For Congress, Lois Lerner pleaded the Fifth, but for Politico, the embattled ex-IRS director gave a breezy biographical sketch that included her insistence that she had nothing to apologize for — and that she did nothing wrong. Now Republicans are fuming.
“Her decision to make unsubstantiated claims to a media outlet while claiming Fifth Amendment protections from answering Congress’ questions is telling,” said House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, who headed up a panel to quiz Ms. Lerner about her agency’s delay of nonprofit applications to tea party groups, Politico reported.
“She appears to have great confidence that her allies in the Obama Administration will not consider legal action after she resigned and declined to discuss the IRS’ actions against private citizens,” Mr. Issa went on, Politico reported.
Ms. Lerner admitted her division had paid extra attention to applications from groups with “tea party” in their names at the request of her boss, Politico reported. But she denied that her Democratic leanings influenced her scrutiny of conservative groups — though Republicans have released emails showing that perhaps the opposite, in some cases, was true, Politico reported.
Mr. Issa is not the only Republican to criticize Ms. Lerner for speaking to the press, rather than Congress.
House Speaker John Boehner’s staff posted a blog blasting her claim to Politico that she’s “not sorry for anything I did,” she said, in the article.
“Thanks to President Obama and his cadre of cover-up artists, we still don’t know what exactly that entailed,” Mr. Boehner’s blog read, Politico reported.
And Rep. Jim Jordan, who chairs the IRS Oversight subcommittee, said Ms. Lerner’s interview with Politico was a “poke in the eye to the American citizens who were targeted by the IRS,” Politico reported.