Yesterday on Fox News Sunday House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa announced Lois Lerner, former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS, would be back in front of Congress this week to testify about the inappropriate targeting of conservative, tea party and patriot groups. Issa cited Lerner's attorney, William Taylor, as the source of confirmation of her agreement to testify on Wednesday, March 5.
Shortly after that appearance, Taylor told POLITICO an agreement Lerner would testify was not made, that he didn't know where Issa was coming from and that Lerner would continue to plead the Fifth.
“As of now, she intends to continue to assert her Fifth Amendment rights,” Taylor said. “I do not know why Issa said what he said.”
Emails show otherwise and indicate a willingness by Lerner to wave her Fifth Amendment rights. In an email dated Saturday March 1 at 3:10 p.m., less than 24 hours before Issa's announcement on Fox News, Taylor confirmed Lerner would be willing to testify, but wanted a one week delay. The emails also show an agreement to testify came without a guarantee of immunity. What isn't clear in the email exchange is whether Taylor agreed Lerner would testify in front of a public hearing or to the Committee behind closed doors as part of a deposition.
"As a general practice, the Oversight Committee does not disclose discussions with representatives of private citizens about possible public testimony," Oversight Committee spokeswoman Becca Watkins tells Townhall. "In the case of Ms. Lerner, correspondence is being made available to set the record straight on offers made by her attorney about her willingness to testify and answer questions without any grant of immunity."
Lerner was subpoenaed last year after admitting the IRS targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny. She has a legal obligation to show up to the public hearing on Wednesday, but it is unclear if she is legally obligated to answer questions.
This post has been updated.
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her new book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, will be published on July 8, 2014.|
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