A former Internal Revenue Service attorney who now works in the White House counsel’s office will appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Tuesday to answer questions about former IRS official Lois Lerner’s missing emails.
The committee had last week requested White House attorney Jennifer O’Connor appear at Tuesday’s hearing. After the Obama administration objected, the committee announced Monday that it was subpoenaing her.
The White House subsequently dropped its objection and will allow her to appear, the Wall Street Journal reported. White House counsel Neil Eggleton said in a letter to to the committee that O’Connor “will be pleased” to attend the hearing.
Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he was sorry it reached the point of a subpoena.
“A year ago, when news broke that the IRS had targeted Americans because of their political beliefs, President Obama pledged, ‘we will work with Congress as it performs its oversight role.’” Issa said in a statement before the White House relented.
“I’m disappointed that one year later, the White House has attempted to block this Committee’s first request for voluntary cooperation from a White House official,” Issa continued. “Before her promotion to the White House, Ms. O’Connor led the response to the Congressional targeting inquiry and she is uniquely qualified to explain why attorneys did not focus on and flag Lerner’s ‘lost’ e-mails at the outset.”
O’Connor began working for the White House counsel’s office earlier this year. From May 2013 until November 2013, she worked for the IRS to help the agency navigate the scandal over the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups.
In the letter last week requesting her testimony, Issa explained her central role in overseeing production of IRS documents – including emails – to Congress.
“In this position, you had a direct and substantial role in the IRS’s response to congressional requests for documents, including documents sent or received by Ms. Lerner,” Issa wrote. “In fact, IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins, when asked who was supervising the collection of, ‘documents relating to the committee’s requests for material,’ responded ‘Tom Kane and Jennifer [O’Connor] are the two I would identify as the key supervisors.’”
O’Connor was a senior aide to Clinton deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes during the 1990s.
TheBlaze Furnace Editor Pete Kasperowicz joined Editor in Chief Scott Baker on today’s BlazeCast: