In a move sure to reignite the IRS scandal that rocked the agency and the Obama administration last Spring, House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa is recalling disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner to a March 5 hearing, demanding that she resume her testimony before his panel.
In late May, Lerner delivered an opening statement to Issa’s committee before invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The panel later voted that, in making that statement, in which Lerner declared she had done nothing wrong, the former head of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations division had waived her Fifth Amendment rights.
In a letter to Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor, Issa said that her testimony “remains critical” to the committee’s ongoing investigation into the targeting scandal and that her testimony would “allow the committee to better understand why certain groups were targeted.” Before recalling Lerner to testify, the committee waited to complete the bulk of its investigation in order to determine whether her input was necessary.
Taylor told Politico in July that Lerner would offer her testimony voluntarily if she was granted immunity. Instead of striking a deal with her legal team, Issa said in the letter that, because the initial hearing at which she appeared was not officially convened, the subpoena issued to her remains in effect, and that she is required under law to appear before the committee at its request.
Lerner was placed on paid leave from the IRS in May after refusing to tender her resignation, and retired from the agency on September.