IRS Official Seeks Immunity Before Testifying on Scandal

RS official Lois Lerner RS official Lois Lerner Carolyn Kaster/AP

Lois Lerner, the executive at the center of the Internal Revenue Service scandal over mishandling of conservatives’ applications for tax-exempt status, will refuse to testify to Congress absent a grant of immunity from prosecution.

In an interview with Politico published late Tuesday, Lerner’s attorney, William W. Taylor III, said, “They can obtain her testimony tomorrow by doing it the easy way … immunity. That’s the way to resolve all of this.”

Last Friday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines to approve a resolution declaring that Lerner had “waived” her Fifth Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination on May 22, when she prefaced her invocation of the right with four sentences declaring her innocence. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was not specific about his next step.

“None of this matters,” Lerner’s attorney told Politico. “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.”

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