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Lerner To Take The Fifth, Has A History Of Bias

From the Associated Press:

Star witness to stay mum for House hearing on IRS


WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee taking Congress’ latest look at the Internal Revenue Service’s mistreatment of tea party groups will apparently have to do so without input from the star witness.

IRS official Lois Lerner will invoke her constitutional right to not answer questions on Wednesday at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, her lawyer told the panel in a letter…

Notice the contortions the AP goes through to avoid saying that Lerner is invoking the Fifth amendment. Instead, she is staying ‘mum.’

But can we plead the Fifth Amendment when we are dealing with the IRS? We don’t think so. 

One does have to wonder how testifying truthfully would tend to incriminate Ms. Lerner unless crimes were committed at the IRS while she was there, or she lied to Congress. We are pretty sure that invoking the Fifth Amendment just to avoid testifying is illegal.

In Lerner’s absence, Wednesday’s spotlight will be on another witness: Neal Wolin, the Treasury Department’s deputy secretary.

J. Russell George, a Treasury inspector general, has said he told Wolin in mid-2012 that he was investigating the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, a report that was released last week. That means Wolin was the highest-ranking Treasury official to have known about the probe during last year’s elections, making him a focus of interest for lawmakers

The AP is jumping to conclusions here. There is no reason to believe that Wolin was the highest ranking Treasury official to know about this during the elections.

Lerner’s attorney, William W. Taylor III, has requested that she be excused from Wednesday’s hearing, writing in the letter that forcing her to appear "would have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her." But the committee has subpoenaed her and panel members say they expect her to attend…

She is a government employee. A public servant. She wasn’t embarrassed to take a salary for her job, which should include some responsibility to the public.

Meanwhile, we have a little more background on Ms. Lerner, from the Weekly Standard:

IRS’s Lerner Had History of Harassment, Inappropriate Religious Inquiries at FEC

By MARK HEMINGWAY | May 20, 2013

… [P]rior to joining the IRS, Lerner’s tenure as head of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was marked by what appears to be politically motivated harassment of conservative groups.

Lerner was appointed head of the FEC’s enforcement division in 1986 and stayed in that position until 2001. In the late 1990s, the FEC launched an onerous investigation of the Christian Coalition, ultimately costing the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours in lost work. The investigation was notable because the FEC alleged that the Christian Coalition was coordinating issue advocacy expenditures with a number of candidates for office. Aside from lacking proof this was happening, it was an open question whether the FEC had the authority to bring these charges.

James Bopp Jr., who was lead counsel for the Christian Coalition at the time, tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD the Christian Coalition investigation was egregious and uncalled for. "We felt we were being singled out…

Bopp further detailed the extent of the inquiry in testimony delivered before the congressional Committee on House Administration in 2003:

The FEC conducted a large amount of paper discovery during the administrative investigation and then served four massive discovery requests during the litigation stage that included 127 document requests, 32 interrogatories, and 1,813 requests for admission. Three of the interrogatories required the Coalition to explain each request for admission that it did not admit in full, for a total of 481 additional written answers that had to be provided. The Coalition was required to produce tens of thousands of pages of documents, many of them containing sensitive and proprietary information about finances and donor information. Each of the 49 state affiliates were asked to provide documents and many states were individually subpoenaed. In all, the Coalition searched both its offices and warehouse, where millions of pages of documents are stored, in order to produce over 100,000 pages of documents.

Furthermore, nearly every aspect of the Coalition’s activities has been examined by FEC attorneys from seeking information regarding its donors to information about its legislative lobbying. The Commission, in its never-ending quest to find the non-existent “smoking gun,” even served subpoenas upon the Coalition’s accountants, its fundraising and direct mail vendors, and The Christian Broadcasting Network

The Christian Coalition was ultimately absolved of any FEC wrongdoing in 1999, and Lerner was promoted to acting General Counsel at the FEC in 2001 before eventually moving on to the IRS…

All of which makes perfect sense. The Obama administration wouldn’t want to someone in her position who didn’t have the right kind of background.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Lerner To Take The Fifth, Has A History Of Bias”

  1. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    You cannot have done anything wrong as Mrs. Lerner claims and still claim the right not to incriminate yourself. If a normal person refused to testify, even when they would incriminate his or herself they would be held in contempt and jailed. Just ask Ryan Weemer and Jermaine Nelson what happens when the government wants to make an example out of you. Of course they were honorable Marines doing their duty, Mrs. Lerner is loathsome liberal operative subverting conservatives freedom of speech, association, due process, and equal protection (that is the first, fifth (isn’t irony ironic), and 14th amendments for those of you following at home). I’m sure Obama will give her a medal.

  2. Petronius says:

    How ironic that the right against self-incrimination should be used to protect Lois Lerner, a woman who –– both at the IRS and FEC –– interrogated innocent Americans about their religious beliefs and the contents of their prayers with the object of forcing them into making self-incriminating statements that she might then use against them.

    In the reign of Charles I (r. 1625-1649), the royal prerogative courts of Star Chamber and High Commission were used by the King and Archbishop William Laud to persecute Protestant dissenters.

    The Court of High Commission was used as a weapon aimed at the English Puritans and at the Covenantors in Scotland and Ireland.

    Suspects were called before the Court of High Commission to be questioned about their religious beliefs, and if their answers were deemed unsatisfactory they were convicted of heresy and sentenced to criminal punishments. The Star Chamber and the Court of High Commission thus became one of the chief causes of the Puritan immigration to America and the English Civil War, and by their victory the Puritans and Presbyterians abolished the prerogative courts and won their right against self-incrimination.

    Thereafter the right against self-incrimination became embedded in the English Bill of Rights (1689), and, after the American colonies won their independence, it was then folded into the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution (1791).

    And so now the IRS –– like the Star Chamber and the Court of High Commission of old –– abuses its powers in order to interrogate the American descendants of Puritans, Scots, and Scot-Irish Covenantors about their religious beliefs, even about the contents of their prayers, seeking to entrap them in a tangle of words, while using the Fifth Amendment to shield themselves from prosecution.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I suppose what galls me the most is how national socialists hide behind the law when it suits them, after usurping or completely ignoring other laws to do as they damn well please.

    But on a personal note, this is exactly the abuse of power I have witnessed and b*tched about for years. I have a particularly sensitive nerve when it comes to this kind of thing and I’m an finely tuned to it.

    Perhaps the most maddening thing is when those in positions of great responsibility act above-it-all and ignore the rules they enforce on the day-to-day workers. Quite prevalent in the company in which I work.

    It’s not that the national socialists invented the double-standard; It’s that they’ve perfected it to such a fine art.


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