May 23rd, 2013
05:45 PM ET
9 years ago

IRS official Lois Lerner placed on administrative leave

Washington (CNN) – The Internal Revenue Service official overseeing the unit that targeted conservative groups for several years beginning in the spring of 2010 has been placed on administrative leave, according to Congressional sources in both parties.

Lois Lerner was the director of exempt organizations when the agency filtered applications for tax exempt status for words such as "patriot" and "tea party."

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She publicly revealed the targeting two weeks ago in her answer to a planted question at a bar association event in Washington shortly before an inspector general report on the matter was made public.

The agency's new acting director announced late Thursday he was appointing Ken Corbin, who was deputy director of unit which processes tax returns and payments, to oversee the exempt organizations unit.

Lerner appeared before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday and stated she had not broken any laws or agency regulations. She then invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and declined to answer questions.

Republicans questioned whether she waived that right by making her opening statement.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa will call her back to testify before the committee, his spokesman said earlier on Thursday.

Filed under: IRS
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. steve851

    Administrative leave means she will be paid to do nothing. I defend her right to take the 5th, but I do not understand why a public servant can be paid when she refuses to serve by testifying

    May 24, 2013 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  2. Rob

    So they put her assistant in charge. Chances are they knew about it too. The whole agency needs replaced. It is they ONLY way to rid us of this corruption

    May 24, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  3. Anonymous

    what good is adminastrative leave if she is still collecting a salary

    May 24, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. brownie

    that was smart suspending lerner with pay.... thus means she cannot testifies anymore

    May 24, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  5. brownie

    invoking your 5th meaning you are hiding something illegally

    May 24, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    So are we now saying the IRS shouldn't scrutinize applications for tax exempt status?? Am I allowed to complain that the IRS gives my taxes a second look?

    I agree with the poster above. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?? Since when did invoking your right not to be incriminated in a witch hunt become a punishable offense??

    May 24, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  7. Libertarian_First

    A paid vacation. She must be devastated.


    May 24, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  8. mcwreiole

    Congratulations, CNN for giving this story, about an IRS dept unleashed on American Citizens, such prominence next to celebrities on the red carpet in Cannes. Do you really wonder why CNN ratings are so abysmal?

    May 24, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  9. Al

    So, administrative leave will continue to cost the tax payers money. How great it must be to work for Organized Unions that rob the tax payers blind while harboring and protecting suspected criminals. I hope that she's not to hurt that she will get her pay and know deep down that she failed to do the duties of the office she was assigned to.

    May 24, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  10. TommytheT

    I am confused, if this is much to do about nothing, as declared by many Obama supporters, than why was the Acting Head of the IRS asked to leave (on his retirement date) and why is this Lady being put on leave (with full pay).

    Can only be one of two reasons, it is NOT a lot to do about nothing, there are serious wrong doings here or Mr Obama's administration is trying to defuse situation by throw out what looks like punishment but is not.

    I'm am going to suggest both, this is bad, really bad and Mr Obama's administration believe by throwing the public a bone and a very small one at this, this will just go away....not going to happen.

    May 24, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    You have marvel at the conservative assertion that Lerner "forfeited" her 5th Amendment civil rights. They don't know the law. All that they know is the end result that they want. Laws don't have anything to do with it. Anyone remember Leona Helmsley, the queen of mean, hotel heilress. She credited as once saying that laws are for the poor, fools, and liberals.

    May 24, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  12. Odo

    So no mention that liberal groups were under the same scrutiny...or that no conservatives groups were denied (while liberal groups WERE)...and NO debate over why political groups are getting tax exempt status in the first place???

    May 24, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  13. Rudy NYC


    So no mention that liberal groups were under the same scrutiny...or that no conservatives groups were denied (while liberal groups WERE)...and NO debate over why political groups are getting tax exempt status in the first place???
    What's even worse is Fox News broadcasting people like Karl Romve claiming that "nothing like this occurred under Bush", when in fact it did occur and to much worse degree. On DIRECT ORDERS from Republicans in Congress, the IRS launched an aggressive, two year audit against the NAACP in late 2004. The NAACP had to pay millions in attorney and legal fees. The IRS also targeted many smaller groups and black churches.

    May 24, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  14. Mike

    We don't need a special investigation on this or Libya....Mr Obama said he would look into it and personally see that things were fixed. Like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop.

    May 24, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  15. joesmith

    it's called protecting your assets..this girl knows more than meets the eye, hope she doesn't end up like the head of Freddie Mac, after he failed to deliver a report on the status of that lending arm in a timely manner..but this little jewel will be the undoing of many a poor boy, from top to patient..

    May 24, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "What's even worse is Fox News broadcasting people like Karl Romve claiming that "nothing like this occurred under Bush"

    What is even funnier is that while Rove is clutching HIS pearls, and in perfect FOX faux outrage mode claims that "nothing like this occurred...blah,blah, blah" is the fact that CNN has been so taken over by the far right that they too are clutching THEIR pearls in proper Rove faux outrage.

    I'm beginning to think that CNN spent the past 4 years courting these folks in eager anticipation of getting Sarah Palin to drop FOX News and come to CNN. There is no other reason I can think of that CNN would so willingly lose its own reputation for what amounts to nothing more than he said/he said political gossip 24/7.

    May 24, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. Pablo

    I understand the Republican view, that she may have waived her right to take the 5th with her opening remarks. How can you state that you have done nothing wrong or illegal and then claim that you cannot truthfully answer a question on the grounds that it may incriminate you?

    May 24, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. Freedom Storm

    And Obama played Hollywood ... the heckler ... she was a plant ... an act. Don't you really know the reality of tyranny yet?

    May 24, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  19. Larry S.


    You got it backwards. "Public servant" means the public is her servant, not that she serves the public. It Really Steals.

    May 24, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Gregory L. Faith

    I guess the IRS needs to be audited........................Yea right...........

    May 24, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. matt

    People are going to listen to Issa? How did he ever get elected anyway. He should be jail and not in Congress. He has been arrested numerous times (once for stealing a car) and he wiggled out of it like a snake.

    May 24, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Christopher Riess

    It is time that we start to round up these tea party freaks and begin processing them on charges of treason. These are people who hate this country and they need to be dealt with now.

    May 24, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. Brian

    Lois Lerner .........looks like congress should own some of this........fix the regulation in question

    May 24, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  24. Damn Angry

    Let's see now.............a paid vacation on top of her $750,000 salary over the last four years? Sounds about right for this administration! As taxpayers should we also may start a defense fund for her legal expenses (LMAO)?

    May 24, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. werewolf1

    Put her Paid leave,that will teach her.

    May 24, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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