Issa Requests Cummings Disclose Relevant Information in Advance of Contempt Meeting to All Members
WASHINGTON – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sent a letter to Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., requesting any current or ongoing communications Ranking Member Cummings and his staff have had with Ms. Lerner’s attorney. The letter states:
“Based on our discussions several weeks ago, it is my understanding that you and your staff are communicating with William W. Taylor, III, Ms. Lerner’s counsel. You told me that we should discuss the terms of an immunity agreement and proffer with Mr. Taylor.”
“Your insistence on the prospect of immunity is surprising. In discussions with my staff, Mr. Taylor stated that his client does not fear prosecution and would not make any incriminating statements if she testified, with or without immunity. Ms. Lerner does not require immunity to testify truthfully about facts that would not incriminate her. Furthermore, on March 3, 2014, shortly before Ms. Lerner’s scheduled appearance on March 5th, my staff asked Mr. Taylor if he had any requests of the Committee, such as a one-week delay. He replied unambiguously, ‘I have no ask.’
“As you know, Mr. Taylor’s position with regard to Ms. Lerner’s willingness to cooperate with the Committee has changed several times. On February 26, 2014, he sent me a letter requesting immunity in exchange for Ms. Lerner’s testimony. The next day, he raised the possibility that Ms. Lerner would participate in a deposition on the condition that the Committee would never call her to testify at a public hearing. Then, on March 1, 2014, Mr. Taylor stated that Ms. Lerner was willing to testify at a public hearing. He confirmed that offer in an e-mail to my staff. Two days later, after hearing some of the evidence of the full extent of Ms. Lerner’s involvement in the targeting program, he rescinded that offer.
“So that all Members of the Committee can have a better understanding of Mr. Taylor’s current position, please disclose any communications that you or your staff have had with Mr. Taylor.”
Yesterday, the Committee announced it will meet on Thursday, April 10, 2014 to vote on a resolution to hold Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the Committee on May 22, 2013 and March 5, 2014. The Committee passed a resolution on June 28, 2013 to determine that Ms. Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment right not to testify by making a voluntary statement to the Committee asserting her innocence.
You can read the complete letter to Ranking Member Cummings here.