News / USA

IRS Official Refuses to Testify to Congress About Scandal

Director of Exempt Organizations for the Internal Revenue Service Lois Lerner (C) departs with her legal team after being excused from a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on targeting of political groups seeking tax-exempt status fro
Director of Exempt Organizations for the Internal Revenue Service Lois Lerner (C) departs with her legal team after being excused from a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on targeting of political groups seeking tax-exempt status fro
Cindy Saine
The official at the center of the storm over the U.S. tax collection agency's targeting of conservative Tea Party groups, Lois Lerner, has refused to testify before a tense congressional hearing on Capitol Hill where Democratic and Republican lawmakers expressed their anger and frustration.

Word came Tuesday the Internal Revenue Service official everyone wanted to hear from the most, Lois Lerner, was going to invoke her fifth amendment constitutional right not to incriminate herself and was going to refuse to answer questions from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Lerner, the IRS Director of Exempt Organizations, said her legal counsel had advised her not to answer any questions, but that did not mean she was guilty. She said,
"I have not done anything wrong.  I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules and regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee."

Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina was outraged that Lerner spoke on her own behalf and then refused to answer the panels' questions.

He said, "She just testified. She just waived her 5th amendment right to privilege. You do not get to tell your side of the story and then not be subjected to cross examination. That is not the way it works."

After a slight hesitation, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a Republican, reluctantly dismissed Lerner, saying she has a right to invoke the 5th amendment.  

The Democratic and Republican lawmakers on the committee continued to hammer the other witnesses at the hearing, especially former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who left the agency in November when his term expired.  

Shulman conceded it was inappropriate for IRS officials to use a list of criteria, such as groups that had the word "Patriot" or "Tea Party" in their name, to face extra scrutiny, extra questions, and delays in having their tax-exempt status approved. But he denied that he had done anything wrong in not telling Congress about the practice, which he says he became aware of in the spring of 2012.  

Democratic Congressman Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts was furious. He said, "Sir, you misled Congress. You misled Congress, make no question about it. You told us one thing, [and] when you learned that our suspicions are true, when you learned that there was a list, you did nothing."

Chairman Issa vowed his committee would keep investigating the IRS scandal until they find out who gave the order to target conservative groups. Tea Party activists have held rallies in a number of towns and cities this week to protest the IRS actions.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid