IRS House hearing: Lois Lerner pleads the Fifth (LIVE VIDEO)


Internal Revenue Service Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner is sworn in before testifying to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee May 22, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee is investigating allegations that the IRS targeted conservative non-profit organizations with the words "tea party" and "constitution" in their names for additional scrutiny. Lerner, who headed the division that oversees exempt organizations, plans to assert her constitutional right not to answer questions.


Chip Somodevilla

Lois Lerner, the head of the Internal Revenue Service's tax exempt organizations branch, told a House committee on Wednesday that she did nothing wrong as the person leading the IRS division during the time the agency targeted conservative groups.

After asserting her innocence in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Lerner exercised her Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, refusing to answer further questions.

"I know some people will assume I have done something wrong. I have not," she said, according to USA Today. "I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules and regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee."

The House panel is on its second straight day of hearings to investigate the IRS' targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. Committee members want to know from Lerner how the IRS developed a list of Tea Party groups to watch, how she learned about the surveillance and why she did not inform Congress directly of the situation.

The committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, was informed in advance that Lerner would plead the Fifth.

On Tuesday, the committee's spokesman, Ali Ahmad, said, "The committee has been contacted by Ms. Lerner’s lawyer, who stated that his client intended to invoke her Fifth Amendment right and refuse to answer questions," according to The New York Times.

Watch the proceedings below: