Lois Lerner Will Plead the Fifth at House Oversight Hearing

Update: Issa will subpoena Lerner anyway

Lerner

The Internal Revenue Service official who heads the tax-exempt division will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions from the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.

The IRS official, Lois Lerner, had been scheduled to appear before the committee Wednesday, and has requested to be excused, the Los Angeles Times reports:

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 reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd. […]

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Taylor, a criminal defense attorney from the Washington firm of Zuckerman Spaeder, said that the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation, and that the House committee has asked Lerner to explain why she provided "false or misleading information" to the committee four times last year.

Since Lerner won’t answer questions, Taylor asked that she be excused from appearing, saying that would "have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her." There was no immediate word whether the committee will grant her request.

Update (4:15 p.m.): House Oversight chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) will subpoena Lerner anyway, despite her intentions, National Journal reports.