To the Editor:
Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner has taken the Fifth again. But if it’s just bureaucratic bungling of an awkwardly written law, as President Barack Obama suggested, she couldn’t incriminate herself. Perhaps she wants the probe to go nowhere.
The administration promised a quick action. To refresh, here’s what the IRS scandal is all about:
• Groups legally opposing Obama were singled out for harassment by one of the most powerful agencies in the executive branch after the organizations applied for tax-exempt status, blocking some from playing a role in the 2012 election.
• Obama and Democrats such as Max Baucus and Dick Durbin called on the IRS in 2010 to rein in such organizations.
• The office of the IRS chief counsel, an Obama appointee, helped craft guidelines on how to go after the tea party and other conservative groups.
• The IRS released nine confidential applications for tax-exempt status from conservative groups to a left-leaning media outlet.
But shouldn’t she be willing to testify if, as Obama claimed, it’s nothing more than “a 501(c)4 law people think is confusing” and that “folks did not know how to implement”? If, as the president contends, it amounts to only “some boneheaded decisions” but “not even a smidgen of corruption,” why would Lerner spend the past 10 months taking the Fifth?
Lerner does have information and the American people have a right to it. Congress has a duty to continue investigating until the full truth is revealed.
Can you or I take the Fifth if the IRS comes knocking?