[Rushtalk] Darrell Issa wants Elijah Cummings to disclose talks with Lois Lerner's attorney
Carl William Spitzer IV
cwsiv at copper.net
Sat May 10 10:43:57 MDT 2014
Darrell Issa wants Elijah Cummings to disclose talks with Lois Lerner's
BY SEAN LENGELL
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa,
R-Calif., asked the panel's top Democrat to disclose communications
between his office and the lawyer for former IRS officialLois Lerner,
who faces contempt charges before the committee.
In a letter to ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Issa said it
was vital for him to share what he learned from interviewing her
attorney, William W. Taylor III.
The panel is investigating Lerner — who headed the Exempt Organizations
division of the agency when it controversially targeted conservative
groups — and will vote on contempt charges on the grounds that she has
refused to cooperate with the probe.
"As you know, Mr. Taylor's position with regard to Ms. Lerner's
willingness to cooperate with the committee has changed several times,"
Issa wrote. "So that all members of the committee can have a better
understanding of Mr. Taylor's current position, please disclose any
communications that you or your staff have had with Mr. Taylor."
Lerner has refused to answer questions about IRS targeting, using
her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Reports have suggested that
Lerner may seek immunity from the panel before agreeing to speak.
Republicans, though, say that Lerner waived her right to remain silent
when she made a statement denying any wrongdoing, and charge that she is
trying to delay the investigation.
Issa questioned if last-minute talks on immunity were more than just
another stalling tactic and asked Cummings to share his discussions with
"Your insistence on the prospect of immunity is surprising," Issa wrote.
"In discussions with my staff, Mr. Taylor stated that his client does
not fear prosecution and would not make any incriminating statements if
she testified, with or without immunity.
"Ms. Lerner does not require immunity to testify truthfully about facts
that would not incriminate her," he added.
Lerner served as the D.C.-based IRS official who some lawmakers believe
played a key role in the practice of targeting certain conservative
and Tea Party groups who were seeking tax-exempt status.
Issa and Cummings have had a strained relationship. At the conclusion of
a committee hearing last month, the chairman turned off the Democrat's
microphone after a testy exchange. Issa later apologized, which Cummings
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