Lois Lerner, the IRS employee at the center of the controversy over the agency’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, wants immunity before she will testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:
Embattled IRS official Lois Lerner will not testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee unless she’s given immunity from prosecution, her lawyer told POLITICO Tuesday.
“They can obtain her testimony tomorrow by doing it the easy way … immunity,” William W. Taylor III said in a phone interview. “That’s the way to resolve all of this.”
Taylor, a founding partner of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, is even shrugging off the possibility that the full House might vote to hold Lerner in contempt.
“None of this matters,” he said. “I mean, nobody likes to be held in contempt of Congress, of course, but the real question is one that we’re fairly confident about, and I don’t think any district judge in the country would hold that she waived.”
Lerner refused to testify during a May 22nd hearing before the committee, invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself, but not before declaring her innocence in her opening statement. That move has led to questions over whether Lerner, who was placed on administrative leave after her appearance before the committee, waived her rights.
It has been suggested by some members of Congress, including Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that Lerner lied in previous testimony about the IRS’s targeting of these conservative groups.
In a party line vote last Friday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee determined that Lerner did waive her rights. If she still refuses to testify, Lerner could find herself facing contempt charges.