Here's why Lois Lerner could be the Webb Hubbell of the IRS scandal
By Mark Tapscott | FEBRUARY 27, 2014 AT 9:13 AM
Odds are solid that former IRS senior executive Lois Lerner will never appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to spill the beans on the IRS scandal. Webb Hubbell would be impressed.
Webb Hubbell? Those old enough to remember Bill Clinton was in the Oval Office will instantly recall Hubbell as Hillary Clinton's former law partner. He went to jail for overbilling clients.
But Hubbell never talked after his conviction and while serving 21 months in a federal prison. He didn't talk after two further indictments, one that was thrown out and another that was plea-bargained.
Like the faithful "good soldier" of the Mafia inner circle who refuses to squeal because he knows there will be a reward at the end of his sentence for his silence, Hubbell kept his mouth shut.
Lerner won't squeal
Rep. Darrell Issa, the oversight panel's chairman, issued another invitation this week to Lerner to return to testify before the committee about her role in the targeting and harassment of Tea Party and conservative non-profit groups seeking tax-exemption.
In her lone prior appearance before the panel, Lerner proclaimed her innocence, then took the Fifth Amendment. The panel's GOP majority say she waived her Fifth Amendment right when she claimed to have done nothing wrong.
Lerner recently offered through her attorney to testify if she was given a grant of immunity. Her attorney provided a proffer describing the essence of her promised testimony.
Tight as a drum
But the proffer talks went nowhere because the description of what Lerner would say broke no new ground, according to panel sources. Witnesses who don't provide critical new evidence don't get immunity.
Lerner is trapped. On the one hand, she was the first IRS official to admit the agency's targeting and harassment. On the other, how can somebody claim innocence while demanding immunity from criminal prosecution?
Her only way out of the trap is to give up somebody important higher-up. There is no reason to think she will do that, based on her professional history. Look for her to follow the Hubbell example.