'I Have Not Done Anything Wrong,' Key IRS Official Says | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

'I Have Not Done Anything Wrong,' Key IRS Official Says

"I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations."

That was the word Wednesday morning from Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the political storm over the agency's targeting of some conservative groups that were given extra scrutiny from 2010 into 2012.

Then, at a hearing held by the House Committee On Oversight and Government Reform, Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions.

Because the Justice Department has launched an investigation into the IRS's actions, Lerner said, "I've been advised by my counsel to assert my constitutional right. ... I have decided to follow my counsel's advice."

She added: "I know that some people will assume I have done something wrong. I have not. One of the basic functions of the Fifth Amendment is to protect innocent individuals."

The committee's Republican chairman, Darrell Issa of California, made the case that Lerner had waived her Fifth Amendment rights by previously responding to questions about how the IRS handles organizations' applications for tax-exempt status. But after Lerner again made it clear that she would not respond to additional inquiries, Issa dismissed her from the hearing.

The IRS has been under fire since May 10, when Lerner apologized to the groups that were singled out for more exacting reviews. Lerner, who heads the division overseeing tax-exempt groups, said the scrutiny was partly a result of a surge in applications.

Democratic and Republican members of Congress alike have condemned the singling out of those organizations — which identified themselves with words such as "tea party" or "patriots" — for extra scrutiny that delayed their applications for tax-exempt status.

Republicans also have accused Lerner and other IRS officials of misleading lawmakers by not telling them about what the agency had been doing — even though lawmakers had been asking about reports that conservative groups' applications were being inappropriately delayed.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 1, 2015

You can check out work by local women artists or see a comedy about how one woman’s midlife crisis affects those around her.

WAMU 88.5

Food Packaging & Pricing

Have you ever popped open a bag of potato chips only to be disappointed by the number of crisps in your bag? It's not just you. To avoid raising prices, companies often increase their "nonfunctional slack fill" or the difference between the volume of product and its container. We talk about how food packaging affects your recipe and wallet.

WAMU 88.5

Environmental Outlook: The Growing Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

A look at the growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

NPR

USA's 'Mr. Robot,' HBO's 'Ballers' Among Picks For Best Summer TV Series

A flood of some 120 series, both new and returning, are coming to TV sets this summer. So, how to choose which ones to binge-watch by the pool? Our TV critic picks his four favorite new shows.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.