Last week we were told by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa that Lois Lerner, former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS, would be recalled to testify this week about the improper targeting of conservative, tea party and patriot groups. Issa reassured Lerner would testify during an appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday. Now, despite being issue a subpoena, Lerner's attorney is telling POLITICO she will not testify and will continue to exercise her right to plead the 5th as she did last summer when called to testify about the scandal.
That attorney, William W. Taylor, said Issa is wrong.
“As of now, she intends to continue to assert her Fifth Amendment rights,” Taylor told POLITICO. “I do not know why Issa said what he said.”
For months there have been rumblings of Lerner demanding immunity in exchange for her testimony, despite saying under oath she has, "done nothing wrong." Earlier this morning Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz stated that Lerner's testimony and response to a subpoena is not negotiable.
"She knows a lot about this case. We have issued a subpoena. We have voted on this, this is not an optional activity. We're not giving her immunity, she's going to come testify in front of Congress," Chaffetz said during an interview on Fox News.
"They agreed to come Wednesday and they agreed to answer our questions," South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said in a later interview on the network. "She is coming Wednesday and there's no question about that."
As we wait for Lerner to make up her mind, it's important to remember the targeting of tea party groups hasn't stopped since the scandal bubbled to a public surface last year. Dozens of groups are still waiting on an answer from the IRS about their tax-exempt status ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. One of the country's largest tea party organizations, Tea Party Patriots, waiting three years before finally obtaining their tax exempt status last week.