A religious liberties law firm says the decision by congressional investigators to recall a former official at the center of the IRS scandal is "appropriate" and "necessary."
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-California), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has sent a letter to Lois Lerner's attorney requesting that she testify about the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups. During her testimony last year, Lerner proclaimed her innocence but refused to answer questions, invoking the Fifth Amendment.
Jordan Sekulow is executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents 41 organizations in a federal lawsuit challenging the IRS. "It's time for the truth," says his firm.
"We think this is an appropriate decision by Chairman Issa, in light of the lack of information the IRS has been willing to turn over," Sekulow tells OneNewsNow. "Her testimony could do one of two things. It could incriminate others; it's not clear who else was completely involved in this. And second, it could shed light on the idea that possibly she was the one directing all this and it did not go much higher than Lois Lerner."
The attorney for Lerner, who is the IRS's former tax-exempt organizations chief, wants his client to receive immunity as a condition to testify. Sekulow has no problem with that – under certain conditions.
"I do believe that if the congressional investigators at that committee are given an indication that she does have information which would shed significant light on the controversy – [answering questions like] Does it go further than that? Does it go to the top? – and if she has this kind of information, then it may be appropriate to grant her immunity," says the ACLJ spokesman.
Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) sits on Issa's committee. Earlier today on Fox News he stated Lerner will "never" get immunity.
"We're not giving her immunity – period," said Gowdy. "We don't know what she's done. Why would you give someone immunity when you have no idea what criminal conduct they've engaged in? Right now, I'd rather have her has a defendant [than as a witness] because I don't think she has any credibility."
Regardless, adds Sekulow, it's time for Lerner to stop stonewalling, to present the facts, and to tell the truth about the unlawful targeting scheme. Congressman Issa wants her to appear next week.