Lois Learner pleads the 5th. Was she the crook behind it or was she following orders from higher up?
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A top IRS official under intense scrutiny said she will invoke her 5th Amendment protection before she is questioned by Congress about her involvement in the scandal. Lois Lerner is set to face the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs, but has warned she will plead the 5th.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Instead of testifying today, Lois Learner will plead the 5th. Learner is under fire for her role in targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny by the IRS. In recent days, the scandal has erupted with Obama denying he knew.
Lerner has already retained a defense attorney who notified Congress on Tuesday she would invoke her right to remain silent before Congress. The 5th Amendment allows individuals to be free from providing testimony that might incriminate themselves.
She is being represented by William W. Taylor III.
Her attorney's letter read in part, "has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation, but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course."
Taylor claims the hearings are only designed to embarrass her.
Sorry if the truth is embarrassing, but that's what happens when you break the law.
Several conservative groups and individuals have come forward to share horror stories about how badly they were treated by the IRS, some groups just for applying for non-profit status. The IRS has already said it targeted these groups for extra scrutiny and inundated them with demands for information that were virtually impossible to meet.
Questions asked for synopses of books the members read, the text of speeches delivered, and the names of volunteers.
The IRS even sought to contact group members to ask about their "thoughts."
Such behavior is harassment and illegal as it has nothing to determining whether a group should qualify for a non-profit status.
Learner isn't off the hook entirely. She is under a Congressional subpoena to show up and testify. While she may escape questions that personally incriminate her, she may still have to answer other questions about what she knew.
What investigators are now working to uncover is where the order to scrutinize and harass conservative groups came from and who knew about it. According to the White House, top aides and the Chief of Staff knew about the IRS scandal in April, but said nothing to President Obama --an unlikely scenario.
Obama claims he learned about the scandal from May 10 media reports.
For now, Congress is still investigating the case. The IRS has already admitted wrongdoing. Now it's a question of learning who is responsible for the scandal and providing justice for the people who were relentlessly and wrongly harassed by the IRS.
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