By CNN's Susan Garraty
The attorney for the embattled former IRS official, Lois Lerner, tells CNN’s State of the Union that if House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wants to give Lerner immunity, there’s a streamlined way forward.
“We have repeatedly suggested that the committee follow the course provided for obtaining immunity for Ms. Lerner. Had it done that a year ago, we would all have been spared a great deal of unpleasantness.” Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor wrote in a statement sent to CNN.
Chairman of the House Overnight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa told Fox News on Tuesday that he would offer Lerner immunity from prosecution if she would, “Tell us something meaningful, disclose how these crimes were committed…”
Issa added, “I would grant her immunity or have a vote to grant her immunity.”
So how would an immunity deal be struck? Two thirds of the committee would have to vote in favor of pursuing an immunity deal; the committee then would petition a federal judge to issue an order requiring Lerner to testify, and immunity would be offered to Lerner from committee counsel through her attorney.
Lerner was the head of the IRS division in charge of tax-exempt status that the GOP accuses of targeting tea party operatives and other groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate during her congressional appearances in May, 2013 and March, 2014. Last May, on a largely party line vote, the full House voted to hold Lerner in contempt of congress.
This month, the IRS reveled that Lerner’s emails from 2009 to 2011 were lost in a hard drive crash in 2011. Republicans allege the targeting of conservative groups started in 2010 and are accusing the new head of the IRS, John Koskinen, of not being honest in his assessment that there was no “wrongdoing” associated with the missing Lerner emails.