Issa releases scathing report on Lerner

posted at 10:41 am on March 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

One of the enduring mysteries of the IRS scandal — at least if one listens to MSNBC and other media outlets who think of it as a “phony scandal” — is why Lois Lerner took the Fifth twice when called to testify to it. People invoke the Fifth Amendment to keep from incriminating themselves through their own testimony, which is a basic human right recognized by the Constitution. The use of it by a high-ranking government official when questioned by Congress about activities conducted during official duties does, however, strongly suggest that something illegal was going on, even if the invocation of the right itself cannot be used as evidence in trial. After all, if the scandal has no basis in fact and the IRS was just doing its job, then Lerner should have no problem testifying on how she performed her duties — information which Congress is entitled to demand.

House Oversight chair Darrell Issa issued a 141-page report yesterday which clarified why Lerner was so keen to avoid testifying. In what the Washington Post called a “scathing” account of her actions, the majority report from Oversight accuses Lerner of obstruction and misleading Congress, while attacking conservative groups and attempting to hide her activities from scrutiny:

Rep. Darrell Issa issued scathing conclusions Tuesday about Lois Lerner’s involvement in the Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of advocacy groups.

The California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a 141-page report saying Lerner “led efforts to scrutinize conservative groups while working to maintain a veneer of objective enforcement.” He also accused her of obstructing the oversight committee’s investigation and misleading Congress. …

Issa’s report said Lerner was trying to undermine the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

“The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year-old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns, and everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it,” Lerner said at a Duke University forum in 2010. “The Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix it.”

Issa said Lerner made “false or misleading statements” to the panel by denying in February 2012 that the IRS changed its screening criteria and by saying the agency’s review methods did not exceed its usual standards.

The IG’s audit found that Ler­ner ordered her division to alter the screening criteria in June 2011 because they focused too much on groups’ policy positions. It also determined that the agency overreached in seeking donor information from nonprofit groups.

Other IRS officials told the panel they could not remember such previous donor requests.

The report itself pulls no punches about Lerner’s activities:

When Congress asked Lerner about a shift in criteria, she flatly denied it along with allegations about disparate treatment.15 Even as targeting continued, Lerner engaged in a surreptitious discussion about an “off-plan” effort to restrict the right of existing 501(c)(4) applicants to participate in the political process through new regulations made outside established protocols for disclosing new regulatory action.16 E-mails obtained by the Committee show she and other seemingly like-minded IRS employees even discussed how, if an aggrieved Tea Party applicant were to file suit, the IRS might get the chance to showcase the scrutiny it had applied to conservative applicants.17 IRS officials seemed to envision a potential lawsuit as an expedient vehicle for bypassing federal laws that protect the anonymity of applicants denied tax exempt status.18 Lerner surmised that Tea Party groups would indeed opt for litigation because, in her mind, they were “itching for a Constitutional challenge.”19

Through e-mails, documents, and the testimony of other IRS officials, the Committee has learned a great deal about Lois Lerner’s role in the IRS targeting scandal since the Committee first issued a subpoena for her testimony. She was keenly aware of acute political pressure to crack down on conservative-leaning organizations. Not only did she seek to convey her agreement with this sentiment publicly, she went so far as to engage in a wholly inappropriate effort to circumvent federal prohibitions in order to publicize her efforts to crack down on a particular Tea Party applicant. She created unprecedented roadblocks for Tea Party organizations, worked surreptitiously to advance new Obama Administration regulations that curtail the activities of existing 501(c)(4) organizations – all the while attempting to maintain an appearance that her efforts did not appear, in her own words, “per se political.”

Lerner’s testimony remains critical to the Committee’s investigation. E-mails dated shortly before the public disclosure of the targeting scandal show Lerner engaging with higher ranking officials behind the scenes in an attempt to spin the imminent release of the TIGTA report.20 Documents and testimony provided by the IRS point to her as the instigator of the IRS’s efforts to crack down on 501(c)(4) organizations and the singularly most relevant official in the IRS targeting scandal. Her unwillingness to testify deprives Congress the opportunity to have her explain her conduct, hear her response to personal criticisms levied by her IRS coworkers, and provide vital context regarding the actions of other IRS officials. In a recent interview, President Obama broadly asserted that there is not even a “smidgeon of corruption” in the IRS targeting scandal.21

If this is true, Lois Lerner should be willing to return to Congress to testify about her actions. The public needs a full accounting of what occurred and who was involved. Through its investigation, the Committee seeks to ensure that government officials are never in a position to abuse the public trust by depriving Americans of their Constitutional right to participate in our democracy, regardless of their political beliefs. This is the only way to restore confidence in the IRS.

John McKinnon writes at the Wall Street Journal that this looks like a proposal for a contempt charge against Lerner.  It also notes that Lerner took a particular interest in a Democrat bête noire:

The report also appears aimed at building a case for seeking to hold Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress. She has declined to answer congressional questions, citing her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

Newly disclosed emails show Ms. Lerner also took an interest in the application for tax-exempt status by Crossroads GPS, a big conservative player in the 2012 election that was co-founded by Karl Rove.

“Can you please send me a copy of the Crossroads [GPS] application? Lois wants Judy to take a look at it so she can summarize the issues for Lois,” says an IRS email from mid-2011 that is quoted in the report.

Paul Mirengoff wrote yesterday that the report shows that “[t]here can be little doubt that if Lerner were to answer Committee questions under oath, she would incriminate herself. And if she answered truthfully, she would also incriminate the administration she faithfully served.” Meanwhile, Scott Johnson points out a rather predictable gap in the coverage of the report. Be sure to catch up with Power Line’s better coverage.


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de rigueur on March 12, 2014 at 11:46 AM

I didn’t know that they could go around Holder like this. What is this process called? Where may I learn more about it?

Kaffa on March 12, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Not without many practical difficulties, however:

in many situations Congress likely will not be able to rely on the executive branch to effectively enforce subpoenas directed at executive branch officials, nor will reliance on the civil enforcement of subpoenas through the judicial branch always result in a prompt resolution of the dispute. Although subject to practical limitations, Congress retains the ability to exercise its own constitutionally based authorities to enforce a subpoena through inherent contempt. p. 50

Senate rules specifically authorize the Senate Legal Counsel to file civil action against any private individual found in contempt. If the Senate is Republican after 2014, and some kindly committee wishes to take up the IRS abuses, Lerner (as a retired and now private citizen) could face this, too.

The entire monograph, Congress’s Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure by Todd Garvey, Legislative Attorney, and Alissa M. Dolan, Legislative Attorney, August 17, 2012, CRS Report for Congress, Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress, Congressional Research Service, 7-5700 http://www.crs.gov RL34097, worth a look.

de rigueur on March 12, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Verbaluce, if the shoe were on the other foot, and this was a Democrat-lead committee investigating a Republican nominee, would you say the same thing? Come on.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on March 12, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Same as this?
Sure.
What examples do you have that you feel compare?

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Two words: special prosecutor.

Bitter Clinger on March 12, 2014 at 11:08 AM

And special prosecutors are chosen by the attorney general…in this case, eric the red holder.

Solaratov on March 12, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Sounds like evidence. DO SOMETHING!

TerryW on March 12, 2014 at 12:20 PM

lol, you posted this same thing twice. Can you re-post it a few more times?

Del Dolemonte on March 12, 2014 at 12:14 PM

You got me…in error I did post it twice.
Yep…you really, um, got me on that.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Do you or anyone really think Lerner is so evil that immunity would be letting some serious criminal avoid punishment for their dastardly deeds?
verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Yes. And if you don’t shudder at the use of a government institution with those kind of powers being used for partisan attacks then you are crazy. If this was the other way around you would not be so cavalier.

Cindy Munford on March 12, 2014 at 12:24 PM

>…can fire an employee for failing to cooperate with a federal investigation, even if the worker has not violated the law, according to the Houston Chronicle.

As evidenced by three recent high-profile terminations at Merrill Lynch, there’s no Fifth Amendment protection in the workplace, the Chronicle said. Two high-ranking employees were fired after refusing to cooperate with federal investigators looking into deals with Houston-based Enron Corp.

So, it seems to be up to the employer. In Lerner’s case that is the IRS which will do nothing. Thus legislation has been introduced:

Bill would make ‘taking the Fifth’ a firing offense for feds

Federal employees who refuse to answer questions in congressional hearings would have their employment terminated under a new bill proposed by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).

I like this, but I’m sure that the unions will fight against it.

Kaffa on March 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM

She has no idea what charges she faces – only that Issa is gunning for her.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Verb, do you think IRS officials should be immune from tactics and intimidation that the IRS itself is well known to use against taxpayers?

antipc on March 12, 2014 at 12:26 PM

She has no idea what charges she faces – only that Issa is gunning for her.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Nope, no idea at all!

Bless your heart.

questionmark on March 12, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Oh wow, a SCATHING REPORT!
That’ll get Lois talking.
You betcha.

Missilengr on March 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM

She has no idea what charges she faces – only that Issa is gunning for her.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Verb, do you think IRS officials should be immune from tactics and intimidation that the IRS itself is well known to use against taxpayers?

antipc on March 12, 2014 at 12:26 PM’

That’s a pretty meta line – ‘

Do you think Issa should be immune from Lerner calling him to testify at a politically motivated committee hearing?

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM

de rigueur on March 12, 2014 at 11:46 AM

I didn’t know that they could go around Holder like this. What is this process called? Where may I learn more about it?

Kaffa on March 12, 2014 at 11:58 AM

For (a lot more) more historical background, and a very interesting separation-of-powers argument that Congress (House or Senate) should be enforcing its own contempt resolutions and not referring its findings to the judiciary, see:

Executive Branch Contempt of Congress by Josh Chafetz, University of Chicago Law Review, vol. 76, pp. 1083–1156 (2009)

Here’s a summation of the “separations” argument:

If Congress may use its inherent contempt power to hold an executive branch officer in contempt, and if defiance of a subpoena may properly be treated as contempt, then how should Congress proceed against that official? We have already seen that criminal proceedings are unlikely to be available. Should Congress file a civil suit, or should it use other means? The question is one of institutional power: executive branch officials are likely to make a defense to contempt charges— for example, that their refusal to produce documents should be excused because it was pursuant to a proper invocation of executive privilege. Who, then, is the final judge of whether the invocation of executive privilege was proper: the house of Congress, or the courts?

Until the late twentieth century, the answer was clear: the legislative house is the final judge of legislative contempts. Certainly, neither the houses of Parliament nor the British monarchs ever considered submitting their disputes to the courts. The same was true of the colonial and early state legislatures, and, indeed, of the houses of Congress in their disputes with Jackson, Tyler, Fry, and Seward. The reason is both very simple and very important: these were disputes over the relative balance of executive and legislative power. Each side was con- tending for more power vis-à-vis the other. To invoke the aid of a third party is to admit weakness—to admit that one’s own authority is in- sufficient to get what one wants. This is why it is so important to view the disputes between executive authority and legislative contempt powers in their broader historical and political context: these disputes are, at their heart, about the basic contours of the constitutional divi- sion of powers. pp. 1146-1147

If for no other reason than to reassert its rights, the House ought to indict, try, convict and sentence Lerner. If Captain EO can push the boundaries of executive authority, why not the House? Give Chief Justice Roberts something to do.

de rigueur on March 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Do you think Issa should be immune from Lerner calling him to testify at a politically motivated committee hearing?

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Your saying that this is a politically motivated committee hearing disregards the facts presented in the report. Do you contend that those facts are untrue? Or that the conclusions being drawn are flawed? If the latter, why do you say so?

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on March 12, 2014 at 12:36 PM

If for no other reason than to reassert its rights, the House ought to indict, try, convict and sentence Lerner. If Captain EO can push the boundaries of executive authority, why not the House? Give Chief Justice Roberts something to do.

de rigueur on March 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Thank you. Sounds good to me.

Kaffa on March 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM

verbaluce aka verbsoutofbalance =’s Factsdon’tmatter

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 12, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Give Chief Justice Roberts something to do.

de rigueur on March 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

He’ll just designate Lerner as a tax!

cajunpatriot on March 12, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Verbaluce, if the shoe were on the other foot, and this was a Democrat-lead committee investigating a Republican nominee, would you say the same thing? Come on.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on March 12, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Same as this?

Sure.

What examples do you have that you feel compare?

verbaloon on March 12, 2014 at 12:19 PM

LOL! Insulting our intelligence again, I see.

When Oliver North and John Poindexter took the 5th before Congress, your Democrats immediately pronounced them Guilty, and demanded that they both be taken out back and shot.

In 1989, Charles Keating took the 5th before Congress. Again, your Democrats immediately pronounced him Guilty, and demanded that he be taken out back and shot.

And in 2007, Monica Goodling, an aide to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who served under George W. Bush, invoked her rights and refused to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007 about the administration’s firing of eight U.S. attorneys. Again, your Democrats immediately pronounced her Guilty, and demanded that she be taken out back and shot.

Keep shoveling!

Del Dolemonte on March 12, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Do you think Issa should be immune from Lerner calling him to testify at a politically motivated committee hearing?

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Nice dodge, but unelected public servants do not have the power to force elected congressmen to testify. And by the way, which party has been harmed by Ms Lerner and her Tea Party political witch hunt.

Now back to the question regarding intimidation.

antipc on March 12, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Do you think Issa should be immune from Lerner calling him to testify at a politically motivated committee hearing?

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Nice dodge, but unelected public servants do not have the power to force elected congressmen to testify. And by the way, which party has been harmed by Ms Lerner and her Tea Party political witch hunt.

Now back to the question regarding intimidation.

antipc on March 12, 2014 at 12:56 PM

verbaloon had to suddenly go to a “conference”.

Del Dolemonte on March 12, 2014 at 1:05 PM

If for no other reason than to reassert its rights, the House ought to indict, try, convict and sentence Lerner. If Captain EO can push the boundaries of executive authority, why not the House? Give Chief Justice Roberts something to do.

de rigueur on March 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

The article you cited was excellent. Thanks.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on March 12, 2014 at 1:11 PM

She has no idea what charges she faces – only that Issa is gunning for her.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

…I thought you guys said…this is the smart troll!…heh?

KOOLAID2 on March 12, 2014 at 1:12 PM

I’d like verby to answer some past questions. But there are so many that I can’t keep track anymore. And if I ask them he/she will say it’s off topic and refuse to answer and then disappear.

Can rogerb or one of the other troll trackers keep a list of verby’s UN-answered questions?

I wonder where those “conferences” are conducted…

oldroy on March 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Heh. verbaldouche immediately pokes at Del calling him out for posting twice and completely avoids the substantial issue. Verbie, Del takes your ass apart on a regular basis and yet you keep coming back. Maybe you need some Urbane Defeatist lessons.

Lanceman on March 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

…I thought you guys said…this is the smart troll!…heh?

KOOLAID2 on March 12, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Compared to our usual idiots like HillAREwe and libtard4life he is. He is able to form a coherent thought even if it is fallacious.

Lanceman on March 12, 2014 at 1:24 PM

She can take the 5th and avoid being forced to testify herself, but that doesn’t make all the other evidence go away. There’s enough to show that she lied to Congress, which is enough to get jail time.

Her taking the 5th impedes the investigation, but it won’t really protect her. There’s just too much evidence against her. So the most likely reason she’s taking the 5th is to protect someone else.

And those details are what Issa really wants to know.

There Goes the Neighborhood on March 12, 2014 at 1:48 PM

She has no idea what charges she faces – only that Issa is gunning for her.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

So she’s too stupid to be as high up in IRS management as she was.
She sure as he11 seems to know what she did wrong to necessitate taking the 5th.

dentarthurdent on March 12, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Do you think Issa should be immune from Lerner calling him to testify at a politically motivated committee hearing?

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Which is more politically-motivated:the hearing or the abuses that led to it..?

affenhauer on March 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Can rogerb or one of the other troll trackers keep a list of verby’s UN-answered questions?
 
oldroy on March 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

 
We stored them in every thread he’s ever participated in. Just search site:hotair.com verbaluce for the complete list.

rogerb on March 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

LOL! Insulting our intelligence again, I see.

When Oliver North and John Poindexter took the 5th before Congress, your Democrats immediately pronounced them Guilty, and demanded that they both be taken out back and shot.

In 1989, Charles Keating took the 5th before Congress. Again, your Democrats immediately pronounced him Guilty, and demanded that he be taken out back and shot.

And in 2007, Monica Goodling, an aide to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who served under George W. Bush, invoked her rights and refused to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007 about the administration’s firing of eight U.S. attorneys. Again, your Democrats immediately pronounced her Guilty, and demanded that she be taken out back and shot.

Keep shoveling!

Del Dolemonte on March 12, 2014 at 12:45 PM

‘your Democrats immediately pronounced her Guilty, and demanded that she be taken out back and shot.’ -
Ha..and I’m the one shoveling.

Monica Goodling WAS granted immunity – and then in her testimony admitted to much of what was suspected…that essentially she was a Republican hack. (She’s now married to the founder of Redstate dot com, interestingly enough.)

So why not grant Lerner immunity to see if she admits to being a Dem hack…or worse?

Poindexter and North were both convicted of serious charges.
Later, those convictions were overturned based on some immunity they’d been granted. (ACLU to the rescue there – ha.)

Anyway…again – why not grant Lerner immunity?
The Dems did just that in the cases you cite…so you’re the one being hypocritical here.

Also – do you object to Poindexter’s & North’s hubris and proven law breaking? I mean, you must just find their actions reprehensible…right?

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Can rogerb or one of the other troll trackers keep a list of verby’s UN-answered questions?

oldroy on March 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

We stored them in every thread he’s ever participated in. Just search site:hotair.com verbaluce for the complete list.

rogerb on March 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

For my recipes,
rogerb has those stored at site:foodnetwork.com verbaluce

And he keeps my watercolors at site:artnet.com verbaluce

The poems he’s still cataloging.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 3:50 PM

…I thought you guys said…this is the smart troll!…heh?

KOOLAID2 on March 12, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Come on now…you can form your own opinion.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 3:51 PM

fa*t alert! verbaloosie’s back from conference.

gracie on March 12, 2014 at 3:56 PM

OK Issa you gutless wonder put her azz in jail! Or will she treat a contempt charge with….contempt just like Holder did?

Until and unless she’s wearing dayglo orange, loses her cushy pension and is living in a government penal facility then Issa is a failure.

Send a signal you pizant and send her to jail!

I’m tired of all this kabuki theatre

neyney on March 12, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Also – do you object to Poindexter’s & North’s hubris and proven law breaking? I mean, you must just find their actions reprehensible…right?

verbaloon on March 12, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Tell us how you vigorously supported North and Poindexter’s pleading of the 5th at the time, and we’ll stop laughing at you.

And what “proof” was there that Poindexter broke the law? Take your time, and please don’t cite another gaming website!

Del Dolemonte on March 12, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Also – do you object to Poindexter’s & North’s hubris and proven law breaking? I mean, you must just find their actions reprehensible…right?

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Tell us how you vigorously supported North and Poindexter’s pleading of the 5th at the time, and we’ll stop laughing at you.

And what “proof” was there that Poindexter broke the law? Take your time, and please don’t cite another gaming website!

Del Dolemonte on March 12, 2014 at 4:50 PM

How about you stop deflecting so much.
“Gaming site!’…did you even read the piece? Do you have nothing to offer in response?

I fully support North & Poindexter taking the 5th. I don’t have the same selective respect for rights that you do.

(And I’m not gonna got OT into an Iran-Contra thread with you. Maybe Ed or Allah will offer a retro post someday. In the meantime, go to your public library and read up on the charges and the convictions.)

Meanwhile…why do you think Lerner should not be granted immunity?
Why do you object to her exercising her rights?

And how frustrated are you that Issa has nothing to offer but a rant?
A kindred spirit, it seems. Ha.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Can rogerb or one of the other troll trackers keep a list of verby’s UN-answered questions?
 
oldroy on March 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

We stored them in every thread he’s ever participated in. Just search site:hotair.com verbaluce for the complete list.
 
rogerb on March 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

For my recipes,
rogerb has those stored at site:foodnetwork.com verbaluce
 
And he keeps my watercolors at site:artnet.com verbaluce
 
The poems he’s still cataloging.
 
verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 3:50 PM

 
You should read the post again until you get the joke.

rogerb on March 12, 2014 at 5:50 PM

(And I’m not gonna got OT into an Iran-Contra thread with you. Maybe Ed or Allah will offer a retro post someday. In the meantime, go to your public library and read up on the charges and the convictions.)

verbaloon on March 12, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Already have-Poindexter’s convictions were based on statements he made under immunity.

Thanks for admitting Poindexter was in fact not proven to have broken any laws.

A+

Del Dolemonte on March 12, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Meanwhile…why do you think Lerner should not be granted immunity?

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Because she’s doing such a great job of hanging herself without it. The contradictions between Lerner’s leaked emails and eyewitness testimony and Lerner’s voluntary testimony to Issa’s committee and staff in February, April and May of 2103 were enough to produce yesterday’s staff report, “Lois Lerner’s Involvement in the IRS Targeting of Tax-Exempt Organizations,” which lists at least four Lerner lies before the committee.

Now, bear in mind, Issa’s Oversight Committee report was only released yesterday, March 11– exactly one day after the IRS agreed to release all of Lerner’s emails to the Ways and Means Committee. In other words, Issa’s committee has yet to review those about-to-be-released emails and compare them to what Lerner has already said. More shoes about to drop.

Why consider immunity for someone who’s still contradicting her own testimony? Let her hang herself a few more times first. And then– who knows?– maybe her testimony will no longer matter anyway.

And how frustrated are you that Issa has nothing to offer but a rant?

What you ignorantly describe as a rant is a pretty solid basis for the Committee to pass a resolution of contempt against Lerner:

On the morning of June 28, 2013, the Committee convened a business meeting to consider a resolution finding that Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when she made a voluntary opening statement at the Committee’s May 22, 2013, hearing entitled “The IRS: Targeting Americans for Their Political Beliefs.”77 After lengthy debate, the Committee approved the resolution by a vote of 22 ayes to 17 nays.…

Despite the fact that Lerner was compelled by a duly issued subpoena and had been warned by Chairman Issa of the possibility of contempt proceedings, and despite the Committee having previously voted that she waived her Fifth Amendment privilege, Lerner continued to assert her Fifth Amendment privilege, and refused to answer any questions posed by Members of the Committee. Chairman Issa subsequently adjourned the hearing and excused Lerner from the hearing room. At that point, it was clear Lerner would not comply with the Committee’s subpoena for testimony…

Following Lerner’s appearance before the Committee on March 5, 2014, her lawyer revealed during a press conference that she had sat for an interview with Department of Justice prosecutors and TIGTA staff within the past six months. According to the lawyer, the interview was unconditional and not under oath, and prosecutors did not grant her immunity. This interview weakens the credibility of her assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege before the Committee. More broadly, it calls into question the basis for the assertion in the first place., pp. 14-16 of the committee report

Issa’s going to offer a resolution which is going to lead to Lerner being held in contempt by the House. The ranting has just begun– but not by Issa.

de rigueur on March 12, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Just so everyone’s clear:

Issa’s committee – which released its report on Lerner yesterday, March 11th– is the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The committee to which the IRS agreed on March 10th to release Lois Lerner’s emails is Camp’s House Ways and Means Committee.

Two committees. Two separate investigations of Lerner and the IRS. I imagine they’ll trade notes before either considers immunity for Lerner. And after considering all the ways she might continue to perjure herself in testimony if they do, thereby nullifying her immunity.

de rigueur on March 12, 2014 at 6:39 PM

If I’m Lois Lerner right now, I’m seriously considering hiring me some bad-ass personal protection.

Eric in Hollywood on March 12, 2014 at 7:52 PM

If I’m Lois Lerner, right about now I’m seriously considering hiring some bad-ass personal protection.

Eric in Hollywood on March 12, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Sorry for the double post…

Eric in Hollywood on March 12, 2014 at 7:57 PM

The use of it by a high-ranking government official when questioned by Congress about activities conducted during official duties does, however, strongly suggest that something illegal was going on, even if the invocation of the right itself cannot be used as evidence in trial. After all, if the scandal has no basis in fact and the IRS was just doing its job, then Lerner should have no problem testifying on how she performed her duties — information which Congress is entitled to demand.

This same argument could be used against any defendant who avails them-self of the 5th: which is why it’s invocation is, righty, barred as evidence of guilt.

Issa’s burden was to prove his case. It would seem he’s more than overcome that burden.

Now what does he intend to do about it? My guess, nothing.

frank on March 12, 2014 at 9:13 PM

She has no idea what charges she faces – only that Issa is gunning for her.

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Perjury at least. The problem with granting her immunity is she is probably the top of the ladder of those that can be convicted. She’ll never flip on Obama, and I can’t imagine he left an e-mail trail-that would be beneath him.

You don’t give immunity to the kingpin. It makes no sense. If they give Lerner immunity, who would be punished for the crimes her testimony would reveal?

talkingpoints on March 12, 2014 at 11:19 PM

Your saying that this is a politically motivated committee hearing disregards the facts presented in the report. Do you contend that those facts are untrue? Or that the conclusions being drawn are flawed? If the latter, why do you say so?

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on March 12, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Methinks old Verb will take the fifth on this one.

Don L on March 13, 2014 at 6:59 AM

She has no idea what charges she faces – only that Issa is gunning for her. She could reveal that she deleted emails, and regardless of the reason be charged with destroying evidence. etc etc etc

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Well, this is complete crap. A list of specific and detailed questions has already been released. We already know exactly what information he wants from her, and why. The idea that she’s going to be thrown in jail for taking sick days is exactly the kind of hyperbolic theater you claim to disdain, and contrary to the facts at hand.

The Schaef on March 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM

She has no idea what charges she faces…

verbaluce on March 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Well, this is complete crap. A list of specific and detailed questions has already been released. We already know exactly what information he wants from her, and why.

The Schaef on March 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I’m not entirely sure that verbaluce understands that Lerner isn’t facing any charges– yet. (And if she continues on her present course, she potentially faces only one: contempt of Congress.) Or perhaps she does, but choses to obscure the issue with complete crap.

What Lerner is facing, as Schaef notes, are a lot of specific and detailed questions, which take up an entire section of the Oversight Committee’s staff report: “Lerner’s Testimony Is Critical to the Committee’s Investigation,” (section III, pp. 16-46), which she and her attorneys already know. But just for the fun of it, here’s the report’s list of areas on which Lerner has been requested to testify:

A. Lerner’s Post-Citizens United Rhetoric
B. Lerner’s Involvement in the Delay and Scrutiny of Tea Party Applicants
1. “Multi-Tier” Review System
2. Lerner’s Briefing on the Advocacy Cases
3. The IRS’s Internal Review
C. Lerner’s Involvement in Regulating 501(c)(4) groups “off plan”
D. IRS Discussions About Regulatory Reform
E. Lerner’s Reckless Handling Section 6013 Information
F. The Aftermath of the IRS’s Scrutiny of Tea Party Groups
1. Lerner’s Opinion Regarding Congressional Oversight
2. Tax Exempt Entities Division’s Contacts with TIGTA
3. Lerner Anticipates Issues with TIGTA Audit
4. Lerner Contemplates Retirement
5. The IRS’s Plan to Make an Application Denial Public
G. Lerner’s Role in Down-Playing the IRS’s Scrutiny of Tea Party Applications
H. Lerner’s Management Style
I. Lerner’s Use of Unofficial E-mail

Questions, lots of questions. Which she apparently had no problem answering at DOJ. So much for the Fifth.

Following Lerner’s appearance before the Committee on March 5, 2014, her lawyer revealed during a press conference that she had sat for an interview with Department of Justice prosecutors and TIGTA staff within the past six months. According to the lawyer, the interview was unconditional and not under oath, and prosecutors did not grant her immunity. This interview weakens the credibility of her assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege before the Committee. More broadly, it calls into question the basis for the assertion in the first place. Report, p.16

de rigueur on March 13, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Enough talk Issa. Do something about it. Stop worrying about what the press will say.

Old eagle on March 13, 2014 at 1:08 PM

OK, so prosecute now, deal later.

virgo on March 14, 2014 at 12:40 AM

Remember “Attack Watch”, that awful website where Obama asked people to report their neighbors and what not? I wonder how many people reported on that website got audited.

Eli Cash on March 18, 2014 at 12:17 AM

Lerner’s conduct, like that of many of <0's bureaucratic cadres, looks like malfeasance, extortion or fraud. Isn't that prosecutable in state courts? Wouldn't the states where her and others' conduct impacted citizens have jurisdiction? If a fed commits murder in Arkansas, he/she can be prosecuted in Arkansas, right?

So basically, leave Mr. Sternly Worded Letter Issa in his dusty DC dust and lets get real victims to go to their local DAs to file charges. Issue some warrants. Make some arrests. Put these scum in state general populations. See how long it takes for them to break and rat out their handlers. Minutes would be my guess.

If anyone out there really knows something about these issues, I'd love to find out more.

Ay Uaxe on April 13, 2014 at 8:35 PM

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