A top dog at the Internal Revenue Service office responsible for reviewing applications for nonprofit status said, via her attorney, that she will plead the 5th Amendment to avoid House lawmaker’s questions over why conservative groups were abused in the application process.
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, is scheduled to appear before the House Oversight committee Wednesday.
“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” a letter from her attorney William W. Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif) said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The attorney went on to ask lawmakers to allow his client to skip the hearing, writing, “Because Ms. Lerner is invoking her constitutional privilege, we respectfully request that you excuse her from appearing at the hearing.” And “requiring her to appear at the hearing merely to assert her Fifth Amendment privilege would have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.”
Issa promptly issued a subpoena for Lerner anyway.