Congressional and administration sources confirm that IRS director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner has been placed on administrative leave after she reportedly refused to resign.
Lerner came under fire this week when she chose to invoke her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself rather than testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee.
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, a senior Republican member of the Finance Committee investigating the IRS, said tonight that Lerner “refused to resign.”
“My understanding is the new acting IRS commissioner asked for Ms. Lerner’s resignation, and she refused to resign. She was then put on administrative leave instead,” Grassley stated. ”The IRS owes it to taxpayers to resolve her situation quickly. The agency needs to move on to fix the conditions that led to the targeting debacle. She shouldn’t be in limbo indefinitely on the taxpayers’ dime.”
Earlier today, Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the committee, announced that he believes Lerner waived her right to refuse to testify when she read a statement and authenticated a document for the record during the hearing.
National Review Online first reported that the IRS had placed Lerner on leave.
According to NRO, Lerner emailed colleagues shortly before the news broke, announcing, “Due to the events of recent days, I am on administrative leave starting today. An announcement will be made shortly informing you who will be acting while I am on administrative leave. I know all of you will continue to support EO’s mission during these difficult times. I thank you for all your hard work and dedication. The work you do is important.”
IRS acting commissioner Daniel Werfel announced that Ken Corbin, currently the Deputy Director, Submission Processing, Wage and Investment (W&I) Division, has been selected to be the acting Director, Exempt Organizations, Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division.
“Ken is a proven leader during challenging times. He has strong management experience inside the IRS handling a wide range of processing issues and compliance topics as well as taxpayer service areas,” Werfel stated. “Combined with his track record of leading large work groups, these skills make him an ideal choice to help lead the Exempt Organizations area through this difficult period.”
During her brief statement at the hearing yesterday, Lerner declared her innocence before Issa dismissed her from the proceedings.
“I have not done anything wrong,” she said. “I have not broken any laws, I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.”
Issa, R-Calif., announced today that he is considering recalling Lerner before the committee for additional testimony.
“After consulting with counsel, Chairman Issa has concluded that Ms. Lerner’s Fifth Amendment assertion is no longer valid. She remains under subpoena,” Frederick Hill, communications director for Issa, said. “The committee is looking at recalling her for further testimony.”
ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny and Abby Phillip contributed to this report.