Lois Lerner says she's "done nothing wrong" and hasn't "broken any laws." And she says she hasn't provided any false information to Congress.

Lois Lerner (Getty Images)

But that is about all that Lerner is willing to say. She otherwise invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and refused to answer questions from a House panel looking into the IRS targeting of conservative groups. Lerner oversees the IRS office that handles applications for tax-exempt status.

Nine minutes into the hearing, Lerner was excused. The panel's chairman, Republican congressman Darrell Issa of California, said she might be recalled. He said he might explore whether she would testify later if given some immunity.

Issa and other members of the committee weren't pleased with her decision not to testify. Even before she spoke, Democrat Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts warned the witnesses that their refusal to cooperate would result eventually in the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Lerner is the IRS official who revealed the agency's targeting two weeks ago and apologized for it.


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