Solyndra Executives Plead the 5th Amendment before Congress
IRS official will refuse to answer questions at U.S. House hearing By Kim Dixon | Reuters
By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON (Reuters)- Lois Lerner, an Internal Revenue Service official who revealed that the agency was giving extra scrutiny to conservative groups, will assert her constitutional right not to answer questions from a congressional committee on Wednesday, her lawyer said in a letter obtained by Reuters.
"She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course," Lerner's attorney, William Taylor, wrote to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is holding hearings into the IRS scandal.
Lerner is the chief of the IRS tax-exempt unit, which has been accused of using partisan criteria to decide which groups applying for tax-exempt status should receive extra scrutiny. According to an inspector general's report, the office searched for groups with "Tea Party" or "patriots" in their names.
Taylor said he had advised Lerner to assert her Fifth Amendment right in part due to allegations made by the committee chairman, Darrell Issa, that she had provided false and misleading information to Congress.
The Fifth Amendment provides individuals with protection against self-incrimination.