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Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 26, 2013 at 7:05 AM

IRS replaces official

Lerner can’t have it both ways

IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in during an Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to the tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner told the committee she did nothing wrong and then invoked her constitutional right to not answer lawmakers' questions. (Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press)

IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in during an Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to the tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner told the committee she did nothing wrong and then invoked her constitutional right to not answer lawmakers’ questions. (Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press)

Lois Lerner testified under oath that “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws.” She then invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination [“IRS replaces official who revealed targeting,” seattletimes.com, May 23].This does not compute. How can any testimony incriminate her if she truly has done nothing wrong and broken no laws? Either she perjured herself to Congress when she made those statements under oath and she has indeed done something that her testimony could incriminate her for, or she is falsely claiming a Fifth Amendment protection she has no right to because her testimony could not incriminate her. She can’t have it both ways.

She is not entitled to claim Fifth Amendment protections merely to avoid embarrassment to herself or others, or to avoid incriminating other persons who might have broken some laws.

She must either withdraw her testimony that she has broken no laws, or she must not claim the right not to give testimony that could only incriminate her if she had indeed broken some law.

Christopher Hodgkin, Friday Harbor

0 Comments | Topics: Fifth Amendment, Internal Revenue Service, IRS

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