Tuesday, May 21, 2013

IRS official Lois Lerner To Plead the Fifth At Congressional Hearing Tomorrow

Lois Lerner, the IRS head of the tax exempt organizations division is going to plead the Fifth tomorrow in front of Darrel Issa's committee rather than answer questions on the IRS scandal:
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening – or why she didn’t reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd.

Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight committee Wednesday.

“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif. The letter, sent Monday, was obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times…

Since Lerner won’t answer questions, Taylor asked that she be excused from appearing, saying that would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.” There was no immediate word whether the committee will grant her request.

Obviously someone from the White House has spoken to her about how Presidential pardons work and what you need to do to earn them.

Let's remember what we're talking about here.No matter what Lerner's attorney says, the Fifth Amendment is only used to guard against self-incrimination for criminal acts. For starters, aside from the applicable civil-rights laws there's the Hatch Act, plus some of the IRS’s own regulations for employee conduct.She obviously has been implicated in illegal acts.

Meanwhile, Rep. Issa quite properly said no, and issued a subpoena for Lerner anyway.

This is exactly the right tactic. Let this foul government apparatchnik earn her pardon. Let her sit there sweating from every corrupt pore while Issa and the committee members grill her on the obvious lies she told when this started two weeks ago. Let her refuse to answer each question on grounds that she might incriminate herself and let the American people see.

Aside from the political theater benefits, this will set the stage for Congressman Issa to have a little chat with Lerner and her attorney afterwards about what could happen if her part in this disgraceful business comes to light from other sources, and why now might be a smart time to protect herself and make a deal.

Lest you feel sorry for Ms. Lerner's deer-in-the-headlights demeanor, keep in mind that this is not the first time she's abused an official position to try to bully and intimidate her fellow Americans for daring to exercise their constitutional rights.

Mark Hemingway at the Weekly Standard has a great piece on Lerner's behavior while she was working for the FEC. She viciously targeted the Christian Coalition, and while they were cleared eventually of any wrongdoing, they had to spend huge amounts in legal fees and expenses to fight what amounted to a jihad against them. It was so bad and so biased that according to Hemmingway's story, when the Christian Coalition's lead attorney heard she'd moved over to the IRS, he claims he remembers thinking, “Wow, this means the not for profit division is gearing up politically.”

He certainly had that right.


eeyore said...

I believe that should bureaucrat or government official take the 5th it should automatically be a fireable offense. If you have done nothing wrong, testify. If you do not want to testify, you are automatically fired or must resign. You have the right but to work for the people, you either tell what you know or are out.

this woman is garbage, but... said...

Let's remember what we're talking about here.No matter what Lerner's attorney says, the Fifth Amendment is only used to guard against self-incrimination for criminal acts.

I despise this woman as much as the next person, but she hasn't actually done anything criminal. She should be fired and never let near a position of power again, but there is no 'criminal act' here.

If I were her, I would plead the fifth as well. There's a criminal investigation going on and there's simply no upside to answering a single question put to her by congress. Any verbal miscue she makes will derail the investigation and her lawyers are smart to shut her up. ESPECIALLY since she made that stupid statement about 'not being good at math'. She obviously can't think quickly on her feet. Any brain fart she has on Capitol Hill could end up putting innocent people's job on the block.

Tantric Logic said...

Aside from the laws mentioned in the article, lying to Congress under oath is a criminal act, and she obviously did just that. That's why Issa had her look over her earlier testimony and acknowledge it this AM.

I can't see how you or anyone else would say she 'did nothing criminal'.

Also, any screw ups she made will help, not hurt the investigation which is why she's keeping her mouth shut. It will come out later that she pied under oath, and that will give Issa a chance to see if he can turn her, just like they did with John Dean.