Last Updated:November 28 @ 04:57 pm

What's Lois Lerner's status at IRS?

By USA Today

Lois Lerner went on paid leave from the Internal Revenue Service in May, ever since she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights in refusing to answer questions from Congress about her handling of Tea Party cases.

So why was she still sending letters to groups applying for tax exemptions as recently as August?

That's what members of a House Ways and Means subcommittee wanted to know Wednesday. Now, the IRS has an answer.

"In August, we discovered the auto-signature was still in use on a subset of notices automatically generated by our systems," said Terry Lemons, the IRS' director of communications. He said the signature was updated about Aug. 21.

That explanation is unlikely to satisfy Republican members of Congress, who are demanding to know why Lerner is still being paid. Lerner's base salary was $177,000 in 2011, according to records obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.

Lerner's name came up 47 times at Wednesday's hearing, mostly as Congress members asked whether the agency had asked her to resign and why her name was still appearing on IRS documents. "Now, this letter I have here is dated August the 7th, 2013. That's why I asked, when was she put on administrative leave? When did she plead the Fifth? And if that's the case, why is she still sending out information? Respond. Respond!" demanded Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. "Who has been held accountable for anything that's happened so far in the IRS?"

Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said he couldn't publicly discuss Lerner's employment without violating privacy laws. Shortly after being tapped by President Obama to temporarily run the IRS, Werfel appointed career IRS official Ken Corbin to replace Lerner as the acting head of the Exempt Organizations office as part of an IRS shake-up.

Lerner's attorney, William TaylorIII, did not return a call seeking comment.

Andrew P. Scott, USA TODAY

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13 Comments

  1. lokiswifeComment by lokiswife
    September 20, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

    Give her immunity and protection, bring her back to the investigation and ask all the questions again. She knows where the bodies are buried, she knows where the stinky trail leads, give her the freedom to talk and the protection from the Chicago thugs afterwards.

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    • ksr1Comment by ksr1
      September 20, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

      @lokiswife, Agree 100% and if she does not tell all, she needs an FBI escort to “Camp Cupcake” for a very long stay. Wonder what would happen when her “new friends” find out who she really is, could it mean party time with all the trimmings? Hmmmm

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  2. sam236Comment by sam236
    September 20, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    If a federal employee refuses to cooperate in an investigation of something that occurred on their watch, they should be fired immediately. Just because the 5th Amendment offers protection against self-incrimination doesn’t mean this slug should be allowed to be on a “paid vacation” at taxpayer expense. Fire her now!

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    • p3driverComment by p3driver
      September 20, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

      Concur.

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    • bwtankerComment by bwtanker
      September 20, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

      agree wholeheartedly.if i did a fraction of what they have done i would be in jail already and they would have thrown away the key so why are they still getting paid while doing nothing but avoiding questions of which they are all quilty of

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    • thecitizenComment by thecitizen
      September 24, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

      It is my understanding of Fifth Admendemnt mechanics is that it is ‘all or nothing’. One cannot cherry pick and choose the questions they will or won’t answer under Fifth Amendment protection. One cannot have it both ways, i.e., 1. Read into the legal, official record a lengthy, self exonerating/agrandizing statement and then, 2. Close that same statement by availing oneself to Fifth Admentment guarantees to not answer any questions.

      That she was not immediately challenged by a whole room bursting at the seams with ‘lawyers’ is a beyond the pale perplexing.

      Once she took the Fifth, she should have been put on some kind of suspension (leave or whatever), which apparently she was but – absolutely – without pay.

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    • ksr1Comment by ksr1
      September 24, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

      @thecitizen, I think we can all rest much better tonight (sic) since she is now officially retired albeit with full pension (think somewhere between $50K -$100K) plus 401K & Social Security…. Not bad for being a real Dusch***! Or should I say a criminal worthy of full prosecution to be topped off with a very long vacation in a “full service Hotel”.

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  3. p3driverComment by p3driver
    September 20, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

    The IRS is really on the ball.
    “‘In August, we discovered the auto-signature was still in use on a subset of notices automatically generated by our systems,’ said Terry Lemons.”
    What a bunch of freakin’ losers.

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    • ksr1Comment by ksr1
      September 20, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

      Looks like THEY need a good audit!

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    • Scruffy-USN-RetiredComment by kerryp
      September 21, 2013 @ 6:09 am

      And do not forget, This IRS is the ones who are going to inforce the destructive obamacare. Doesn’t that just make you feel warm and fuzzy?

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    • ksr1Comment by ksr1
      September 21, 2013 @ 7:10 am

      @kerryp,Tthey along with the “Navigators” (who have not been vetted) having access to all personal your information sounds like this is going to be one REAL mess lurking upon us right around the corner. Also just heard this AM that the software needed to run the whole darn thing is not ready. Could ANYTHING else go wrong with this wonderful(sic) program? Just saying .. that’s all.

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  4. georgiagalComment by georgiagal
    September 20, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

    This is unbelievable! Fire her already.

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  5. phunyfarmComment by phunyfarm
    September 21, 2013 @ 12:46 am

    one hundred and seventy seven THOUSAND dollars to be on leave.
    one hundred and seventy seven THOUSAND dollars..
    What a crock. That’s how our tax dollars are spent. Makes you kind of want to puke.

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