WASHINGTON — IRS official Lois Lerner defended herself before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this week. But her comments were brief and defensive citing legal advice in the face of a federal investigation and invoking her 5th Amendment right against self incrimination.
Members from both sides of the aisle in Congress complain that Lerner and other high-ranking IRS officials failed to inform them that conservative groups were targeted, even though lawmakers repeatedly asked IRS officials in the wake of complaints by tea party groups. Democrats, Republicans and the general populace are angry joined by administration officials from President Barack Obama on down stating the actions of the IRS were inappropriate and inexcusable. Of course, a politico would be engaging in political suicide if they were to defend such activity or even claim to have known about it and possibly endorsed or authorized such targeting by the IRS.
No one can deny Lerner's right to invoke the 5th Amendment. She denies wrongdoing and claimed before Congress that "I have not done anything wrong," "I have not broken any laws, I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee." However, one cannot help but wonder why she would not answer questions if her claims of innocence were true? It is possible and likely that pursuant to the advice of counsel her carefully prepared and worded claims of denial are 100% accurate. The more compelling question is what does she know regarding what others know higher on the food chain? Who else is she protecting? Why does she fear the probing questions of Congress? Time may provide the answers to such question and more as the story unfolds and the truth reveals itself.