What will Lois Lerner do at Wednesday’s Oversight hearing?

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
Font Size:

Ex-IRS director of tax exempt organizations Lois Lerner will appear at Wednesday morning’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing at 9:30 a.m. in Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, The Daily Caller has confirmed.

At this point, California Rep. Darrell Issa’s Oversight Committee does not know for certain what Lerner will do.

Lerner’s attorney Bill Taylor, part of a legal team that has been negotiating for immunity for Lerner since at least September, has been trying to delay or prevent her from testifying. Taylor claimed that Lerner’s life has been threatened if she testified. TheDC has independently verified Taylor’s claim.

After 10 months of the IRS conservative targeting scandal, and with the federal criminal investigation into the matter largely considered a joke, the case now hinges on Lerner’s testimony — and on whether Issa can get her to talk. Here are the ways Wednesday’s hearing could go down:

1. She asks for a one-week delay and Issa grants it

House Oversight members are open to granting Lerner a one-week delay. It is unclear what the delay would accomplish for either side. Emails show that Lerner has expressed willingness to testify in a private deposition even without immunity, but Issa wanted her to appear at the public hearing.

“I can tell you that we can probably move forward if the committee agrees that her appearance at a deposition would satisfy any obligation she has or would have to provide information in connection with this investigation,” Taylor said.

2. She tries to plead the Fifth and Issa holds her in contempt of Congress

Taylor said that Lerner plans to continue to try to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights. But Oversight previously determined that Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights when she made a statement attesting to her innocence at a May 2013 hearing.

House Oversight members Reps. Jim Jordan and Jason Chaffetz recently said that they are considering holding Lerner in contempt of Congress if she does not adequately testify about the targeting.

3. She pleads the Fifth and Issa lets her do it

As for the contempt charge, Issa appeared reluctant. “We want her to come back and answer questions. We’ll see on contempt,” he said.

4. She testifies as to who ordered the conservative targeting

Wednesday’s unlikeliest scenario is the only one that would help restore any of the credibility in government that Lerner helped destroy.

Follow Patrick on Twitter