Tags: irs | lerner | demands | immunity

IRS' Lois Lerner Demands Immunity For Her Testimony

Image: IRS' Lois Lerner Demands Immunity For Her Testimony

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Wednesday, 03 Jul 2013 02:10 PM

IRS official Lois Lerner has a price for her testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee: Immunity.

"They can obtain her testimony by doing it the easy way … immunity," her attorney, William Taylor told Politico Tuesday.

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Earlier in the day, the committee passed a resolution declaring Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights on May 22, when she delivered a statement denying she did anything wrong before she refused to answer questions that could incriminate her, reports Human Events.

The committee vote was along a straight 22-17 party line split, with House Democrats disagreeing that she should have to testify about her role in one of the largest scandals to hit the Obama administration to date.

And while the committee agreed that Lerner, the former head of the IRS department that has admitted targeting tea party and other conservative groups applying for tax exempt status, should testify, Taylor said he doubts a full House will vote to hold her in contempt for refusing to testify.

“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.”

The committee says Lerner, who remains on administrative leave after she refused to resign, is now obligated to answer its questions.

“The committee is entitled to Ms. Lerner’s full and truthful testimony without further conditions,” said panel spokesman Frederick Hill. However, he said the panel is willing to listen to a plea for limited immunity in the case.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who is helping oversee the investigation on the IRS, said the panel still hopes Lerner will appear before the committee on her own and "gives us the truth and answers questions.

Jordan said it's too soon to think about whether Lerner could face contempt charges, but if Lerner comes in and asserts her Fifth Amendment rights again, "then you think about what the other options are."

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

Republicans on the Oversight Committee haven't decided when to call Lerner in.
If contempt charges are indeed filed, the matter will go to a federal judge, said Taylor. Criminal charges head to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and are not determined before Congress.

If the court finds Lerner didn't waive her rights, "then it's over," said Taylor. "And if the court finds that she did and orders her testify, then she goes to testify. There is no danger under any circumstances of her going to jail."

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