Lois Lerner, the director of the tax-exempt organizations division at the Internal Revenue Service, has been placed on administrative leave, sources in Congress and the administration confirm.
Federal workers are given pay and benefits when put on administrative leave.
"My understanding is the new acting IRS commissioner asked for Ms. Lerner’s resignation, and she refused to resign," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement. "The IRS owes it to taxpayers to resolve her situation quickly."
Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel has selected Ken Corbin as the acting director, of the exempt organizations division. Corbin is currently the deputy director of the submission processing, wage and investment division.
Lerner was the official who revealed during a May 10 American Bar Association conference in Washington that employees in the IRS’s tax-exempt unit in Cincinnati had improperly scrutinized applications from dozens of organizations. On Wednesday, she invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“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.”
Lerner's account of how the IRS began scrutinizing tea party groups, when she learned about it and why she disclosed it when she did have all been deemed inaccurate by the Post's Factchecker.
Lerner has been a federal employee for 34 years, holding positions at the Justice Department, the Federal Elections Commission and the IRS. She became director of the IRS’s tax-exempt unit in 2006.
The move was first reported by the website of the National Review, a conservative magazine.
Juliet Eilperin, Josh Hicks and Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.