The IRS official at the center of the abuse scandal investigations has gone from pleading the Fifth to seeking immunity. Her lawyer told Politico that the House committee investigating the abuse “can obtain her testimony tomorrow by doing it the easy way…immunity.”
Lerner proclaimed her innocence in a House Oversight Committee hearing on May 22, then immediately invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The committee has since ruled that she forfeited her Fifth Amendment right when she stated that she had done nothing wrong.
Invoking immunity is the second sign Lerner has given that she did in fact do something illegal and fears the criminal consequences.
Lerner unleashed the scandal via a planted question in a conference call on May 10. She later claimed under oath that the abuse was the work of just a couple of “rogue employees” in the IRS office in Cincinnati. That testimony has fallen apart, as it has been revealed that many agents in several IRS offices including its Washington headquarters were involved, and Lerner’s own name appeared on letters to Tea Party groups that the IRS subjected to heightened scrutiny.