File under: I’ll believe it when I see it. What a clusterfark today. I also thought Issa’s absurd handling of this today may be part of a bigger scheme in getting more from her. I’ve decided instead it was just plain stupidity.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said embattled IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights and will be hauled back to appear before his panel again.
The California Republican said Lerner’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination was voided when she gave an opening statement this morning denying any wrongdoing and professing pride in her government service.
When I asked her her questions from the very beginning, I did so so she could assert her rights prior to any statement,” Issa told POLITICO. “She chose not to do so — so she waived.”
Lerner triggered the IRS scandal on May 10 when she acknowledged that the agency wrongly targeted conservative groups applying for a tax exemption. Her lawyer told the House committee earlier this week that she would exercise her Fifth Amendment. She appeared before Issa’s committee this morning under the order of a subpoena and surprised many by reading a strong statement to the panel.
Issa dismissed her from the committee room once it became clear she wouldn’t answer questions. As the hearing wound down this afternoon, Issa kept the panel in recess instead of adjourning. The move allows him to recall Lerner without issuing a new subpoena.