirator, then you retain your 5th A right to STFU.

                Read the Miranda warning: “EVERYTHING you say can AND WILL be used against you.” (emphasis added)

              2. If Congress wants to bring Lerner in and ask her about the conduct of other IRS staffers, and there’s no identifiable nexus to self-implication, she doesn’t get to refuse.

                “Identifiable” by who? By a zealous prosecutor who wants to make his bones by throwing her under the bus to keep Obama from being found culpable? You know, the same Obama who claims the right to drone murder people without due process?

                1. Were I in her position, you can damn well bet I’d be taking the Fifth – not only if I might be trying to hide something but even moreso if I had absolutely nothing to hide. I suspect there are a bunch of higher-ups right now desperately seeking a scapegoat and if you’re the one talking, you get the job. Anything she says about any wrongdoing is going to be used as evidence that she knew and approved of everything going on and anything she says to point the finger at someone else is going to be denounced as lies to escape responsibility for her actions.

              3. But if I ask you, “Did you see Stormy Dragon in front of the liquor store on the afternoon in question?” you don’t get to invoke the 5th. The 5th Amendment is not a blanket entitlement to just not testify about stuff if you don’t feel like it. There has to be a clear nexus to YOU.

                The Supreme Court disagrees with you: Ohio v. Reiner

              4. Well, if you admit being outside the liquor store around the time of the crime, that can help any prosecutor who wants to claim you were one of the robbers. It’s a “link in the chain of evidence.”

                If Lerner admits she knew about the audits, that would help a hypothetical prosecutors who wants to blame her for the poltical misuse of the audits, because at least she’s admitting she was in the loop.

                You don’t just have the right to refuse to answer questions like “did you do it?” You also have the right not to answer questions like “do you know who did it,” “where were you,” “do you recognize this gun used in the robbery,” “do you know Jesse James the robber,” etc.

        2. That depends on how mendacious and uncooperative they are.

          Subpoena power isn’t for just asking nicely.

        3. Yes.

    3. No shit–nothing wrong with making a mendacious bureaucrat squirm in her seat for a little while.

  8. COSMOTARIANS!

    /VG Zaytsev

    1. You know how I know your a cosmo?

      Because you fly into a berserker rage every time you see that word.

      1. Maybe his berserker rage is a reaction to your lonewacko levels of monomania?

        You remind me of a neighbor I had who was utterly convinced that everything bad that ever happened was the fault of the pope. If you didn’t run him off forcefully enough, he’d try to persuade you through long-winded explanations too.

        1. You wouldn’t have run him off if you weren’t controlled by the pope!

          1. Well, barely four years later, I did convert to Catholicism. And no, I didn’t invite him to by baptism. 😉

            1. Damned Papist! (j/k)

          2. It’s popes all the way ah fuck it.

        2. Maybe his berserker rage is a reaction to your lonewacko levels of monomania?

          Yep, mentioning a word 3, 4 times a year is a clear sign of monomania.

          In fairness, though, it’s not like those people have any control of their emotions.

          1. What’s the matter, big guy? Are you feeling stupid or something?

            1. It doesn’t hurt my feelings till you call me stupid a dozen times.

              1. You went into an unrelated thread to complain about it.

                What do you expect people to think?

                1. Uh, no, Cali brought it up, I was responding to her.

                  1. I’m not a her first off. Second, he’s talking about your unrelated post in the other thread, not this one

                    1. Oh sorry.

      2. Berserker rage? Hahaha, I’m not angry, I’m making fun of how stupid you look when you post a comment about how Reason is a bunch of “cosmotardians” who only care about gay rights and ignore issues like this, when Reason posted this less than five minutes after your comment. The only one flying into a berserker rage is you whenever Reason posts an article on an issue that yokeltarians disapprove of

        1. What makes you think I disapprove of the gays and guns article?

          1. I don’t know, the fact that you attacked Reason for supposedly not caring about IRS abuse in an article related to gay rights, and the fact that people who throw around terms like “cosmotarian” attack Reason for caring too much about things like gay rights, and that they supposedly don’t really care about things like taxes or small government?

            1. Careful. This one is really stupid. Whatever you do, don’t offer him cake.

            2. My posting that on that article was just coincidental.

              As far as the C word goes, I use it more as a derogatory term for inside the beltway group think.

              I found it odd that they hadn’t posted anything on the biggest story of the day if over 3 hours, and they’ve been pussies (imo) about calling out the specific people executing Obama’s corrupt tactics.

              Oh and I think the Seattle billboards that article was describing are great on a number of levels, I’d like to see more of that type of thing.

            3. Cali, I’m going to have to side with Zaytsev on this one. The posting on that article was entirely coincidental. Everyone knows Zaytsev doesn’t care what the article he’s responding to is about. It’s ALWAYS Cosmotarians, all the way down.

              1. Nah,

                There’s about a dozen or so of you guys that routinely post here.

                The funny thing is that you out yourselves by the reacting hysterically every time you see the word.

                1. Given that no one has ever actually given a coherent, agreed-upon definition of “cosmotarian” it’s difficult to say who is or isn’t one, or if it’s a good or bad thing. Hell, American (who when he’s not banned uses to term more than anyone) used the term “comsotarian” to refer to an obvious satire of Rockwell and Raimondo, who are not, under any definition of the word, cosmotarians.

                  1. *the term

                  2. Given that no one has ever actually given a coherent, agreed-upon definition of “cosmotarian”

                    My definition is anyone that reflexively reacts to the sight of that word just might be one.

                  3. Cali, that’s because he simply changes the definition to suit whatever sort of accusation he’s making at the time. Before, it was Reason writers who were cosmotarians, because they weren’t posting on his pet issue to his satisfaction.

                    Then people made fun of him for that, and for his long history of using the term “cosmotarian” to refer to anyone he’s criticizing or disagreeing with at the moment. NOW the definition has magically changed to “whoever is responding to my comments about cosmotarians”. Which would, mysteriously, exclude the Reason staff he criticized with the word previously.

                    It’s magic! It means everything and nothing, simultaneously!

                    1. Almost as magic as your claim about my commenting history.

                      Whatever, hysteric Cosmo.

                    2. And BTW, why are you self described Cosmos so sensitive about that label, since it’s just some bullshit creation of a racist xenophobe?

  9. ALWAYS lawyer up.
    NEVER talk to the cops.
    Now, as a federal official, she’s toast – but I can’t fault her for covering her ass with both the Ratbagging Teafuckers and the Obamanites looking to burn her. Someone is going to the stake on this.
    My advice: lawyer up and then … under very controlled curcimstances, name names and kneecappn all.

    1. ^
      THIS
      I don’t fault her one bit for this. She has to do wha’t best for her and she has the right to take the 5th. Let her exercise her right.

      1. For her personally, it’s clear the party and administration powers-that-be intend to throw her to the wolves. She’s definitely involved in something blatantly illegal, and I think it’s highly probable this goes all the way to the president. So she probably figures the only safe way out is to clamp her mouth shut.

      2. Problem is the 5th Amendment is not “protection from public embarrassment” (despite what Slick Willie might think); it is protection from being forced to incriminate yourself under oath.

        Claiming 5th Amendment protection is itself an admission that an unlawful act has taken place.

        1. Not true. 5th Amendment protections extend to anyone being questioned by an agent of the government. Give this a listen:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

          1. The right to remain silent (as joe random bystander) is distinct from the right against self-incrimination. You cannot be compelled to testify against yourself. You can be compelled to testify as a witness against someone else. When you receive that subpoena, you have three options: Perjury, truth, or silence (which will likely get you hit with a contempt of court charge and incarcerated until you, as a witness, comply with the court’s subpeona. No due process necessary).

        2. Claiming 5th Amendment protection is itself an admission that an unlawful act has taken place.

          Try this: “I assert my rights under the Fifth Amendment to not talk to government officials.”

          You can be entirely innocent and still say things the government can use to incriminate you.

          1. Of course they will. We have a legal system, not a justice system. The state, by and through its various agents, wants its pound of flesh and doesn’t really care where it comes from.

            There are only two things you say to the law enforcement:

            “Am I being detained or am I free to go?”

            “I chose to remain silent and want to speak to an attorney.”

    2. “ALWAYS lawyer up.
      NEVER talk to the cops.”

      Sound advice. I cant fault the woman for taking the 5th. Everyone should take the 5th always. I dont like it much when taking the 5th is implied to be evidence of guilt. You have rights, exercise them.

      Having said that, I think the woman is guilty as fuck. I hope she names names and then burns anyway.

  10. I believe she’s about to be thrown under the bus. Yesterday the media shock troops went into the White House to get their marching orders, and today the new theme emerges:

    John McCormack @McCormackJohn

    Josh Marshall (10:15a.m.): Lerner Must Go [link removed] ? Ezra Klein (9:45a.m.): Heads should roll at IRS [link removed] ?
    10:40 AM – 22 May 2013

    Yes, heads should roll at the IRS
    It’s hard to fire civil servants. But that doesn’t mean it can’t, or shouldn’t, be done.

    Washington Post @washingtonpost

    Everybody get that? Heads should roll. But only the heads officially approved by the White House.

    1. Journolist 2.0 marshalling their talking points.

    2. The same thing is happening with the White House counsel. Oh yes, it’s totally believable that the WH Counsel didn’t tell the Boss about the IRS or Benghazi. YFR.

      1. I can’t believe people believe that. They’re saying that not just to protect the president, but because they know some sort of evidence trail leads that far.

        1. That’s the reality about all of these scandals.

          Either

          A.)Obama has known and been active in deceiving the country to a degree that would call for impeachment

          or

          B.)He is no more than a talking head and has absolutely zero to do with the day to day operations and decisions of his administration, which exposes a degree of incompetence that is unacceptable for a person in his position.

          Not sure which choice is worse, to be honest.

  11. “I have done nothing wrong,” said a stern-looking Lerner

    So — how you say — “you have nothing to fear”.

    1. I have done nothing wrong, but I can’t explain how not.

      1. There’s that transparency thing again!

  12. This is going to get very ugly. Or uglier, anyway.

    While her individual right not to incriminate herself is not questioned, the fact is that this sort of thing goes down very poorly with the public.

    1. And what the hell is the deal with her being able to get to tell her side of the story and then not be subjected to cross-examination?

      1. I was wondering whether she could speak to the topic at all while simultaneously pleading the Fifth. I thought she couldn’t, but I’m no expert in such things. Besides, this is Congress, not a courtroom. For the moment.

        1. Maybe her initial remarks were a lie, so the crime she was refusing to implicate herself in by taking the fifth was perjury before Congress?

        2. Again, this whole thing is confusing. I think we missed a step in this whole “invoking the Fifth” thing.

      2. She shouldn’t have been allowed to do it, but it’s ineffectual anyway. Nobody believes her.

        1. I don’t believe a word that comes from this administration. I’m barely exaggerating–if Obama told me it was Thursday, I’d double-check.

          1. f Obama told me it was Thursday, I’d double-check…..

            Yeah….cuz it’s Wednesday today! That’s just crazy talk!

      3. Yep, they should have ruled that she waived her right to remain silent by doing that.

    2. She was all set to spill the beans, but then she saw this guy in the crowd.

      1. It was this creature that scared her into silence.

        1. Good god man. Don’t post that shit.

    3. Yep, it might even cut through the noise a little and get the apathetic majority to pay a little attention. They don’t know much, but they know what “taking the fifth” means.

      1. It’s got a real Watergatey feeling to it. I guess the question is whether this is Watergate or Iran-Contra. Bets?

        1. Why can’t it be both?

        2. I’ll take a Iran-Contra to start. After she’s offered full immunity to start naming names, it’ll go Watergate.

          1. I’ll take a Iran-Contra to start. After she’s offered full immunity to start naming names, it’ll go Watergate.

            That would be awesome, but I’m not sure she’d take it.

            You need to find someone with a massive grudge against the instigators of this thing with possession of emails or other incriminating documents.

      2. “I absolutely, positively did nothing wrong whatsoever. That’s why I steadfastly refuse to answer even so much as a single question, so long as the possibility exists that I might be held liable for any demonstrable perjury.”

        1. I have to say that I understand her pleading the Fifth to some degree, as I believe she is under criminal investigation for all of this (or it’s been threatened). If I were her attorney, I’d probably advise something like that, especially since the entire planet knows this came from on-high. Just obeying orders won’t save her, after all.

          That said, the political repercussions could be immense, and Congress and, for once, the media, look inclined to dig until they find something.

          1. The Justice Dept opened a criminal investigation. It would be quite stupide to say anything on camera.

            1. I said that in some other comment around here somewhere [waives hand]. I’m talking politics.

              1. I can hardly wait for the special prosecutor to be named. They have no real boundaries once they get started (See Nixion, See Clinton).

                1. Could be good times for all. Well, not quite all.

                  We need a massive government enema so desperately.

                  1. You just know that a guy from the Chicago machine is going to have lots and lots of interesting threads for a special prosecutor to chase.

                    Clinton got in trouble for having powerful friends find a private sector job for the woman that sucked his cock.

                    Imagine where Obama will be if there is the slightest bit of evidence that he turned the IRS on political opponents.

        2. Actually that is an entirely consistant position because with the number of poorly written or overbroad laws and/or regulations on the books an enterprising prosecutor can turn taking a shit into a Felony charge.

          So if she gets up there and says anything at all she runs the risk of pissing the wrong person off and she already has first hand evidence of what FedGov does to people it doesn’t like

          1. It’s no fun when the evil machine you’ve maintained turns on you.

            1. That’s exactly what government is–a rogue terminator you originally built to vacuum your carpet.

    4. Especially when she so brazenly asserts that she didn’t do anything wrong.

      Well, then what the hell is the 5th Amendment invocation for? It’s like even she’s aware that our government is so pharisaical that she can be charged for any random thing at all.

      1. FLASH: ISSA TO SUBPOENA LOIS LERNER BACK TO COMMITTEE…
        ‘Waived her fifth amendment rights’ by giving opening statement…

        http://www.politico.com/story/…..ml?hp=t3_3

        Boom. 😉

        1. Oh snap, Issa caught her breaking a rule the committee just made up on the spot!

          1. Well, it is possible to waive your Fifth Amendment rights. I’m not sure this constitutes such a waiver, but it might. Personally, I don’t think it should, at least not in any global sense, but there’s plenty of pro-government caselaw out there.

            1. Show me one example where, before today, it worked this way at a congressional hearing. They’re right that at a criminal trial you can’t take the stand and then start claiming the fifth, but this isn’t criminal trial.

              For one thing, you can’t refuse to take the stand at a congressional hearing, so you can’t very well claim that waives your fifth ammendment rights. At least Issa, not being a lawyer, has an excuse for being ignorant, but Gowny was apparently out sick the day they taught law at law school.

              1. Just showing up isn’t the issue. Saying “I’m not guilty of nothing” then pleading the Fifth could be. I don’t really know, but I have a vague recollection that you can’t testify on something then refuse to elaborate on Fifth Amendment grounds. Whether this is enough to trigger that, I don’t know.

                1. I don’t really know, but I have a vague recollection that you can’t testify on something then refuse to elaborate on Fifth Amendment grounds.

                  Your recollection is wrong. You have the right to invoke the Fifth Amendment at any time whatsoever, even after previously temporarily waiving it during the time it took to spoke.

                  You can stop MID-WORD and invoke the 5th.

                  The congresspeople running this committee don’t understand the Constitution.

                  1. From this article, admittedly a bit old, the rule used to be in civil cases that a witness invoking the 5th during cross did not waive their protection against self-incrimination, but did have to have their direct testimony stricken from the record.

                    The article does try to eat the cake and have it too, by stating that a witness answers questions on a particular topic, the witness may not be permitted to invoke the privilege to refuse to answer as to the details of that topic. However, if further answers would further incriminate the witness, then the witness may invoke.

                    I also thought that waiver in a 5th amendment context (as opposed to say Atty-client privilege) was something that traditionally you needed to directly declare as a witness, not something that could be inferred from conduct?

                    A Congressional hearing is, of course, not a civil or criminal judicial proceeding, and I don’t know how much we can import concepts from judicial proceedings into one of their hearings. It does seem obnoxious, though, for the witness to get in front of the committee, give some self-serving statement to them with concrete assertions within it, and then refuse to answer questions on the specifics of those assertions. I mean, if she wanted to remain silent, then remain silent already.

          2. Then I guess she won’t have to show up for another session, and won’t have to testify under oath… right?

            1. [::crickets::]

          3. Oh snap, Issa caught her breaking a rule the committee just made up on the spot!

            Which pretty much proves my point.

  13. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations and I have not provided false information to this or any other committee.

    Yet I feel it necessary to invoke the 5A which tells us that I have a right to not openly incriminate myself!

    If you have broken no laws and done nothing wrong, how, exactly, can one invoke the right to not “be a witness against oneself”? This is no more than a means to stall the process and willingly hold pertinent information.

    Either you did something that needs to be covered up via a 5A invocation, or you didn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

    1. It’s ON ADVICE OF COUNSEL dammit!!

    2. If there’s one thing high level bureaucrats are good at it’s keeping dirty secrets about other high level people to use in case something goes awry. She’s just buying time while someone else is deciding to either pay up or get out of Dodge.

    3. If you have broken no laws and done nothing wrong, how, exactly, can one invoke the right to not “be a witness against oneself”? This is no more than a means to stall the process and willingly hold pertinent information.

      Please see Ohio v. Reiner.

  14. Essentially she’s saying that using her position to go after people of the wrong political persuasion is illegal, but not wrong.

    1. “We’ve got to do something about that!” 8-(

  15. Too bad you can’t (de facto if not de jure) plead the 5th on April 15th of every year.

  16. There was some debate among congressmen following her statement as to whether she actually waived her Fifth Amendment rights by stating that she had done nothing wrong and broke no laws

    In the sense that people who apparently have no idea what they’re talking about are trying to argue with the people who do.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelli…..t-irs.html

  17. Pleading the 5th means that a jury in a criminal proceeding isn’t allowed to interpret your silence as evidence of guilt. It has no bearing whatsoever on what inferences congress, the media, or the public at large might make from your refusal to testify at a congressional hearing.

  18. An American citizen exercises her Fifth Amendment right not to testify against herself. “Reason,” it seems, is upset. I guess she should been carrying a carrying a piece.

    1. What’s your beef? She didn’t do anything wrong, correct?

    2. Naw, I’m glad she’s abused her power and is protecting those who directed her to do it.

      As a citizen, I absolutely support her right not to incriminate herself. As a member of the government, screw her and her bosses for performing this evil and illegal act.

    3. “Won’t somebody please, oh please take pity upon this poor, hapless IRS Grand Inquisitor — ?!?”

  19. There was some debate among congressmen following her statement as to whether she actually waived her Fifth Amendment rights by stating that she had done nothing wrong and broke no laws

    She waived her rights while she spoke those words, then immediately retained those rights again once she shut her piehole.

    If she said those words after having been sworn in to testify, then she could be prosecuted for perjury if these statements are proven false and she knew they were false when she uttered them.

    1. Asserting you’re innocent when you’re not, even if done under oath, generally isn’t considered perjury. Otherwise anyone that loses a trial could be charged with perjury just for demanding one.

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