Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

IRS official who refused to testify is suspended

WASHINGTON — Lois Lerner, the head of the Internal Revenue Service's division on exempt organizations, was put on administrative leave Thursday, a day after she invoked the Fifth Amendment and declined to testify before a House committee investigating her division's targeting of conservative groups.

Lawmakers from both parties said Thursday that senior IRS officials had requested Lerner's resignation but she refused, forcing them to put her on leave instead. Whether her suspension will lead to dismissal was unclear, given civil service rules that govern federal employment.

"The IRS owes it to taxpayers to resolve her situation quickly," said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa. "She shouldn't be in limbo indefinitely on the taxpayers' dime."

The move to put Lerner on leave became public minutes after Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz., released a letter to new acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, demanding Lerner's immediate suspension for what they said was her failure to disclose information to their subcommittee.

If Lerner is dismissed, she would be the third senior IRS official to lose a job in the targeting scandal. The service's acting commissioner, Steven T. Miller, was fired this month, and Lerner's supervisor, Joseph H. Grant, director of the IRS' tax exempt and government entities division, said he would retire June 3.

Lerner has been under severe pressure since May 10, when she delivered an awkward apology to tea party and other conservative groups whose applications for tax exemptions had been singled out for special scrutiny. At that time, she said she had learned of the targeting in 2012, when Tea Party groups publicly accused the IRS of mistreatment.

But a Treasury inspector general's audit released days later appeared to make it clear that she knew of the effort well before then and had tried to reshape it. Lawmakers from both parties accused her of lying to them.

Lois Lerner took the Fifth Amendment before a House panel.

Lois Lerner took the Fifth Amendment before a House panel.

IRS official who refused to testify is suspended 05/23/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Clearwater officer fired after investigation reveals use of unnecessary force on teen

    Public Safety

    A Clearwater police officer was fired after an internal investigation found he used unnecessary force on a teenager in custody, the agency said Wednesday.

  2. Meadowlawn Middle School teacher arrested on molestation charges


    ST. PETERSBURG — A Meadowlawn Middle School teacher was arrested Wednesday morning on charges that he molested three underage girls, police said.

    Joseph Zavalnak, 41, a Meadowlawn Middle School teacher, was arrested May 24, 2017on charges that he molested three underage girls, police said. He faces  five counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. The victims were between the ages of 12 and 18, police said. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Letter from 'many' St. Petersburg High faculty, staff to Pinellas School Board pushes for assistant principal to be next principal


    A St. Petersburg High teacher sent a letter on the behalf of "many" school faculty and staff to the Pinellas County School Board and school district superintendent Mike Grego in support of appointing their assistant principal, Darlene Lebo, as principal.

    Darlene Lebo, an assistant principal at St. Petersburg High, is supported by "many" school faculty and staff to be the school's next principal, according to a letter sent to the Pinellas County School Board.
  4. 2017 Florida Theme Park Guide: A look at this summer's top attractions


    Florida's theme parks are getting ready for their busiest season with new rides, shows and perks, and we have rounded up a guide to the best new things to see.

    The newest fireworks presentation at Magic Kingdom uses lasers, lights, projections and pyrotechnics showing characters and scenes from more than 25 Disney films. [Walt Disney World]
  5. Meet 'rave pops,' the EDM-loving, hard-dancing 72-year-old who went viral via the Sunset Music Festival (w/video)

    Music & Concerts

    Alan Grofé is a 72-year-old, semi-retired entrepreneur and former tech executive with frost-white hair, two grown children and five grandchildren.

    Alan Grofe dances at the Electric Daisy Carnival festival in Orlando in 2016. [aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac]