The Obama administration has announced that there will be no contempt of Congress charges brought against former IRS official Lois Lerner. Lerner invoked the 5th Amendment when she was called to testify before Congress, but not until after she delivered an opening monologue. Republicans argued that her opening statement constituted a waiver of the 5th Amendment, but Obama administration officials don’t see it that way. Gee, what a shock.
The Obama administration informed House Speaker John A. Boehner this week it will not prosecute former IRS executive Lois G. Lerner for contempt of Congress, concluding that she did not waive her Fifth Amendment rights to avoid answering questions when she was called to testify nearly two years ago.
Ms. Lerner, the figure at the center of the IRS’s tea party targeting scandal, is still facing investigation over the intrusive scrutiny of conservative groups, but the decision by U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen does away with at least some of her legal jeopardy.
Still, the move by Mr. Machen — who issued it on Tuesday, his last day in office before returning to private practice — raises major questions over the president’s ability to ignore a congressional directive, and is likely to heighten tensions between President Obama and the GOP-led House.
For her part Ms. Lerner, through her lawyer, sounded a triumphant note. (Read More)