She still thinks she did nothing wrong and refused to resign when asked. But the IRS can't have someone who's taken the Fifth in a senior management position so they placed her on paid administrative leave.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said Lerner was asked to resign but refused, so she was placed on leave. An IRS spokeswoman said the agency could not comment on Lerner's status because it was a private personnel matter.
Danny Werfel, the agency's new acting commissioner, told IRS employees in an email that he had selected a new acting head of the division, staying within the IRS to find new leadership.
Ken Corbin, a 27-year IRS veteran, will be the new acting director of the agency's exempt organizations division. Corbin currently is a deputy director in the wage and investment division, where he oversees 17,000 workers responsible for processing 172 million individual and business tax returns, Werfel said.
Werfel's email Thursday made no mention of Lerner. But congressional aides who were briefed on the matter confirmed that Lerner was placed on paid administrative leave. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because a personnel matter was involved.
"From all accounts so far, the IRS acting commissioner was on solid ground to ask for her resignation," Grassley said in a statement. "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."
Lerner's lawyer, William W. Taylor III, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Lerner is getting paid while the achingly slow process of firing a government worker moves forward at a snail's place. The least they can do is take away her salary. It is outrageous that she is getting taxpayer money while her case is adjudicated.
There is a long list of IRS and Treasury Department employees who also deserve the boot. But the administration will no doubt limit the number of scapegoats they offer the public while leaving others whose responsibility is equally great, to continue in their current positions.
From what we've seen of this administration, screwing up will get you a promotion rather than a pink slip.