Star witness to be mum during House hearing on IRS

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee taking Congress' latest look at the Internal Revenue Service's mistreatment of tea party groups will apparently hold its hearing without input from its star witness.

The attorney for IRS official Lois Lerner says she will invoke her right to not answer questions when she is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Lerner heads the IRS unit that decides whether to grant tax-exempt status to groups. At a legal conference two weeks ago, she revealed for the first time that some conservative organizations were singled out for tougher treatment and apologized.

The lawyer, William W. Taylor III, informed the panel of Lerner's decision in a letter dated Monday. Taylor noted that the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into the situation.