Former IRS official Lois Lerner, who headed up the division that targeted Tea Party groups, took the Fifth again today during her second appearance before the House Oversight Committee, refusing to answer any questions.
It’s not that she absolutely refuses to testify. She’s haggling with the committee over whether she can get immunity for her remarks and perhaps make them in a private deposition instead of in public. Apparently it didn’t work out.
Anyway, House Speaker John Boehner threatened to hold her in contempt.
“I’ll wait for a report from [House Oversight] Chairman [Darrell] Issa about what happened and what will happen, but at some point … she has to testify or she should be held in contempt,” Boehner said.
Here she is, refusing to testify.
And that’s when the fun really began.
When Oversight ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) tried to speak up, committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) cut his mike. Cummings was supposed to be asking a question, but he then he tried to make a statement.
As Issa short-circuited his performance, Cummings had a conniption, erupting about the ruination of the republic and so forth.
Here’s the transcript, as provided by Roll Call.
CUMMINGS: Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this. You just cannot do this. We are better than that as a country. We are better than that as a committee.
I don’t care but the fact is I am asking a question. I am the ranking member of the committee and I want to ask a question.
What are we hiding? What’s the big deal. May I ask my question? May I make my statement?
ISSA: You are all free to leave, we’ve adjourned, but the gentleman may ask his question.
CUMMINGS: Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, I have one procedural question, and it goes to trying to help you get the information by the way that you just asked.
ISSA: What is your question?
CUMMINGS: No, let me say what I have to say. I’ve listened to you for the last 15 or 20 minutes. Let me say what I have to say. Chairman, I have one procedural question.
ISSA: Ms. Lerner, you’re adj — you’re released — you may …
CUMMINGS: But first, I would like to use my time to make some brief points. For the past year, the central Republican accusation …
ISSA: We’re adjourned, close it down. …Thank you.
CUMMINGS (mic cut off): … in this investigation (garbled) …
DEMOCRATS: Shame, shame
CUMMINGS: … Before our committee read a single document or interviewed one witness Chairman Issa went on national television (crosstalk) the president’s political enemies effectively and lied about it during an election year. He continued this theme on Sunday …
ISSA: Mr. Cummings … Mr. Cummings, what is your question?
CUMMINGS: If you will sit down and allow me to ask a question …
Here’s the video.