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Justice Department Lets Lois Lerner Off the Hook, Won't Pursue Criminal Contempt Charges

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"...this administration has no interest..."

Internal Revenue Service Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner listens during testimony 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. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

The Department of Justice informed House Republican leaders on Wednesday that it will not prosecute former IRS employee Lois Lerner for contempt of Congress, after she refused to testify about her role in the IRS targeting scandal.

Republicans had argued that Lerner should face criminal contempt charges, after she read a statement to Congress saying she was innocent, and then invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify any further for fear that she might incriminate herself. Many Republicans argued that in a courtroom, her reading of an opening statement would mean she waived her right to invoke the Fifth Amendment, and therefore had to answer questions afterwards.

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