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House panel votes to hold IRS official in contempt

WASHINGTON (AP) - A House Committee has voted to hold a former Internal Revenue Service official in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions at a pair of hearings.
   
The official, Lois Lerner, previously headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. Last May, after providing an opening statement, she refused to answer questions at a House Oversight Committee hearing about IRS agents improperly singling out tea party applications for extra scrutiny. She again refused to answer questions at hearing in March.
   
The Oversight Committee voted Thursday to hold her in contempt. Committee chairman Darrell Issa said Lerner had effectively waived her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions by providing an opening statement at the 2013 hearing.
   
Lerner's lawyer and Democrats on the committee disagree.