Lois Lerner, the IRS official takes the Fifth Amendment as she appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday. In short, she declined to answer any questions put to her as the answers may be self-incriminating after reading an opening statement. The House is probing the IRS scandal of targeting the Tea Party and other Conservative and religious groups seeking to obtain a tax exempt, non-profit status, such as 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4). Two weeks ago, Lerner made the situation public during a press conference at a legal seminar, apologizing for such groups being placed on a ′Be-On-the-Look-Out′, or BOLO, list. She had stated that the incident was isolated to one IRS office in Cincinnati and perhaps by just a few, rogue employees. We now know that the question asked which prompted he revelation and apology was staged by Lerner and other government officials, possibly including some from the Barack Obama White House.

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Since then, more details have come to light. First, the BOLO list apparently started, by coincidence, within two days after a IRS/Treasury employee union leader, Colleen Kelley, met with Obama personally on March 31, 2010. According to the Treasury Department Inspector General probe, the BOLO list was formed on April 1 and 2 in 2010. The National Treasury Employees Union, NTEU, endorsed and supported Obama and their PAC gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-Tea Party candidates in the 2010 and 2012 elections according to The Daily Caller and other sources.

Between the summers of 2010 and 2011, the BOLO list effectively prevented Tea Party, Conservative, pro-life and pro-Israel groups from obtaining a tax exempt status. The process, which normally takes less than six months, has been strung out for as long as 3 years in some cases. Written requests from IRS offices from several locations, including Washington, DC, demanded additional information from the targeted groups, such as lists of members, what books they read and personal information on family members. Coincidentally, at the same time, those filing for such status were also subjected to personal and business related tax audits, as well as investigations by other government agencies, such as OSHA.

According to the Inspector General (IG) report, Lerner, herself, began showing some concerns about the political implications of the BOLO list by the summer of 2011. At her request, the ′search criteria′ was to be revised and made less obvious. By January 2012, the new revisions were put in place. A month later, the IRS stopped sending out the intrusive letters demanding more and more information. But the process was still delayed in giving 501(c) status to the affected groups. By late March, 2012, Congress began to take notice of the situation and the Treasury Department IG began its own investigation.

In May, 2012, the IRS changed the search criteria yet again. It was at this time that former IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman claims he first learned about the BOLO list. Appearing before a Senate committee this week, Shulman claims that his reaction was to order employee workshops to train employees on rules and procedures. Fast forward to April, 2013. With the IG report due to be released soon, the White House counsel office apparently first learns of the targeting. Together with officials from the Treasury Department and Obama′s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, begin developing a strategy on how best to handle the IG report once it is made public. It was during this series of meetings between April 16 through 22 when the plan to reveal the IRS actions to the public via a staged question put to Lois Lerner during the press conference.

So it is no surprise that Lois Lerner, an IRS official, takes the Fifth Amendment today when she appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday. Did she lie to Congress during previous appearances? Her lawyer says no. But it is obvious that she is in hot water now and the last thing she wants to do is give Rep. Darrell Issa any ammunition on the IRS scandal. The Tea Party and other Conservative groups that were affected by the BOLO list have rejected the apology given by Lois Lerner and some groups are filing law suits. The IRS scandal has put Barack Obama and his White House administration staff into full damage control.