Embattled IRS official Lois Lerner may have exerted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when testifying before the House Oversight Committee, but Republican officials are now saying her opening comments on Wednesday have negated that ability.
Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, R-Ill., a member of the committee, said Lerner telling the committee that she had “done nothing wrong” in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups was a “big mistake.”
“I think she forfeited her right, in so far as her claim that she didn’t lie to Congress,” Roskam said on Thursday’s The Daily Rundown. “That was a grievous error. Either she didn’t listen to her lawyer or her lawyer gave her very bad advice”
Roskam said he was surprised at Lerner’s opening comments, especially given the broad scope of her statement.
“It’s incredible to me that she actually did that because you can imagine almost anything that’s relevant to this inquiry falling within that scope,” said Roskam.
While some members of Congress have implied that the IRS scandal may lead back to the White House, Roskam said he didn’t believe that was the case.
“There’s no evidence that [the IRS scandal] leads to the Oval Office,” said Roskam. “I think this is the situation we need to be very careful and get the facts out and not come to conclusions and speculations before the facts speak for themselves.”