After asserting her Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination during an earlier hearing, former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner is now reportedly willing to testify regarding the agency’s targeting of conservative groups and individuals.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa confirmed her scheduled appearance in a Fox News interview Sunday.
He added that Lerner’s cooperation would be “in her best interest,” noting his committee has compiled significant evidence in its ongoing investigation into the IRS scandal.
In addition to her silence as a witness, Lerner ultimately resigned from the agency amid growing pressure for accountability within the IRS.
“It’s going to be a good, fact-finding hearing,” he said, indicating the testimony could take place as early as Wednesday.
The same day, however, Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor, told Politico that his client “intends to continue to assert her Fifth Amendment rights.”
He expressed confusion regarding “why Issa said what he said.”
Further confusing the issue, Issa produced written confirmation from Taylor that Lerner would indeed be willing to testify; however, she is likely to ask for a delay of at least a week.
Spokesperson Frederick Hill said the House Oversight Committee has “informed Mr. Taylor that Ms. Lerner may make her request for a delay on Wednesday when she appears for the hearing.”
Lerner was heading the tax-exempt division of the IRS during the period in which conservative groups were reportedly subjected to invasive and unnecessary scrutiny. According to Issa, she “could have been acting alone.”
Her apparent reversal stands in contrast to Taylor’s assertion just last week that she would only testify if a federal court mandated her appearance or if she received immunity.
Whether she actually testifies Wednesday or seeks a delay, her ultimate testimony will hopefully provide some useful information in the continuing search for truth within a federal agency riddled with controversy. While her behavior certainly indicates some level of involvement in the scandal, Lerner’s account of the targeting within her division could shed light on the scope of the illicit program and identify precisely who participated in calling the shots.
As is so often the case within today’s corrupt political climate, however, those at the top level of involvement might never face the justice they deserve.
–B. Christopher Agee
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom