Issa: I'll Consider Immunity for Lois Lerner

Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014 09:38 PM

By Greg Richter

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House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa says he's willing to consider immunity for former IRS official Lois Lerner, but he wants to know what she plans to say first.

"If she were willing to proffer through her attorney that she would tell us something meaningful, disclose how these crimes were committed, how they sought to and who sought to go after conservative groups because of their values, then we could, and I would … have a vote to grant her immunity," Issa said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor." 

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But Issa said that South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, has warned him never to grant immunity without a proffer of what the witness will say.

"She has offered only that she is innocent and misunderstood," Issa said. "We've referred criminal charges from Congress because she's not misunderstood. We understood her pretty well."

Lerner is the former IRS official in the middle of the investigation of allegations that the agency targeted conservative groups for added scrutiny when they sought tax-exempt status.

Issa told O'Reilly that Congress has referred four criminal charges against Lerner and held her in contempt, putting the ball in Attorney General Eric Holder's court.

If Holder would charge her, then Congress could offer her immunity from prosecution, Issa said. But Republicans say Holder, an appointee of President Barack Obama, is more interested in his allegiance to the president than to investigating wrongdoing that favored Obama's re-election chances.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has called Holder "the most partisan attorney general the country has ever had."

Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, who also sits on the House Oversight Committee, told Newsmax that Lerner should be granted immunity, but he echoed Issa's concern that she first should give an indication of what she will say.

"Right now," Issa told O'Reilly, Lerner "doesn't fear the Justice Department of President Obama and Eric Holder."

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