IRS Figure at Center of Scandal Will Take the Fifth

Lois Lerner is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill tomorrow

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 21, 2013 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – She is probably the IRS official most closely linked to the agency's recent mess, but Lois Lerner plans to reveal nothing when she testifies on Capitol Hill tomorrow, reports Politico. The attorney for Lerner, who oversees the IRS nonprofits division, says his client will invoke the Fifth when she goes in front of a House panel. Lerner is the one who first acknowledged the singling out of conservative groups, and she helped orchestrate the planted question that brought the scandal to light in odd fashion.

“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” says the letter to panel chief Darrell Issa, reports the LA Times. It requests that Lerner be allowed to skip the hearing as a result—because it would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her"—but that doesn't appear likely. Also today:

  • Former IRS chief Douglas Shulman took his turn in front of Congress and said he first learned of the scandal in spring 2012, but said he deliberately held off on telling his bosses at Treasury or Congress, reports AP. "I had a partial set of facts, and I knew that the inspector general was going to be looking into it, and I knew that it was being stopped. Sitting there then and sitting here today, I think I made the right decision, which is to let the inspector general get to the bottom of it, chase down all the facts and then make his findings public."

Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller listens at left as former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testifies on Capitol Hill Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
File photo of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee conducting a hearing.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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