Lerner Out As IRS Exempt Organizations Boss

May 24, 2013       Mark Hrywna      

A day after invoking her 5th Amendment right not to testify before a congressional committee, Lois Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations (EO) Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was put on administrative leave. She had led the EO Division since 2006.

“My understand is the new acting IRS commissioner asked for Ms. Lerner’s resignation, and she refused to resign. She was then put on administrative leave instead,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, said via statement yesterday. “The agency needs to move on to fix the conditions that led to the targeting debacle. She shouldn’t be in limbo indefinitely on the taxpayers’ dime,” he said.

Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel appointed Ken Corbin, the deputy director of the submission processing, wage and investment division, as acting director of the EO Division. Werfel was appointed acting IRS commissioner last week by President Barack Obama after Steven Miller resigned under pressure. Miller, a former EO Division director, resigned last week ahead of his testimony Friday before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Friday’s hearing was just the first of three held on The Hill within the past week. Lerner made an opening statement to the House Committee on Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday morning before invoking her 5th Amendment rights, on advice of her attorney. “

After after six hours of testimony, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) did not adjourn the hearing but only recessed it because he might call Lerner back to testify. There was some confusion whether her opening statement prior to invoking the 5th Amendment had waived that right.

The IRS is embroiled in controversy since May 10 when Lerner apologized at a Washington, D.C. tax conference for the tax agency’s focus on conservative groups that had filed applications for tax-exempt, 501(c)(4) status as social welfare organizations.

The offices of IRS in Washington, D.C. are closed today due to sequestration cuts. For more background on this story, please go here http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles/irs-official-pleads-the-5th/