Steven Miller got grilled a second time Tuesday for his involvement with the IRS scandal that unfairly targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, and as of today, it’s Lois Lerner’s turn in the hot seat. Lois Lerner heads the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt division. Only things might not be so hot for her in the hot seat – she can always plead the fifth.
That is exactly what her lawyer, William W. Taylor III, told committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., that Lerner would not reveal anything self-incriminating. He even suggested Issa dismiss her entirely from the hearing, giving that she plans to stay mum on certain issues.
But Issa wasn’t having it. She is, after all, under subpoena to appear, and “Chairman Issa remains hopeful that she will ultimately decide to testify tomorrow about her knowledge of outrageous IRS targeting of Americans for their political beliefs,” said committee spokesman Ali Ahmed in a statement, as reported by Fox News.
So speaking or not, she’s going. She plans on remaining silent over two issues: first, what she knew about the intensified levels of scrutiny applied to conservative nonprofit organizations, something that’s been going on since 2010; and second, why she didn’t disclose what she knew to Congress.
After all, different Republican constituents were wondering why their groups were taking so long to be processed by the IRS.
Her lawyer Taylor said that Lerner “Has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation,” as his letter to Issa says, according to MailOnline, “but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course.”
The circumstances referred to have to do with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee seeking a person willing to take actual responsibility for the scandalous practices of targeting certain partisan groups in IRS vetting. Whether they will find somebody to hang it on is uncertain. Though Steven Miller was willing to apologize Tuesday and admit regret for the incident, nobody has claimed ownership of it.
Lerner, for one, claims that the increase in scrutiny for such groups as those that had the name “Tea Party” or “Patriot” was simply a reaction to a larger number of such groups applying, and that this was following the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’ ruling. The Washington Post has called this a false claim, however, awarding it “four Pinocchios” for dishonesty.
Though Steven Miller was dismissed from his post, it is unclear at this point whether Lerner is under a similar threat of losing her position.