Green Room

“She could always find a violation — at least in her opinion, or in her head.”

posted at 4:16 pm on May 24, 2013 by

A few nuggets from my chat with DC attorney Craig Engle, who worked with Lois Lerner over several years at the FEC.  She is who we thought she is:

“I would say that Lois is pro-government.  The bigger, the better.  The more demanding the regulations, the better. The larger the investigation, the better it is.  Anything that would be considered an activist government, that’s the Lois Lerner I worked with.” Engle says Lerner saw violations around every corner, even when her legal reasoning was slight.  “Under [Lerner], the general counsel’s office functioned as a prosecutor.  Nine times out of ten, her recommendations were against the respondent.  I think she was philosophically opposed to money in politics and was very much a critic of people spending money in political affairs.  She could always find a violation — at least in her opinion, or in her head.  In my opinion, her interpretation of the law was sometimes just incorrect.”

Engle goes on to say he believes Lerner is ultimately an honest person who’s gotten in over her head — an assessment some people may find hard to square with evidence like this.  Parting quotation from the piece: “Quite a coincidence, isn’t it?”

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With lots of complex & vague regulations, she probably could.

rbj on May 24, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Ms. Lerner is in violation of this statute

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-99-27.pdf

Section 1203 of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of1998 (the “RRA”) provides generally that IRS employees must be terminated from Federal employment if they violate certain rules in connection with the performance of their official duties.

and The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatch_Act_of_1939

patch on May 24, 2013 at 4:56 PM

So, she’s never met a regulation she didn’t like. Great.

skeedro on May 24, 2013 at 5:37 PM

DC attorney Craig Engle has to be diplomatic, he doesn’t want to piss off people who he has to work for or with in the future.

Considering how diplomatic he has to be for his job, these are very strong words coming from him.

kaltes on May 24, 2013 at 6:54 PM

I have found in my years that I worked in the bureaucracy that those like Ms. Lerner who have worked their all their lives lose their sense of morality and ethics. No one has fought back and won against her, so her sense of proportion and propriety has simply atrophied.

PattyJ on May 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM

She has a strong dislike for conservative money in politics. But Obama’s brother’s application whizzed through in about 35 days and was granted retroactive status for the years he took in money but hadn’t yet applied for exempt status.

Sure she is against money in politics. Don’t build her up to be some reformer. She is a arrogant partisan.

65droptop on May 24, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Increasingly it seems like term limits should apply not just to elected officials but to federal employment overall. Ten years max then go get a productive job.

SoRight on May 24, 2013 at 9:10 PM

If she’s against money in politics, I’d love to read all the files she had on George Soros. However, I believe she was really against certain money in politics.

bflat879 on May 25, 2013 at 8:10 AM

I have found in my years that I worked in the bureaucracy that those like Ms. Lerner who have worked their all their lives lose their sense of morality and ethics. No one has fought back and won against her, so her sense of proportion and propriety has simply atrophied.

PattyJ on May 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Having recruited college students in the private sector, I can only think of 3 reasons anybody would work for the federal gov’t. #1 lacked the skills/personality to get hired in the private sector #2 liked the idea of a job for life with great benefits (that made up for the relatively low salary at the time) #3 true “crusaders” trying to “right the wrongs” they heard about.

teejk on May 25, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Increasingly it seems like term limits should apply not just to elected officials but to federal employment overall. Ten years max then go get a productive job.

SoRight on May 24, 2013 at 9:10 PM

I’m not actually opposed to lifetime employment for them as long as they do their jobs and have adequate oversight. I just think there should be as few of them as we can possibly get away with having.

trigon on May 25, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Engle emphasizes that he believes Lerner to be an honest woman who’s in over her head. “I think Lois Lerner is an honest person who has made a big mistake, and she may have said some false things in an arena that she didn’t think would hold her accountable. She hasn’t had a lot of experience in dealing directly with Congress and I’m not sure she understood the ramifications of not testifying fully before them. That lack of familiarity has made her problem a little worse. She doesn’t see it,” he says, concluding on a sympathetic note. “I feel badly for her. It’s painful to be a witness, and it’s painful to watch someone you’ve known for 30 years to go through this.”

Remember that time when an honest person unfamiliar with tax laws and FEC regulations goofed up and Lois got on the soapbox and begged for less complexity in our laws?

Neither do I.

Of course, the only rule she had to follow in front of congress was “don’t lie”. That’s a tough one, eh?

CycloneCDB on May 25, 2013 at 5:16 PM

I’m not actually opposed to lifetime employment for them as long as they do their jobs and have adequate oversight. I just think there should be as few of them as we can possibly get away with having.

trigon on May 25, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Why? Who in the private sector (the ones that pay the wages of the public sector employees) has a guaranteed job? I read an interesting study last year about federal government employment…EPA I think…8,000 employees and not a single firing in 3 years. They are either very good/lucky in their hiring practices or they prove that it’s impossible to get rid of a bad employee.

teejk on May 25, 2013 at 5:26 PM

or they prove that it’s impossible to get rid of a bad employee.teejk on May 25, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Actually, there is a third option. There is no incentive for management to fire incompetent employees. I worked as a grievance rep for public sector union for several years. I used to beg administration and management people to document the offenses of bad employees, so that we could keep some semblance of quality control. But that would have meant more work for them, and work that would not have untitled them to those $30,000 bonuses. the main criterion in getting those bonuses is positive feedback from your underlings and superiors. the second criterion is generating lots of regulations and paperwork to prove that you’re doing something useful

notropis on May 25, 2013 at 8:32 PM

“untitled” = “entitled” tiny keys, big fingers, and crappy text to speech

notropis on May 25, 2013 at 8:35 PM

The larger the investigation, the better it is.

Now you’re being investigated, Ms Lerner. How do you like them apples?

BDavis on May 26, 2013 at 3:56 AM

I bet she owns a leather corset, and beats her husband with a riding crop.

How about Lois spending the rest of her time in a little room with chickenwire windows and heavy metal doors that lock from the outside?

And not pass “go”. And not collect $200.

papertiger on May 26, 2013 at 7:34 AM

DC attorney Craig Engle has to be diplomatic, he doesn’t want to piss off people who he has to work for or with in the future.

Exactly. For the present cabal, revealing any truths is a death knell. But, as usual re: Leftists, perjurers get a pass.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on May 26, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Mmmm at the drop of a hat she could decide guilt just by finding more ambiguous regulations that someone might have not fully understood and now she goes out and says she’s innocent. Time to pay the piper in my mind. Go after her with full force of the congress and look for something she didnt comply with and hang her out to dry

jaywemm on May 26, 2013 at 12:17 PM

She is still waiting to hear from the KGB re her employment application. Meanwhile…

pat on May 26, 2013 at 12:27 PM

She could always find a violation — at least in her opinion, or in her head. In my opinion, her interpretation of the law was sometimes just incorrect.”

/

But yet:

Engle goes on to say he believes Lerner is ultimately an honest person … .

Squaring the circle.

davidk on May 26, 2013 at 5:15 PM

I can only think of 3 reasons anybody would work for the federal gov’t. #1 lacked the skills/personality to get hired in the private sector #2 liked the idea of a job for life with great benefits (that made up for the relatively low salary at the time) #3 true “crusaders” trying to “right the wrongs” they heard about.

Having worked at both the federal (EPA) and state level (Florida), as well as the private sector, I can think of two additional reasons why someone with my educational background and training work for the “gubmint”. First, that’s where the job is and second, you want to try to change the system from within.

Robbin Hood on May 27, 2013 at 8:13 AM

It seems every gov’t employee connected to this IRS scandal is very honest but incompetent. Every political appointee or elected official is also honest but uninformed and unaware. Yes this is not like Watergate. You bet’chm Red Rider.

Herb on May 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Go after her with full force of the congress and look for something she didnt comply with and hang her out to dry

jaywemm on May 26, 2013 at 12:17 PM

I was with you up to that pesky ” . . . out to dry.”

BigAlSouth on May 27, 2013 at 3:30 PM