On a day when Senator Hatch accused a lawyer (Steven Miller) of lying by omission for failing to correct earlier false statements to Congress, we are told that another lawyer (Lois Lerner, whose job at the IRS was apparently not a legal job per se) will take the Fifth Amendment rather than testify before Congress. I completely support her right to assert that right and my sense is that she's smart to do so. But as I listened to Miller unconvincingly defend his decision not to tell Congress about the prior false statements (even as Miller responded to Congress on related questions), both Fisons and Qualcomm kept coming to mind.
I have to wonder if all those lawyers (including Douglas Shulman) wish they could have a do-over, go back in time, and tell themselves, "now that we know that the IRS has been giving untruthful answers to Congress on a question that Congress keeps asking us over and over, let's correct it right away, to the Congress itself." It always seem obvious in hindsight. It's also curious to see that "doing the right thing" would have been "doing the thing that protects me the most" -- but, for whatever reason, that's not what they did.
UPDATE: As I was listening to Miller respond to Senator Hatch, his response reminded me of a lawyer at law & motion when he/she got caught carefully not producing the one "hot doc" that the other side had been asking for repeatedly. Miller asserted to Hatch that he had no duty to correct the prior false responses the IRS had sent to the Congress and that when the Congress asked closely related questions Miller was justified in sending back narrow, literally true responses that carefully omitted the one fact that Miller knew the Congress had been asking for all along. Miller, a lawyer, was acting in a non-lawyer role. Still, it's worth asking, does a government lawyer have a higher duty? If it were a lawyer's decision about whether to inform the Congress, should the lawyer do so? Or is all fair in love and inter-governmental jousting?
[edited since posting]