If you blinked Wednesday morning, you missed IRS director of tax-exempt organizations Lois Lerner testify, sort of, before the House Oversight Committee.
Chairman Darrell Issa knew that Lerner planned to invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify, but Lerner was allowed to give an opening statement.
She firmly stated, with somewhat of an angry attitude, that she did nothing wrong and broke no IRS rules or laws.
“I have not done anything wrong. 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 congressional committee.” Lerner said.
Lerner then proceeded to say that based on the advice of her counsel, she would not answer any of the committee’s questions on her unit’s targeting of political conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
“I know that some people will assume that I have done something wrong,” she said of invoking the Fifth Amendment. “I have not.”
Issa then dismissed Lerner and her lawyers, but not before South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy angrily made an important, and very interesting, legal point.
Gowdy was adamant that Lerner had, in fact, waived her Fifth Amendment right by giving an opening statement. He was livid as he demanded she be forced to answer the committee’s questions. The room full of spectators agreed because they applauded Gowdy when he finished speaking.
Issa pointed out that the committee hearing wasn’t a federal courtroom, and after some discussion, Lerner and her attorneys were dismissed again.
Quite frankly, Issa should have demanded Lerner sit there and invoke the Fifth Amendment after each and every question. He let her off the hook by dismissing her.
Expect Gowdy, who holds a law degree, to have something more to say on this.
Watch a rightfully angry Gowdy speak here via Washington Free Beacon:
Watch Lerner give her opening statement and then invoke her Fifth Amendment right: