She’ll take the Fifth

IRS official Lois Lerner, very much at the center of the scandal over selective scrutiny of conservatives’ tax-exemption applications, plans to exercise her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when she testifies before Congress.

There are two ways to consider her exercise of that right. First and foremost, she’s entitled to do so, and as a matter justice (and liberty) she should always be free to do so.

As a matter of policy, however, her intended silence is a problem three times over: we’ll have less testimony about what actually happened at her division of the IRS, we’ve an agency whose division leader cannot function without recourse to criminal protections, and there’s still the ongoing issue of assuring unbiased review of new applications.

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