Lois Lerner, the IRS staffer who is under fire for her role in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, has been placed on administrative leave, according to congressional aides.
She will still be paid while on leave, a congressional aide said, as required under civil service rules.
Lerner, who heads an IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, first disclosed the extra scrutiny the agency gave to Tea Party groups almost two weeks ago when answering a planted question at a Washington legal conference.
Since then, lawmakers from across the political spectrum have said that they believe Lerner misled them and called for her dismissal.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), a senior Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a Thursday statement that the new acting IRS commissioner, Danny Werfel, had asked Lerner to resign – and that Lerner was only placed on leave after she declined that request. Aides on Capitol Hill confirmed that Lerner had refused to resign.
Now civil service rules do prevent people getting fired willy nilly. It's to prevent, you know, a massive purge every time a new administration comes to power (not that the Bushies didn't try their hardest, especially in the DoJ). But I predicted yesterday morning that Lerner would be canned, and I was right.
We'll see what happens from here on out, but the one guarantee I can make now is that Lerner's departure and replacement will not satisfy Republicans, who will not stop until Lerner somehow implicates every member of the Obama family, including Bo, and the IRS is shut down.