House panel says IRS' Lerner waived Fifth Amendment rights

June 28, 2013 at 4:59 PM

WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- U.S. House Republicans said an Internal Revenue Service official waived her Fifth Amendment rights last month in testimony about alleged political targeting.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted 22-17 Friday to adopt a resolution stating Lois Lerner waived her constitutional right against self-incrimination when she asserted during an opening statement -- before she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights -- that she had done nothing wrong.

Lerner, now on administrative leave, led the IRS office that processed applications for tax-free status from non-profits claiming they were not political, NBC News reported.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the panel's decision -- which could lead to Lerner's return to testify before the committee -- was not taken lightly.

"She made four specific denials. Those denials are the core of the committee's investigation in this matter," Issa said.

Democrats stressed they, too, want to hear more testimony from Lerner, and accused Republicans of rushing into Friday's vote, saying experts should have been consulted to identify whether Lerner indeed waived her rights, The Hill said.

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