House Votes To Hold Lois Lerner In Contempt; Says She Has No Fifth Amendment Rights
The Republican House of Representative has voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. This will get uglier.
The 231-187 vote fell almost entirely along party lines, a decision that cut across three sharp divides: balance of power issues between the branches of government, political questions over the IRS scandal, and a Constitutional debate over Lerner’s individual Fifth Amendment rights.
Lerner is in the middle of that trio. Until she retired last year, she ran the IRS division in charge of tax exempt status. An inspector general’s report concluded her staff had inappropriately targeted Tea Party and other groups for extra scrutiny.
The term “progressive” was also flagged but the inspector general report indicated that conservative terms drew more attention from the IRS.
For nearly a year, Lerner has refused House requests to testify on the matter, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Republicans insist that doesn’t apply here, that she waived the right by first asserting her innocence when she appeared before the House Oversight Committee last May.
BanditBasheert May 7th, 2014 at 8:00 pm
What a surprise, a return to the McCarthy era where the HUAC consistently attempted to hold people in contempt for exercising their 5th Amendment rights.
They never learn do they?
Alan May 7th, 2014 at 8:04 pm
Wow, this is one smart cat.
Pundit2 May 7th, 2014 at 8:23 pm
Exactly! Republicans are “looking for scandal when there is no scandal — and that is the scandal,” Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., declared Tuesday evening during the Rules Committee meeting. “Ms. Lerner had every right to assert her Fifth Amendment right. When it is in court… you will find it will be dismissed.” -Dozens of independent legal experts have also concluded the contempt proceedings are constitutionally deficient. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/house-votes-to-hold-lois-lerner-in-contempt/
John Tarter May 7th, 2014 at 9:10 pm
Wasn’t Alcee Hastings removed from the bench for malfeasance?
fahvel May 8th, 2014 at 4:40 am
scary thing is that many younger liberals have no f’n idea what the mccarthy era even refers to
rjcarter May 8th, 2014 at 11:50 pm
Funny, that. I made my own references to HUAC in my article published this morning, only regarding Right Wing Watch.
John Tarter May 7th, 2014 at 9:07 pm
She HAD her 5th Amendment rights until she voluntary gave them up when she first appeared before the Congress. Her lawyer should be reprimanded for the shoddy advice he gave her before her first appearance. But anyway, this contempt charge is really nothing anyway. Eric Holder has been held in contempt of Congress and he still has not been arrested and brought to justice.
Pundit2 May 7th, 2014 at 11:04 pm
You were mislead. SCOTUS upheld subsequent 5th A rights even after 180+ questions were answered under oath. “0 Indictment Issa” was so busy unplugging microphones he didn’t listen to Ranking member Elijiah Cummings reminder that Issa failed to “Order” Lerner to testify as is required. LOL! Issa didn’t want Lerner’s prearranged answers to his questions on-the-record via her Attorney’s Proffer! Even Boehner snubbed Issa by not appointing him to GOP’s 4th & latest failure: -Self-described ‘conservative Republican’ Admits he began IRS targeting of tea party (& OWS) groups! http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/10/self-described-conservative-republican-began-irs-targeting-of-tea-party-groups/ D’oh!
rjcarter May 8th, 2014 at 11:49 pm
Cummings may very well get his chance to speak further on this issue — from the other side of the bench, however.
Foundryman May 7th, 2014 at 9:16 pm
Hey, it’s certainly not like the House has anything important to do or anything….
Hardlee_Ded May 7th, 2014 at 10:16 pm
what your saying is the House ignored the advice of its own council who
advised against the contempt charge because it won’t stand-up and in
turn make the party look bad.
And did I mention the reason is because Isa violated the meeting rules…
granpa.usthai May 8th, 2014 at 1:30 am
so pleading innocent means you give up your Constitutional rights? – who would have known? -nothing written in the Constitution about forfeiting your rights when pleading innocent. Score another Republican activist SCOTUS victory if this is upheld.
rjcarter May 8th, 2014 at 11:48 pm
If you’re going to plead the Fifth, that’s what you open with. Once you read a statement, you can then be asked about that statement because by making it you have waived your Fifth Amendment rights regarding it. Lerner’s counsel should have leapt over chairs and clasped his hand over her mouth the moment she brought out the papers.
arc99 May 9th, 2014 at 12:07 am
here is the text of the 5th amendment.
please cite where it stipulates that rights are waived under by initially agreeing to testify.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
rjcarter May 9th, 2014 at 6:52 am
Testifying in a Legal Proceeding
At trial, the Fifth Amendment gives a criminal defendant the right not to testify. This means that the prosecutor, the judge, and even the defendant’s own lawyer cannot force the defendant to take the witness stand against his or her will. However, a defendant who does choose to testify cannot choose to answer some questions but not others. Once the defendant takes the witness stand, this particular Fifth Amendment right is considered waived throughout the trial. (Emphasis mine.)
– See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-rights/fifth-amendment-right-against-self-incrimination.html#sthash.U2RN3zVA.dpuf