Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was applauded at a congressional hearing Wednesday, after he objected to Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth Amendment and refusing to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
After invoking her right to avoid self-incrimination, Lerner, the head of the tax-exempt division of the IRS, was dismissed from the hearing, which is examining the agency’s inappropriate targeting of conservative groups.
After giving a brief opening statement — in which she said she did nothing wrong — then refusing to answer any questions, Lerner was dismissed by Committee Chairman Darryl Issa (R-Calif.), who said he had “no choice” but to respect her constitutional right.
“Mr. [Elijah] Cummings [D-Md.] said we should run this like a courtroom, and I agree with him. She just testified,” Gowdy said. “She just waived her Fifth Amendment right to privilege, you don’t get to tell your side of the story then not be subjected to cross examination.
“That’s not the way it works.
“She waived her right to Fifth Amendment privilege by issuing an opening statement,” he said. “She ought to stand here and answer our questions.”