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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 10, 2014 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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only a second-grade education who did not have certain rights throughout their lives. let me also make clear that i i wanted to hear ms. lerner's testimony. i would want to know why she did not discover for more than one year that inappropriate criteria were being used in cincinnati, and i also wanted to know she did not tell the congress sooner about these actions. however, i cannot cast a vote that would place me on the same page of history books as senator joseph mccarthy, and i do not draw that comparison lightly. today this committee is trying to do something that even joe
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mccarthy could not do in the 1950's, something virtually unprecedented. 60 years ago, joe mccarthy tried and failed to obtain a criminal conviction of an american citizen after she professed her innocence before his committee and asserted her right not to testify under the fifth amendment. i want to read briefly from the hearing transcript. in 1954, senator mccarthy accused a woman named diana hogue of being a communist. she worked at the westinghouse company in a small town in new york, making $1.71 per hour. the similarities to the hearing today are striking. ms. hogue said this, "i have never engaged in espionage or sabotage. i am not so engaged. i will not so engage in the future. i am not a spy nor saboteur." like chairman issa, senator mccarthy argued that she waived
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her fifth amendment rights stating, when a witness said she never engaged in espionage, then she waived the fifth amendment, not nearly as to that question, but to the entire field of espionage. like chairman issa is doing today, senator mccarthy held the witness in contempt, and a court rejected the senator's legal theory. the court held that defendant did not waive her privilege under the fifth amendment and that she was entitled to an acquittal on all counts. if today's vote were weighing about these see the constitutional questions, we would have a held at least one hearing of experts on all sides of the debate. we do not take this lightly, and i know you do not either, mr. chairman.
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i made this request more than nine months ago, last june, but the 0committee has never held a single hearing with a single expert on these issues. as of today a total of 31 independent experts have now come forward to identify fatal flaws in these proceedings. it includes the not follow constitutional due process protections. they include former house councils, supreme court clerks, and prosecutors and professors from across the country. they also include both democrats and republicans. a quote that i have always loved from jordan, when she said, "my faith in the constitution is old. it is complete, it is."
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i am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the minutia, this version of the constitution. as i close is the chairman's right a hold hearings and not to hear from these experts, but given the significance of this issue and its grave implications to all americans, i believe he should have. i sadly disagree on this, but i will not be an idle spectator. today i will vote against the resolution, and i do not want to go back to the era that strips americans of their citizens that has nothing to do with results in oversight and has everything to do with the worst kind of partisan politics. i yield back. >> i will leave the record open today, that any member may submit a written statement.
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members may offer amendment under the five-minute rule. the report has been distributed to all members without objection. the report will be considered as read. does any member wish to comment on the report? the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. james madison not when he was representative madison, talked about the role of the legislative branch, the role of the house. he said this, the house should possess itself of the fullest information in order to do justice to the country and to officers. the fullest information. that is as much information as you can get so that you can arrive at the truth and you want
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to arrive at the truth so you can do justice. here's what we know -- lois lerner and the internal revenue service systematically targeted conservative groups. think about the first amendment. the most fundamental rights under the first amendment, freedom of speech, to criticize your government, that was systematically attacked, because remember the context. go back to october 19, 2010. lois lerner is giving a speech at duke university talking about the citizens united case, and she says this, the supreme court dealt a huge blow, breaking a huge precedent. who is the they? it is the democratic senators who wrote the irs and said do something about this. it is the president of the united states.
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the state of the union address that year, the president called the supreme court of the state of the union address. they want the irs to fix the problem and she said, so everybody is screaming at us right now to fix it now before the election. she said i cannot do anything right now. she could not do it before the election in 2010, but she could put in place a systematic targeting to fix it the next year, and that is what she did. in the limited e-mails we got, from her, she said this, in the fall of 2010, we will do a c-4 project next year. we need to be cautious so it is not a per se political project. which means what? it was a political project. she tried to hide that fact.
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guess what -- she got caught. when she got caught, we called her in before this committee. she sat at that table, and the only thing she said, we can put that on the screen, the only thing she said is that statement. the only testimony we have is that testimony right there. we know that is false. we know it is false. the press knows it is false. the american people knows it is false. the ways and means committee knows it is false. here we are. the only remedy we have to get to the truth is to use every tool at our disposal to try to get lois lerner to testify and answer the questions. that is the only remedy we have. the only route -- remember this -- the only route to the truth is to the house of representatives. that is what madison was talking about, because we know this -- the investigation of the justice department is a complete joke. the fbi on january 13 this year, the fbi leaks to "the wall street journal" nobody will be
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referred for prosecution. the president said there's no corruption, not even a smidgen. the person having the investigation gave $6,750 to the president's campaign. just this week on tuesday in the judiciary committee, i asked eric holder, have you looked into the leak that the fbi gave to "the wall street journal"? have you investigated that? his response, no, i have not. i have not even checked out the leak. the only path to the truth, the only path to the truth is through this committee, the ways and means committee, the house of representatives. we have got to pass this resolution. it is the only chance we have to give the american people an opportunity to get the truth about a fundamental right that was systematically attacked. i want to close with a statement from our colleague. he made it two weeks in this
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committee room, when we had the head of the irs here. he said this, and i praised him in the press for making the statement, and i talked to him before yesterday, and i do not know how he is going to vote, but this statement is right on target. i talked to him on the floor and i looked at it again, looked at his statement last night it here's what he said two weeks ago. the irs, a very powerful agency, with a lot of information, on a lot of individuals, it has been targeting u.s. citizens, and that is serious stuff. it sure is. i think that justifies the scope of the committee's inquiry and the urgency that we get to the bottom of this. that is not just good for republicans. that is not just good for democrats. that is good for our democracy. >> the gentleman's time has expired.
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>> i seek recognition for five minutes? >> i will take the liberty of going in order of seniority when i see hands. the gentlelady from new york? >> thank you. mr. chairman, i wholeheartedly support the role that congress has been given to oversee the federal agencies. i completely agree that this committee should lead the way in ensuring our government is properly managed and working diligently on behalf of the american people. but unfortunately, this is not what this investigation has been about. because if this committee was truly interested in examining allegations of undue influence from outside the irs, there would be an offer of immunity on the table, right now, for lois lerner, an offer for immunity so that we could ask her what, if anything, she was instructed to do by others. but there is no offer of immunity on the table, which happens in most serious investigations are just as there is no intent to seriously pursue a legitimate line of inquiry. ms. lerner has invoked her constitutional right to remain
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silent under the fifth amendment, and that is it, the and. the fifth amendment states quite clearly that no person shall become held in any criminal case to be a witness against herself. republicans in this committee have claimed that ms. lerner has committed federal crimes rate they say there is a criminal case to be made. and they wish to compel her to be a witness against herself. the constitution says no matter how powerful you believe yourself to be, in our country you just cannot do that. guilty or innocent, ms. lerner has a constitutional right to remain silent on this issue. under our founding documents, we believe she is not endowed with that privilege by this committee, but rather, it is her
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right under our democracy. just like the first amendment right of free speech and the second amendment right to bear arms, the fifth amendment and its right to remain silent is a bedrock principle of our democracy. it cannot be suspended by this congress. i would like to emphasize that our side of the aisle is just as determined to get to the truth on this matter as you are. but trying to rip up the constitution and run roughshod over the bill of rights is not a path to truth. it is merely political theater. and i would like to remind all those in attendance that just last month the treasury i.g. for tax administration justified its own audit found no evidence to support the accusations that there was political collusion. the i.g. found no evidence that
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its employees were politically motivated, and it was no reason for individuals outside the irs in creating the criteria and causing the delays. it was the i.g.'s report that began this thing. this committee has pursued this issue relentlessly. it has now collected more than 400,000 pages of documents from the irs and conducted 38 interviews. but the issue of whether or not lois lerner waived her fifth amendment rights asserting her innocence is not for us to decide. it is a matter for the courts to weigh. on this matter i would like to point you to the analysis of morton rosenberg, a man who served with great the station
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for 35 years as the american public law specialist at the nonpartisan congressional research service, and i would like unanimous consent to place his analysis in the record. >> without objection, all extraneous material will be placed in the record. >> he wrote in these proceedings the protections have not been met. i would like to note that stan brand, who served as house counsel, fully subscribes to mr. rosenberg's legal analysis and conclusions. what would actually be far more important for this committee to report on is what the irs is doing to correct the problems that the agency and congressional oversight have identified. the i.g's audit investigation contained nine recommendations that it thought would improve an issue and guidance for reviewing and tracking.
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at a hearing last month, the irs confirmed that the irs has implemented every single one of these changes. that would be a good thing for the american people to know more about and to really fulfill its mandate. i think this committee -- >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> instead of pursuing the destruction of one single woman clean to her god-given constitutional rights. >> i recognize the gentleman from tennessee. >> mr. chairman, thank you, and a law professor, well-known law professor at georgetown, is known as a very liberal pro-defendant analyst, said this about ms. lerner. he said she has run a grave risk of waive her rights on things she has already talked about. in that situation, when you voluntarily open up the subject you want to inquire into and in
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the same proceedings, that would be a waiver. alan dershowitz, a very liberal legal analyst, very pro-defendant usually, said this, he says, ms. lerner opened a legal pandora's box. you cannot make statements about a subject and then plead the fifth in response to questions about the very same subject. once you open the door to an area of inquiry, you have waived your fifth amendment rights. you have waived yourself-incrimination rights on that subject matter. an expert at the heritage foundation said we know that lerner already invited permission to that justice department before her appearance at the house committee. under the rules of the federal courts and the district of columbia, she waived her rights to assert the fifth amendment. some of you know i was a criminal court judge in tennessee 7 1/2 years.
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in the 1980's, we were trying cases right and left. i tried sending a jury trials my first year as a judge. i can't tell you when ms. lerner made her statement and then asserted her fifth amendment right after that, i was stunned. i admit i have forgotten a lot of law in 26 years since i was a judge. i also can tell you, and i am sure is a judge i made a lot of mistakes, but i do not believe i was ever reversed in a single case, and i had a reputation as being a pro-defense judge, and i leaned over backwards trying to give defendants every right that i possibly could. but you cannot come in and make a state ms. lerner did and say i violated no laws, i have broken no rules, and specifically saying that i have finally did no rules or regulations of the
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irs. do that and then come in and plead the fifth because if that was possible, every person, every defendant in any proceeding in this country would do that. they would come in and testify them and then plead the fifth so they could not be questioned so that they could not be cross-examined. to allow this makes a mockery of our system. it makes a joke out of it, and i have got other quotations from leading legal experts, and i can just -- i will close by saying i appreciate what you have done, mr. chairman, and i personally think you are the right track. i have talked to many legal experts and read many articles about this situation. i have read and heard from many lawyers that know a lot more about this than i do. and most of them, the great majority of them, say that she has waived her right to plead the fifth in this situation, and
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so i agree with you and we will support you as you proceed to this markup today. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. the gentlelady from the district of columbia. >> thank you. what we are seeing in the last couple of days is a kind of coordinated passing on of lois lerner. lois lerner is not a particularly sympathetic figure, but they are making her one. the ways and means committee had a hearing which the papers have called a farce yesterday, a hearing unprecedented. we are having another hearing, another contempt hearing on lois lerner. the tragic irony is that we could have heard from lois lerner, and she was willing to testify before this committee.
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of course, she has faced a committee where she was accused before we had ever received a single document of false and misleading information. she was told that it carried potential criminal liability. the most powerful man in the house, speaker boehner, said at that point, my question is, who was going to jail over this scandal? these are two powerful politicians. as the committee's work was just getting underway, when people have taken the fifth during prior decades, they have also been labor leaders or entertainers, inherently sympathetic figures, but when you work for the irs you are not a synthetic figure. lois lerner was willing to testify before this committee. the chairman called her back
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last month. he gave her one week's notice. her attorney was going to be out of town, and he asked for a one-week extension. i do not know a court in the world that would have denied that extension, because you want to hear from the witness. but her attorney was denied that extension even as ms. lerner was negotiating to come before this committee and waive her fifth amendment rights. but the chairman went on national television and essentially blew up those negotiations by announcing inaccurately, without the permission of her attorney or ms. lerner, that she would testify on march 5, though he had given the attorney an extension of the kind he had asked. it is hardly likely that any attorney who did not want to be
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accused of malpractice would have come forward and allowed her to testify under those circumstances. in fact, what he said was we lost confidence in the fairness and the impartiality of the forum. it is completely partisan. it would be very hard to rebut that in light of the service as is when we could have -- of the
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circumstances as we could have heard from the witnesses. the american people have lost the confidence in our work here. the public deserves to hear from ms. lerner. if you had acted in a more responsible fashion, if you had allowed the witness every opportunity to negotiate to come before us and tell us what these hearings have been about from the beginning, this contempt matter would have been unnecessary, but the point seems to have been to have a show -- a show contempt hearing, to find her in contempt, and make political hay out of what is truly a far more serious matter. i thank you, mr. chairman, and yield back. >> i think the gentlelady.
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we go to the gentlemen from florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and members of the committee. the other side of the aisle would have you believe that this is something that just republicans are doing and we did not give ms. lerner a chance. the facts are pull up a little chart that irs began targeting conservative groups with conservative-sounding names from march to april, 2010, and ms. lerner was in charge of that particular agency and responsibility. even chairman issa in june 2010 alerted irs. it was not republicans who
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really helped launch some of the inspector general investigation. in february, we heard previous comments from democratic senators. in february, 2014 -- -- february, 2012. the investigation actually started, and i penciled it in, march, a month later, the inspector general began to review this matter. we now find that even mr. cummings who had made certain contacts at irs in august, 2012 again, the question before us is contempt against lois lerner. she was given the opportunity to come before us and she came
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before us the first time in may. that is less than a year ago. and she refused to cooperate and testify. we gave her another opportunity just weeks ago to come back and to testify. in the meantime, we interviewed over 30 witnesses. almost every one of them, and i will put this in the record, pointed to lois lerner. she started this whole thing out. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i will not yield. >> the gentleman's time is his. we will have regular order. the gentleman may continue. >> what she did is worthy of probably an academy award here and she went before the inspector general report was released in may -- it was released may 14. on may 10, she did a broadway production.
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it was worthy of an academy award. when she said that, one of the irs folks who heard it, cindy thomas -- cincinnati -- it was hit by a convoy of mack trucks. that is what they said according to what she tried to produce. everything points at her and she has refused to cooperate. finally, what is this all about? this is about one of the most fundamental abuses i have ever seen in my lifetime of trying to skew the election. she tried to skew the election
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and probably was fairly successful. and also hog tying conservative groups in this country. she said in the beginning that they proposed -- that it was a problem. on election day, we have an e-mail, one of the ones we did get a hold of, that she opined that it was important for democrats to retain control of the senate. imagine if the other side -- this is about liberal groups --
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the howling would never end. this is a simple procedure. she acted in contempt. she must be held in contempt and we must move forward. >> the gentleman who seeks recognition, mr. lunch? -- mr. lynch? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to speak on the motion. this determination that ms. lerner waived her constitutional rights -- let me go back and first speak to my friend from ohio's remarks. i stand by that. i think it is powerful when a department or agency of government brings that power down on the heads of innocent
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citizens trying to exercise their constitutional rights. i think it is right for us to be concerned about a dangerous situation like that, whether it is the irs coming down on political groups whose rights are invested in the first amendment, the right to free speech, the right to petition their government freely or whether those rights are in the fifth amendment. and give that individual citizen the right to stand behind the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination. today's proceeding is a contempt proceeding against that one individual. that is not the matter we have agreed upon, that this is a dangerous situation because of the irs conduct. we are talking about a contempt
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proceeding against a single citizen and whether they have exercised their rights and had those rights protected you >> will the gentleman yield? >> maybe when i get done. if i can get everything said, i will be happy to yield. it did warm my heart to hear the gentleman from tennessee eloquently site legal precedent -- eloquently cite legal precedent about the question of whether or not ms. lerner as an american citizen waived that fifth amendment right to be protected from self-incrimination. however, it would have been much more valuable testimony if we had had that testimony before she -- we decided she was guilty. we have already voted that she is in contempt. we have already voted that she waived her rights. and the first time we had testimony, through the gentleman from tennessee and a couple
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other members, is after we decided that she was guilty and she had waived her right. that she was the subject of contempt. that is backwards. my other colleagues on the other side of the aisle cited the 38 interviews that were conducted. however, when we tried to make those interviews public, the chairman refused. he cherry picked little sentences out of one or two or three interviews and made those public to the press. that is a political move. this is a political decision. this is not a legal determination by this committee. we have not had any -- we should have had a hearing here to determine -- we should have brought the best legal experts in america on constitutional law and ask them point blank, based on your assessment of lois lerner's 35 words, did she waived her constitutional rights? i don't think so. the vast body of legal testimony is that it must be a meaningful and purposeful waiver of her fifth amendment rights, and that we don't assume that lightly, because it is so important.
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but we didn't have that debate. we didn't have that hearing. we went a whole different direction. we denied the opportunity to have those transcripts made public. we never had this full and fair debate, some of which is going on now after she was found guilty. she was put in a position where she was not going to testify. that was not the case. as we've heard from the gentlelady of the district of columbia, which is widely known on this committee, her attorney asked for a week delay. anybody who has practiced law in their previous life knows that is not an unreasonable request for an attorney to prepare, because he was out-of-town.
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this contempt vote if it goes down and passes, this will be laughed out of court. this will be laughed out of court. the chairman has so bungled this whole proceeding that it will just be a significant cost to the taxpayer and we will not be able to get to the bottom of this through this channel. it is unfortunate. because i think there is a danger here when a powerful committee works against the interests of the american people. >> the gentleman's time has expired. we now go to the gentleman from ohio. >> 92 -- for recognizing me. i yield my time to cynthia lummis. >> the gentlelady is recognized. >> i think the chairman and i thank the gentleman from ohio four yielding me his time -- for yielding me his time. it is uniquely consequential to judge another american, a woman in a position of public trust,
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to be in contempt of congress, to have behaved contempt of lee -- contemptively. yes, lois lerner does have a right to remain silent -- a constitutionally-protected right, but lois lerner did not remain silent. her own e-mails refute and contradict her assertion before this committee that she did nothing wrong, that she violated no laws. she spoke falsehoods to this committee when she said she did nothing wrong. she spoke to the justice department without immunity. i believe she did waive her fifth amendment right. it is often said that the power to tax is the power to destroy.
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that is why the american people must be protected from the abuse of that power. congress must intervene on behalf of the american people. lois lerner's own e-mails document her wrong partisan agenda against conservative speech. that a former director of the irs, a job requiring the high-risk -- the highest level of integrity, a duty owed to the american people to be fair and unbiased would conduct herself in this manner is something worthy of this committee's a consideration -- committee's consideration in this context. we all have heroes. the american people have looked at gangsters and thugs that were brought down by the irs because they didn't pay their taxes as the kind of people that we wanted to look up to, the irs using its power to tax to destroy the bad guys. to be the intimidator.
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in this case, it is the irs which is the intimidator. the protector has become the intimidator, and it is our duty in this committee to protect the people from an agency that no longer protects them. mr. chairman, this committee is appropriately exercising its authority and power and duty to protect the american taxpayer, to stand between them and the abuse of power by federal agencies. it is a duty of hours. we must conduct our work with the highest level of integrity, and that is why i appreciate the careful deliberations of this committee as to this very consequential subject.
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to have conducted oneself on behalf of the internal revenue service with such dishonor and disrespect to the very people who have entrusted you -- i'm repulsed by that. and i find our work today to be conducted in a manner which the american people deserve. mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from ohio yields back. we now go to the gentleman from virginia. mr. connolly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is a very sad day.
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for this committee, for the congress, and for the rights of all american citizens. to call this proceeding and the words just other orwellian only begins to touch the surface of the process that has characterized this proceeding for the last year. we can stipulate that lois lerner is not a heroic figure, and all of us would like to know more about what she did and what she said and why she did it that is -- did it. that is not the issue before us today. even with non-heroic figures, especially with non-heroic figures, did the bill of rights
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encompass the right of every citizen, even an irs employee, to avoid self entrapment? mr. jordan, our friend from ohio, cited james madison of my state of virginia. he is right. james madison put a lot of believe in the power of congress and felt like that is where it belonged. he believed the house of representatives kind of trump even the courts with respect to interpretation of constitutional issues and legislation. but that same james madison had to be persuaded and was persuaded as the very first act in the first congress, to adopt a bill of rights. there could have been 100 enumerated rights. they enumerated 10. and the fifth one was the right against self-incrimination for a
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reason. because what had characterized colonial times and what characterized, frankly, british 17th century jurisprudence, was the -- somebody's words can be used against them -- if you want to look at case law, that is where you have to go. ,ongress trampled on rights citizens rights. underworld citizens. dispositive. it deals with what is in front of us. prefacesthat someone
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their rights with the protestation of their innocence and then invokes the fifth amendment right. doesn'tcitly says that waive your right. for the majority of this committee, to assert otherwise, it is to ignore case law. in tough times. in tough cases. i played with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. are we not about protecting citizens rights? they are not appealing characters? it is precisely when it is difficult. when it is politically inconvenient. and unpopular. this body must rise and protect the constitutional rights of everybody. rights ofopardize the , wetizen like lois lerner
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jeopardize the rights of every american. people holdso often up the constitution saying i am a constitutionalist. well, practice what you preach. fifth amendment. understand what it means. boat -- cast the right vote today. i yield back. >> i think the gentleman. imris are advised we will not recess for the vote. if they need to vote, and come back, i advise them to. with that, we go to the gentleman from north carolina. >> when a member goes down to but you close out the conversation. >> no, no.
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we look for tea return. the gentleman from north carolina. >> thank you. we have a serious matter before the committee today. to go throughble hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. one thing is clear. lois lerner orchestrated a conspiracy -- a concerted effort to target conservative groups because of their political use. clear,er thing that is in congress there are liberal members of the house and the senate that wanted to use the irs to target conservative groups because they didn't like a court case.
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if we have accountability, if we have the rule of law in this country, and if those law-enforcement agencies actually look at the evidence that we have before us. should're doing today have been done months ago. because it was the concerted effort of this committee and the majority party on the committee to make sure we got all of the evidence, and we did not act in haste. we have 11 months of investigation on this. this thing started four years ago. the actions taken today were justified based on the evidence we have today. my democratic colleagues appreciated the targeting lois
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lerner was doing for them within the irs. wasas their party that targeted by a republican president 40 years ago. how things have changed in 40 years. i would like to yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from ohio. >> i think him for yielding. i would like to go back to our colleagues. mr. lynch. the statement that he made two weeks ago in a committee hearing. remember the context of the statement. -- had told the committee we might not get all of lois lerner's e-mails for two years. mr. lynch said that is not appropriate. we need the information. ," mcginn, the
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powerful agency the irs is. that serious. the urgency to get those e-mails. here's the key question. if lois lerner will not talk to us e-mails,not give how do we get truth? ist is why the resolution important. to they way we will get truth about the targeting of usermation is if we can every tool at our disposal to try to compel lois lerner to sit on that witness stand and answer our questions to the american people. that is why mr. lynch was spot on two weeks ago when he said this was of such importance that we have to get that information. it is about the first amendment to read with that, i would yield
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back. think the gentleman for yielding. there has been a lot of testimony here for members. i would advise that on any referral, the statements made by members are in fact part of what is likely to be part of the record. whatmembers are stating did or didn't happen, i would admonish them to ensure that they are providing for the record such documents as may be appropriate to further their point. this point, we recognize the gentlelady from california. >> thank you. this is not a proud day for this committee. i often times wonder if we weren't on a 24 hour news cycle whether we would conduct our business differently. held an langford and i
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very important hearing about social security disability. and waste and abuse, and fraud. here, this is a spectacle that has been orchestrated to obscure facts that are not partisan, and will not put a lyrical points on the scoreboard. the hallmarks of a politically motivated and biased investigation have been evident throughout the process. announced the conclusion of the investigation before they held one hearing or conducted a single interview. the chairman of the committee announcedx news and that there was a conspiracy, and the president of the united involved in this fiesta. facts that haven't fit into the
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predetermined narrative of the majority have been completely ignored. 31 legal experts that have spoken out on whether or not ms. lerner waived her rights. they come from across the political spectrum and across the country. -- s take purchase aunchin andrea dennis of the university of georgia law school said that contempt prosecution would be legally and factually unsupported. here are the facts. in the last 60 years, what has been required for a group to
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qualify as a 501(c) four status mutated from being for a social service or social well for purpose to what today is incomprehensibly interpreted as any group that is primarily dedicated to social welfare causes. the result has been a flood of groups operating contrary to the spirit of the law for seeking him being granted tax exempt status. filed, group seeking to aren't even required to go through the certification process that has been derided by the majority. groups can file as a 501(c) four without certification. nothing requires these groups to face the gone let of the irs certification process. they can avoid that process altogether and self certified. what has become clear is that an under resourced irs to inappropriate and ill advised shortcuts to try to get through
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thousands of 501(c) four applications. appropriate in televised shortcuts to it enough i conservative and liberal groups that potentially qualify for tax-exempt status. they were primarily involved in social welfare purposes. what has become clear because of this investigation is that today is not about lois lerner. or the alleged inappropriate tactics she may have employed. today is about protecting the integrity and the credibility of this committee. ae truth is, lois lerner is mid-level bureaucrat. she may have made poor decisions. found in contempt or not, her name has been dragged through the mud. the chairman has been convinced that not only lois lerner but the white house and president a vastave orchestrated
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conspiracy to punish conservative 501(c) four. after millions of dollars spent on a taxpayer-funded witchhunt, this is where we have ended up. there is no connection to the white house. but we are trying to do is hold the content a mid-level bureaucrats. the actions of this committee will not hold up to judicial scrutiny. if this conspiracy had been real, lois lerner would have been offering immunity on day one. this could have turned out very differently. lois lerner was willing to testify. we didn't give it to her. shame on us. i yield back. >> i think the gentlelady. first of all, this hearing is a
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proper hearing. we have an individual who has had every opportunity to cooperate, from nearly a year ago when she was first brought before this committee. she first professed her innocence. she then took the fifth. the chairman sat in this chair and questioned her again, repeatedly she exercise contempt for the committee process. this is not something initiated by our side of the aisle. the inspector general got started a month after cement democrat senators had exercised
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their concerned and one investigation of what was going on. did a thorough investigation. we have heard a number of attempts to close this down. unfortunately by the ranking member. we did need to go any further. failed even to this hearing on this day to receive simple documents. the gentlelady mention the cost of taxpayer funds. the new euros -- the new irs us assioner, he could give billion pages. if it is not what we requested, and he spends taxpayer time,
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expenses, and resources blanketing the committee with information we didn't request, we request specific e-mails from lois lerner, which we still haven't gotten. what you have seen in here is what we have pieced together. witnesses,alking to all point towards lois lerner. lois lerner went before the american bar association just before the inspector general's report was released. almost a hollywood reduction. tried to pass the blame. ,olks around the water cooler they felt that they were not only thrown under the bus, they were thrown under the mack truck convoy. it is very clear that the person
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held in contempt here, within most patient. we are going on a year. that webe a year in may have requested the cooperation of this individual. she can selectively found her nose at the congress and the american people and hold us in contempt, not beheld in contempt. we have a responsibility as the committee to move forward. she has been given the opportunity and thumbed her nose at the committee. with those comments, i am pleased to yield to mr. langford for five minutes. >> thank you. this is what we are dealing with today. can an individual make a theirent, peer to waive right to the fifth amendment, and then decide i'm going to waive the fifth enemy -- anyway.
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may the 10th of 2013. lois lerner had a question planted at the conference. so she would be asked about something that was irrelevant to that day. so she could leak out that day about this rogue group in cincinnati what was happening. 12 days later she was in front of this committee. she made this statement. good morning. members of the committee. my name is lois lerner. i have been a government employee for 34 years. i practiced law of department of justice. she was the staff attorney. missiont the federal commission, she made this statement. she said this. wrong.not done anything i have not broken any laws. i have not violated any irs rules and regulations. people think i have
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done something wrong. i have not. i have responded to tax exemption. all of the statements she made. so i don't have to answer questions related to these statements that i just made. here is our big concern. you waived your right to the fifth amendment when you make statements about this fact yourself. she practiced law for years. she had been general counsel at the federal election commission. this is not someone who was not aware of the law. this is someone who was very aware. we're asking a simple thing. answer questions. this entire investigation points back to one person beginning to answer questions. why is this such a big deal? because of the questions she was
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asking others. i brought with me a copy of the letter sent by her office to one of the oklahoma tea party groups. in this letter she outlines at the beginning from their office under penalty of perjury everything has to be correct and reminds the people that fill this out that everything you give me will be made public. make sure what you give me will be made public because i will release everything that you put in this document and then this person who stands up and says i don't have to answer questions. i don't have to make anything public, although i can make assertions that i have done nothing wrong, they ask give me a transcript of any speech. you directly or indirectly communicate with members of ledge slavet bodies. if so, provide written communication. this person that says i do not have to say anything required of them the contents of private
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conversations with any legislature they might have come into contact with. please provide any advocacy training to your members of the public. describe details to haved a vikes training. how about this one? who selects the material on your website? name them. how do they set criteria for that? describe in detail your advocacy training. provide copies of anything related to your training. corporate minutes. copy s of your website, areas that only members can access. this is private information that they are requiring of private citizens. we're requiring if you're going to come through our office they are going to make public any conversation you have had in w any legislature you have communicated with. yet this person says i can require someone else to do those
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things, but you can't require me to speak even after even a made a statement that i've done nothing wrong, violated no rules, told this committee the truth every time. i can make those statements but i don't have to back it up. you do have to back it up. you cannot step into this committee, make an assertion of facts, waive your fifth amendment right and not answer questions while at the same time requiring organizations for years, some of them like this one, still waiting for their tax exempt status and say they have to do it, but i don't with. we're americans. we're all treated the same. it is not treated someone different. this is treating everyone the same. i yield back. >> the gentlelady from illinois, miss kelly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman issa has missed opportunities for this committee
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to obtain information that would help our inquiry. last month her attorney sent a letter to chairman issa as to what miss lerner would say if called to testify. the chairman went on national television and claimed this written offer never happened. he said "we want to get to the truth. if the attorney had -- which would be to tell us, don't tell us your client is innocent. tell us what we need to know. the chairman never obtains a proffer. it is one of the worst examples of partisanship this committee has ever seen. her attorney offered to have her testify with a simple one-week extension since he had obligationsout town. rather than accept this offer,
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they decided to go on national television and say she would testify without the extension. as i listen to my republican colleagueses narg favor of this resolution, i am left to wonder if they realize how we got here. the chairman failed to obtain a proffer. e consulted to obtain mrs. lerner's testimony. when the ranking member has attempted to help the chairman get the information he said he wants, the chairman silenced the ranking member and prevented him from speaking. i can only assume despite his repeated claims, the chairman doesn't actually want to hear from ms. lerner and that is a shame because the public deserves the truth and not a political side show. i yield back. >> pleased to yield to the . ntleman from north carolina,
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. as we go into this particular debate, i think it is good for all of us to remember that this is a debate on emotion. a debate on perhaps amendments that may be offered and as we start to look at this, the question of lois lerner being held in contempt is one that both sides of the aisle should take very seriously. but it really gets down to restoring the trust for the american people. what we have found over and over again is starting last may is someone who came before this very committee and said that she had done nothing wrong. since that time, almost a year now, we have found emails and discovered emails over and over
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again it would indicate that that particular statement was not true. her own attorney, speaking to the "wall street journal" talked about the reason why she didn't want to come here and testify is because she would be "vilified." when you start to look at this, and if that indeed is the reason where we have found her to have talked to the department of justice, talked to reporters, talked to other people, and her only reason for coming here is because she does not want to be vilified, indeed, that is unfortunate. but being vilified is not a constitutionly protected event. 3 certainly invoking the fifth, if she had said nothing, would have been proper. but yet torques come in and suggest that she has done nothing -- to come in and
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suggest that she has done nothing wrong and to go further with that and say that the reason that she is not coming forth testify before this oversight committee is troubling because the american people deserve the truth. those organizations who were targeted, some for well over three years, without a decision, need to have the truth come out. you know, we still have some of these tea party groups today. they are still waiting on decisions and that is unfortunate when you have one of the most powerful agencies in the country that is not willing to make a decision, when by statute, they are required to make a decision within 270 days anyways. and yet, somehow, a deadline for the i.r.s. is not one that they
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have to adhere to and yet when the shoe on the other foot, and when we have an american taxpayer that has deadline that they are enforcing, they somehow have a double standard. that deadline must be met, and yet the i.r.s. continues to not meet their deadlines. i want to close with this. perhaps this didn't need to take place today if the i.r.s. commissioner, and those that are in charge of lois lerner's emails had been more forthcoming. the average american person does not understand why we could not have all of lois lerner's emails delivered to us in over a year's time. i don't understand it and you would think that that would be a very simple request. so with that, i --
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>> the gentleman yields the boovels his time. >> sure. i yield the balance of my time. >> the gentleman -- in the closing minutes he has left, the facts are that in february 2011, lerner sent an email to her staff saying that cases involving the tea party applicants were very dangerous. this was in february of 2011. she was there. she was orchestrating this. we know that much. carter came before us, the veteran i.r.s. official who worked the test cases in washington, testified that lerner's senior advisors told him they would need to review the tea party application, something he had never seen done in his 48 years at the i.r.s. these are the facts lois lerner has had several opportunities to come before this committee and tell us the whole truth and
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nothing but the truth, and she failed to do that. she should be held in contempt and i'm pleased to yield to the gentlelady from illinois, ms. duckworth. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i share your frustration that ms. lerner chose not to test fifmente she has valuable information and important questions that she must answer about the of the i.r.s. i would like to understand why she failed to inform congress about tin appropriate targetsing sooner. i would like to ask her about the gross mismanagement that created an atmosphere in which the trkting could continue for so long. i think that there are important lessons to be learned here to make sure this type of targeting never happens again. but as members of congress, we are sworn to uphold the constitution and i take this oath very seriously. i first took this oath when i joined the army in my early 20's
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and for the past 25 years of my life i have upheld it. did the same when i was sworn in as a member of congress. ms. lerner has constitutional right to plead the fifth. anything should be held to the highest, the highest degree of scrutiny. i'm not a legal expert, but this committee was provided with numerous opinions of those who are are from both conservative and liberal philosophies and they conclude she did not waive her fifth amendment rights. this committee should not be in the business of stripping away the constitutional rights of an american when there is so little debate and zero evidence. this type of reckless action has not been taken since the days of senator mccarthy. constituents do not want congress to go back to the mccarthy era.
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i cannot support this effort to drag us back to into one of the darkest periods in the history of this institution. i recognize that she did indeed invoke her fifth amendment rights and yield back. >> will the gentlelady yield? >> i yield. >> i appreciate her comments. i appreciate it and would like to make one point. many have referred to late senator mccarthy. i hope that the gentlelady would view this a little differently. essentially, we are faced with competing views as to whether or not somebody taking fifth and then continuing to answer questions or speaking the material fact not considered by any of the 31 witnesses that i have seen paper on, whether or not those witnesses or those experts considered her speaking to the justice department
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thoroughly as several members of the democratic side here have said in their statements. she was willing to testify but then changed her mind for reasons other than self-incrimination. these are all issues that will, if we refer this motion, be heard by a federal judge. the point of today's mark-up is do we send to a federal judge for his or her consideration, with a u.s. attorney involved, the question of did she waive? i might suggest to all of our members, at least in this meebs opinion, since there is a -- member's opinion, since there is a debate, house counsel shares his opinion that she waved. other experts are on the other side. i, like you, am not an attorney. the question today, to counsel that i'm supposed to use,
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nonpartisan, that there is sufficient reason to move contempt through the house and ultimately have the question decided by a lifetime appointment, u.s. federal judge that i won't get to pick and you won't get the pick and i think the answer should be yes. so hopefully the gentlelady will consider before a final vote, are we in fact asking the question of whether the federal judge should -- you're free to say you don't think she should waive. that is fine. the question is should an independent arbitrator decide what i've been told by house counsel was a waive. we should ask questions as to the things that she testified to after she invoked the fifth. things like that document that you saw her say was true and correct. i thank gentlelady. >> i will yield to the ranking member. >> this is to the gentlelady. this is the very reason why i
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ask that experts come in. legal experts to give us their opinions because this is a very weighty issue and we do have lay people on both sides. that's where it would have been beneficial but we were denied that. thank you very much. >> we now go to the gentleman from utah. >> i would like to yield to the gentleman from south carolina. mr. gowdy. >> i thank the gentleman from utah. you have the right to remain silent. no guilt may be infered from your invokeation of that right to remain silent. however if you testify or take the stand, you will be treated like any other witness and subject to cross examination. i have heard that phrase for 16 years. it has been repeated in courtrooms all across this country today but not for powerful people that work for government. just for everyday folks. just for everyday witnesses or everyday defendants of petty
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crimes, not charged with violation of constitutional rights. maybe just petty larceny. they are being told you have a right to remain silent, however if you testify or take the stand, you will be treated like every other witness. mr. chairman, i counted 17 separate actual a-- factual assertions. that is a lot of talking for somebody who wants to remain silent. talking. lot of if you honestly believe that you can make 17 separate factual assertions and still invoke your right to remain silent, then please tell me what waiver is. what constitutes waiver. if saying 17 separate factual things does not. mr. chairman, she testified i have done nothing wrong. i have broken no law.
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no rules or i.r.s. resolutions. we should have the right examine her on that testimony because i would like to ask her. when you said we need a plan, who is we? and what plan are you referring to? when she said we need to be careful it is not perceived as political. who is we and what are you concerned about the perception of politics for? what are you fearful of, ms. lerner? she said i think we really need to do a project. who is we and what project are you referring to? that is a renlt mat question. and every brother and sister at the bar on the other side of the aisle would ask that question on cross examination if given the opportunity. can you imagine, mr. chairman? can you imagine a pattern where somebody takes the stand and
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says i didn't rob the bank but i'm not going to answer why my fingerprints are on the demand note and i'm not going to tell you why i'm on the surveillance footage with a gun in my hand and i'm not going to tell you why the dye pack blew up in in my car. that is not the way our system works. you have to answer the other side's questions. i think these questions are fair. the tea party is very dangerous. dangerous to whom? whom, ms. lerner? who thinkers this dangerous? you? tirs? dangerous in what way? we need a vehicle to get back to court. who is we? why do you want to get back to court? could it heaven forbid because you don't like citizens united? is that possibly is explanation? mr. chairman, she said cincinnati should not have these cases, but then she turned around and said cincinnati was to blame.
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that's an inconsistent statement. every lawyer on that side of the aisle would ask her to explain that inconsistency. everyone. so why can't we? if this is not waiver, can someone please explain to me on the other side what fact pattern constitutes waiver? if you can make 17 separate factual assertions and authenticate a document and say i have done nothing wrong, which is about as broad as any testimony can possibly get. i've done nothing wrong. i've broken no laws. honestly what testimony could be broader than that? necessarily, our cross examination could be equally broad and it would be in a courtroom. your e did you use mail? that is a fair question.
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how many times did you use your personal email? when you mused about applying for a job with an organization connected with the president, were you kidding, ms. lerner or were you serious? we know you were contemplating retirement. were you seriously going to work? i know my time is up. the same constitution that allows her the right if she wants to to sit there and say nothing allows thees groups to petition their government for redress. >> i appreciate the gentleman. gentleman's time is expired. who seeks recognition? mr. cartwright. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i would like to join in the ranking member cummings' objecting to this resolution. not because we don't want to hear from lois lerner. we do. i join mr. gowdy in saying i would love to have a crack at cross examining her myself.
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but i object to this. it is a trample on individual rights, something that we are sworn to uphold and protect in this country. the chairman referred to mccarthyism and several members here today have done that. you know, a lot of people in the united states were not born when joe mccarthy was running around half cocked as he did trumping up charges against individuals that they were communists and plotting to conspire against the united states government, holding up lists and claiming to have their names in his hands, piecing together random bits of information cherry picked from this source or that source. that is what he did and mr. chairman, that was a national embarrassment. it was a national embarrassment.
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you know, there are a lot of reasons people want to come to this nation from all over the world. because principlely, because we are the bright, shining beacon this country. we can't just make that a tornadoes from for lip service. to make liberty real we have to have civil rights in this country. that was the dream for our founders. that's why they cooked up the bill of rights. sometimes i agree with mr. gowdy, we don't like it when they assert the fifth amendment because a lot of times the people who make that assertion are not the model boy of the village. we get that. but it is a right that we cherish here in the united states because it prevents things like what mr. connolly was referring to, the star chamber, where people would be dragged in, tortured, forced to
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testify against themselves and then incarcerated because of that. we didn't like that when it happened and we don't like it now. a i want to say, this is bill of rights brought up by our founding fathers, but it is a bill of rights that since then, brave men and women in this nation have fought, bled and died for. it is not something lightly to be tossed away just because we're mad at an i.r.s. employee. and so i join in the ranking member's objection to this proceeding today and i also want to meet mr. gowdy's challenge when he says can you imagine a situation? we don't have to imagine a situation where somebody invoked the fifth amendment after making a brief statement. that happened during the mccarthy er nanch the united tates versus hohe.
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during a hearing on august 5, 1954. senator mccarthy repeatedly questioned a lady from new york near buffalo, diana hogh. she was a coil winder at westing house company. she made $1.71 an hour. she professed her innocence just the way lois lerner did and then declined to answer subscent questions. in response to questioning from senator mccarthy, she stated i have never engaged in espionage nor sabotage. i will not so engage. i will not so engage in the future. i'm not a spy nor a saboteur. like chairman issa here, senator mccarthy concluded that his witness had waved her fifth amendment rights dsh waived her fifth amendment rights.
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explained to her that she had waived her fifth amendment rights and then she was brought up for criminal prosecution. that prosecution was thrown out n court and that is in the precedence. there is precedence for this and there is a procedural defect because it was not demanded of lois lerner that she answered the questions despite her assertion to have fifth amendment. so this is not a conviction that could be held up in court no matter how much anybody wants it to. i don't fault -- i know the chairman is not a lawyer and i don't fault him for an imperfect understanding of the law but you don't need to be a lawyer in this country to understand fairness. >> the gentleman's time is expired under the jefferson rules. we now go to the gentleman from michigan. >> i thank the chairman. it is a process worth continuing. it is a process that sadly has
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been hampered all along the way and then today, we hear a series of talking points, talking points that i think move away from what the real issue is. and that is fact that we deserve to have on this committee to carry out to responsibilities that have been given to us under oath of office were not given. now there are lawyers in the room on both sides. there are lawyers in courtrooms on both sides. there is disagreements on what the law says. what the constitution means all the time. but in this committee, it is our responsibility to carry out the authority of the oversight of every agency, every program, every department, every bureaucrat, if necessary, of government, to make sure that the people are being served well. talking points only go so far. reality is the concern here and when we had a person who, as my
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colleague from south carolina said so adequately, gave a defense and then was unwilling to be cross examined, we have a problem. this government is unique. and we would not forget the purpose of the people's house. that this committee works for. alexander hamilton said here the people govern. we are the people's representatives. and people are asking questions on why they as normal law-abiding citizens that had political beliefs, were being targeted. they deserve those answers. we are the people's representatives. thomas jefferson said when the people fear their government, there is t tyranny. when the government fears the
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people, there is liberty. how in the world can we reverse that to the point where the government does fear the people and have a nonelected bureaucrat targeted by the record, targeted individual citizens for their political beliefs and get away with it? how can we carry out the advice of thomas jemp and finally, mr. chairman, john adams said liberty lost once is liberty lost forever. we run that risk if an i.r.s. bureaucrat can strike fear in the hearts and minds and actions of people so they won't even use their first amendment liberties without worries that their names will be taken down. we have a problem. and that problem is a loss of liberty. so mr. chairman, i applaud you for continuing this process with all sorts of pill falls in the way and all -- pitfalls in the
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way and all sorts of hurdles in the way we the people's house remember that we serve the people. we represent the people. they deserve the answer. the bureaucracy ought to respond to them and not the other way around. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. who seeks recognition? mr. davis. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> mr. davis, i apologize. ok. mr. davis is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. like many of us, i soy on two committees and i serve on the committee of ways and means and yesterday of course we made a criminal refefrl of ms. learner to the justice department by the ways and means committee which i voted against. i voted against it because i felt that it was nothing more han a stunt.
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to promote the house republicans political narrative. the justice department has already conducted a criminal investigation of ms. lerner and the i.r.s.'s conduct identified in the may 2013 inspector general's report and the department already has access to the sensitive taxpayer information released yesterday by ways and means. if this referle as my republican -- referal was intended to draw the department's attention to certain key documents, chairman kemp could have done it privately, but he did not. he made a public spectacle of it the day before our vote on contempt. ranking member levin explained that the last time ways and means took an unprecedented step
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of making sensitive tax return information public, was back in 1974. in an audit of president nixon's tax returns. so in the course of two days, the ways and means committee harkened back to the day s of nixon when it released sensitive information and our committee will take a mccarthy era as many people have already indicated, contempt vote. it is my feeling that these partisan public spectacles erode the credibility of this house and it gives people more cause to wonder if the house is really looking for the information that all of us talk about or are we playing politics with each other and the american public?
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i think the justice department is fully capable of doing its ob of doing its work, of ferreting out the information that is needed and i think we ought to let them do it and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back. we go back to the gentleman from arizona, mr. gosar. >> thank you. i would like to say that although my friends across the aisle have accused the party in a witch-hunt. the commoned a sadge facts are stubborn things. all one must do is reflect on to the facts to know this investigation is about asserting what happened. let's analyze the facts. we know that lois lerner has a history of favoring liberal groups over conservative groups. a bias. i would like to place into the record an article outlining such of these instances.
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we have documents with phrase like i'm really thinking we need to do a c-4 project next year and we need to have a plan so it is not per se a political project. we know that ms. lerner sent official i.r.s. emails to her own official email account which is a violation of i.r.s. rules and we also know she may have broken federal law by disclosing sensitive tax return information. she wanted to avoid litigation because as she put it, if it goes to litigation, all details are public. no guessing needed. so it seems ms. lerner wished to stay away from litigation of court to keep all of these issues from becoming public. this could be the same motive she used when withholding information from congress. we also know she lied or misled this committee on numerous
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accounts. we asked whether the criteria ion had uated tax exempt change. she said it hasn't but it has. it was not out of the ordinary in may, that also was refuted. in fact, the 48-year-old veteran of the i.r.s. said he never once had seen such application go to the chief counsel's office. steve miller told us that the i.r.s. was under "tremendous pressure from senator carl levin to implement new regulations." why would the committee seize the efforts to get to the truth? why should it? our job to get the american people answers. without ms. lerner use full cooperation and without immunity, neither this committee
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nor the american public will have the answers it needs from this government. we ask the department of justice to take her to court for targeting these groups and disclosing taxpayer obligations, which is a felony. after going over these steps and the facts, i would like to ask my colleagues across the aisle to tell me how it is that you can argue that we conclude this investigation? is it because the president says so? is it because ranking member cummings says so? how about attorney generic holder? is it because there is a piece f evidence absolves her? if this is this strule a waste of time, prove it to us and we can move on. until then, i recommend to my friends across the aisle quite crying foul. when get to the bottom of this, i hope there will be no one on
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days. er side of the i do not find pleasure of holding eric holder in contempt. i do not enjoy holding any federal official in contempt. the situation a lose-lugse lose situation for all citizen, regardless of political beliefs. it is our job to proceed. actions have consequences. i'm simply a believer in the rule of law and specifically this oversight committee to ensure that the federal government operate ns a manner that the public sees fit. our government and in this case, the i.r.s. and the justice department are in a sad state of affairs. institutions granted authority by the people to serve and protect people. not abuse them. i support the chairman in his pursuit of justice and "able government.
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i support the resolution holding ms. lerner in contempt. i yield back. >> we have been advised the next round of votes will be together to vote. therefore i will continue the hearing as long as possible. recess in order to let people make both votes and return immediately following the second vote if they call two votes. with that, the gentleman from assachusetts, mr. tierney is called. >> somehow, we turned a very unsympathetic figure to somebody who has become the focal point as to whether or not her constitutional rights have been violated. everybody on this committee wanted to hear her testimony and get to the bottom of the facts in this matter. now at best we're going to get delayed and maybe prevented from
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getting that information at all. that is an injustice done to the e -- committee and people who run this committee. like my colleague, i suspect if the chairman is not a lawyer, he cannot be held responsible for knowing how these legal matters are set up. the time was not after the fact when the house counsel was put in the position of defending who is going to be their client down the road. when it looked like these things were going to become an issue if, that is the case, we would have known whether numerous impartial experts the tell us she did not waive her fifth amendment rights. beyond that, it is clear that after chairman issa failed to follow the minimal procedure safeguards, we're now this situation. the experts are clear. at no point was the witness directed to answer and accordingly no prosecution -- so
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that is a sad situation. worse than that is having botched the process. early on also botched an opportunity to get a proffer what she would have said if she were granted immunity. i know that was raised last may. after doing that, the ranking members said wait a minute, let's talk to proffer and see whether or not granting immunity would make sense before we deprive this committee of all of its responsibilities here and all of its evidences on that and then that was botched. now we're into this indefinite delay and problem that we have. if this committee is once again of noto the public light agenting the wait should professionally and responsibly on that basis. l the -- that has become a public perception. that is unfortunate. we are on this committee because
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we believe the work can be done and we get to the bottom of the facts regardless of who is in the white house. it is our job as congress to ake sure that every agency and department carries out the law. we should be protecting congress. the people's house and making sure those things are done. let me just tell you what the public perception is out there as an example of some of the publications. without putting too fine a point on the promise -- on the premise , it echoes joe mccarthy's insurance that he had maybes to prove to congress and president eisenhower's state department. if there is a white house link let's see it before insisting it is there. that is the chicago tribune. there is a lot quotings that i'm even on the record. the transcripts would give the
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public an idea of what is going on. . issa's investigation resembles joseph mccarthy's -- to stop people he thinks are destroying temperature spifment he has accuse people of not having conclusive facts. only his views are voiced in the committee. another quote to to a campaign of innuendo and half truths. he has smeared one of the world's most efficient tax agencies. he has conducted a series of hearings, a witch hunt of i.r.s. employees which has not been seen since mccarthy in the 1950's. did not release the portions that rebut that flawed theory. the g.o.p's chief congressional investigator into internal ref
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knew abuses cherry picked evidence and overstated his case. do you hear's echo? his or joe mccarthy with list of 205 names. issa should note the difference between investigation and witch-hunt. too often the former has turned into the latter. he now that is whip in his hand and the investigative power, as we have so many times in american history seen it can be grossly abused. i have more. >> if you had more time, i'm sure you would use it. we now go to the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have consistently listened to the representations of my colleagues on the other side invoking mccarthy. i want to be clear. mccarthy was acting in a manner in which he was challenging the beliefs of other people.
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here, we are not challenging the belief s of other people. we are challenging the actions, the alleged actions of lois lerner in which she used the forces of her governmental agency to impact the civil rights and beliefs of american citizens and that is a distinction. the issue here is really quite simple. apart from all the politics. e are making fundamental legal analysis. the question isn't whether it has been invoked many times whether she is being denied her right to the fifth amendment. the question is whether she waved that right. and i -- waived that right. i submit, the answer is unambiguous. this is not an unto fist indicated woman. she testified she herself is an attorney who came before this committee with very learned
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counsel. she chose to make an opening statement which among other things, she proclaims she had done nothing wrong. she had broken no laws. not violated any i.r.s. rules or regulations. not provided false testimony before any other congressional committee. she waived her fifth amendment privilege by providing voluntary opening statements in which she testified to matters before this committee. it is that simple. and that is the question we are asking. she submitted to a lengthy interview at the department of justice without immunity. but will not testify before this committee because as my colleague, mr. meadows pointed out, her attorney asserts she is fearful of being vilified. s that is not a standard which allows one to refuse to come
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before this committee. third, there is a line of questions being raised by my learned friends on the other side suggesting the case stands for the principle that she has been denied a right before this committee. the simple principle to have quinn case is clear. it relates to whether a witness has been clearly apprised that this committee was demanding answers, not withstanding the witness' objections. whether she has to -- and make a choice about what the committee is requesting of her. that is the quinn -- the trilogy that follow it. in this case, there is no ambiguity. learner wasn't forced to guess what the committee's ruling was. she was left to -- left us to guess at nothing. her own attorney acknowledged that she understood the committee voted that she had
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waived her rights. the quinn case is entirely unrelated to this issue. therefore, simple conclusions can be braun drawn. there is no constitutional pediment to this committee resolution this recommends the full house hold ms. lerner in contempt. i conclude by stating the simple facts br before us. mrs. lerner refused to comply with a congressional speen. -- subpoena. shird, she offered a voluntary statement in appearances before this committee. fourth, this committee determined that she waived her fifth amendment priver. fifth, ms. lerner was clearly informed of this decision and still ms. lerner continues to
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refuse to testify before this committee. i submit to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. all constitutional impediments have been removed. it is a clear, simple question before us. ms. lerner should be held in contempt. i recommend that my colleagues on both sides of the committee will vote accordingly. >> i thank gentleman. we go to the gentlelady from new mexico. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i'm going to yield my time to the ranking member. >> thank you for yielding. mr. chairman, i would like to letters.the record two over the last week, i received two letters from the chairman making allegations against me that were unsubstantiated.
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one was i was insisting on immunity for ms. lerner when in fact i was trying obtain a proffer. and that i conspired with the i.r.s. and the documents showed that we were requesting public information. i ask unanimous consent to place into the record my true responses of those letters regarding to the vote and the one i sent this morning. >> without objection both the letters to you and both the letters from you will be placed in the record. >> i yield to the gentleman. >> thank you. >> the gentlelady yield to the gentleman from nevada? >> i do. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i oppose this resolution by chairman issa. you know what? i have tried to listen every day. we have had a hearing on this to
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my colleague the other side. i have listened to the witnesses who came forward to offer testimony with an empathetic ear because they feel that they were affected by the targeting to have i.r.s., but my colleagues on the other side, i think you may have misplaced the blame here. the only reason we haven't been able to get the truth from lois lerner is because of one person. and that is our chairman. the chairman has refused for more than nine months to hold any hearings with any legal experts to discuss these issues. demonstrating that he simply does not want to hear from anyone who disagrees with his position. the chairman has refused to hear from any democratic members of this committee and even cut off the mic of the ranking member
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and abruptly ended the hearing. the chairman refused to let ms. lerner's attorney speak as a proffer for her. the chairman failed to grant seven additional days to her attorney, which he requested to prepare his client. instead the chairman scuttled that offer from ms. lerner and now we're dealing with the situation where she invoked her fifth amendment. like many of you, i want to hear from lois lerner. i want to get the facts. but because of the manner in which the investigation has been handled by our chairman, we can't get those facts. so if my colleagues want to hold someone in contempt, maybe they should look to the person holding the gavel. since it is poor handling of this investigation that has resulted in why we can't get the truth that the people deserve.
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this resolution does nothing to get the truth for those who feel that they were targeted or the public who deserves an oversight committee to act in a fair and impartial and professional manner. unfortunately this has not been the case since day one of this investigation and i regrets it because the american people deserve better. the committee has interviewed 39 witnesses, reviewed more than 50,000 pagesor documents and the i.r.s. has spent at least $14 million so far and there is absolutely zero evidence to support the chairman's accusations that ms. lerner orchestrated any i.r.s. targeting and some of the questions that my colleagues and i would like her to answer can't be answered because of the manner in which the chairman ran this investigation. i don't like the fact that ms.
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lerner invoked her fifth amendment rights. but we as a committee must respect the constitutional rights of all citizens, including those of ms. lerner. so i would hope that my colleagues would understand that there are those of us who want to get to the truth. we just expect the leadership of this committee, the chairman, to allow us to do that in a, impartial, professional manner and that didn't happen in this case. >> we now go to the gentleman from tennessee. before you begin, there are 8:55 left on the vote. i will intend to do one more if there is anyone on the minority side before recessing. we will come back immediately following the second vote. gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. folks, this investigation is
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about much more than punishing those who have done wrong at the i.r.s. and frankly, it is much more about constituteny that those conservative groups received from a government agency. this investigation is about preserving our democracy. the integrity of our democratic election system and the first amendment of the united states constitution. imagine just for a moment that a president and an administration in this nation that utilizes systematic power through an agency or department to suppress its political opposition. imagine that such actions altered an election. such an occurrence should be extremely unsettling no matter what party is in power. lerner's ms. testimony, this committee and this investigation cannot uncover the whole truth which at
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this point resembles these aforementioned acts. the focal point of this investigation is to prohibit, given the i.r.s. political suppression from ever occurring again. just for a moment, i would like to reread the mission statement that chairman issa does at the beginning of every hearing. we exist to secure to fundamental principles. first americans have to right to know that the money washington takes from them is well spent and second, americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them. our duty on the oversight government reform committee is to protect these rights. our solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to taxpayers because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their dwovet government. we will work tirelessly to deliver the facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy.
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without lois lerner's testimony, this committee and this investigation are at a standstill. the american people are unable to ascertain their right to know what they have got frontline their government. and many -- gotten from their government. many questions still remain. ms. lerner claims she has done no wrong and she claims if she testifies she will not incriminate herself. there is the question weather whether she waived her fifth amount rights when she first appeared before the committee. i believe lick my colleague, mr. duncan can, her action is set. if every dependent claimed innocence and then proceeded to plead the fifth, investigations and testimony would never be able to proceed. every defendant would follow such action and our judicial process would come to a standstill. i hope that this committee and every single member will do everything in its power to seek the truth.
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ms. lerner's test ceremony essential to this end and believable the this committee has given her and her counsel ample opportunity to come faurd and avoid contempt -- forward and avoid contempt charges. if not, we have no choice but to hold her in contempt so this investigation can give american people what they want, the truth, and for the sake of this republic, i hope we give them just that. yield back. >> i thank gentleman. since we have no further individuals asking for recognition at this time, but i'm -- i understand there will lummis, turning, ms. do you wish to be heard at this time? >> i wish to be awarded my time and choose to yield it to another member. >> so we will -- then we will recess until approximately five minutes after the second vote.
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not after it ends. after it begins. e stand in recess. >> the committee will come to order. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from vermont. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from vermont. is it a different state? does gentleman seek recognition? >> i don't, but i'll take it. >> it is always good to be here. >> if you want to move the previous question. you're welcome. would the gentleman like to reserve? >> i will yield. >> the gentleman yields to a ranking member. >> thank you. i appreciate the effort, mr. chairman.
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>> i thank gentleman for yielding. you know, we have heard a lot of iscussion today. i was - ms. lerner and listening to mr. duncan, who i have a tremendous amount of respect for. and as he talked about the whole coming in and making a statement and then asserting their rights under the fifth amendment. and you know, i don't think the founding fathers were about the business of a gotcha type of situation. rights are very special things.
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they are, as the chairman said when he began this hearing, i have a respect for him saying it. that this situation should not be taken lightly. and i think that, you know, every time i sit in hearings like this, i have to try and the sure that i get past politics and try to figure out, number one, what is right and i also think about how we will >> there has been a lot of discussion about all of the wrong that ms. lerner did. i want to be clear. i would love to hear her testimony. i would love to hear even some of the answers to the things that my good friend en


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