WASHINGTON — A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups.Her lawyer says that she hasn't violated any laws, but that DOJ had launched a criminal investigation, so she's not comfortable answering questions.
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening — or why she didn’t disclose it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor III. Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
I'm no lawyer, but I've testified before lots of courts, and being uncomfortable is not a reason to invoke the 5th. There should be a law that any civil servant who invokes the 5th Amendment is immediately fired and forfeits all pension contributions. You certainly have a concrete right to invoke the 5th Amendment, but you shouldn't expect to be allowed back in the building afterwards, and any contributions you made toward your own security should be forfeit.
We look forward to seeing how the Democrats spin this. Lerner takes the 5th, I'm sure it's Bush's fault.