02 July 2013

Fifth Amendment Follies

The "battle" between the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform and Lois Lerner, Internal Revenue Service Director of Exempt Organizations, continues to move forward with the Committee passing on a party-line vote a resolution that she had waived her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Whether the Committee is correct is a matter of some dispute. Go here to read the written opinion of my colleague James Duane explaining why he believes that Lerner did not waive her privilege. What is odd, however, is not that experts may disagree about the correct result but that the Committee is unwilling to release the opinion of House counsel that it asserts supports its resolution.

Odd--it strikes me--that the Committee that publicly passes a resolution won't release its legal basis while insisting that the witness waived her right by making a one-paragraph statement. But this is Washington and nothing should surprise us.

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