Issa: Americans deserve to hear from Lerner under oath, not in the press

Upon the infamous Lois Lerner opening up about her, ahem, persecution to Politico, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa had this to say:

“The American people deserve the opportunity to hear Lois Lerner’s testimony under oath,” said Chairman Issa. “If Lerner had nothing to hide and did nothing wrong in the IRS targeting scandal, she would have chosen to answer basic questions about her conduct instead of obstructing Congress’ investigation. Her decision to make unsubstantiated claims to a media outlet while claiming Fifth Amendment protections from answering Congress’ questions is telling. She appears to have great confidence that her allies in the Obama Administration will not consider legal action after she resigned and declined to discuss the IRS’ actions against private citizens.”

The fact that Lerner and John Koskinen give off not one whiff of regret or misgiving about the fact that their agency admittedly and demonstrably abused its immense power by cracking down on certain Americans for their political beliefs tells you all you need to know about this agency and the people who run it. It is frightening. Even Eric Holder and President Obama have conceded at various times that behavior at the IRS was wrong. At the very least, even if one concedes the ludicrous idea that the agency “did nothing wrong,” despite its own personnel admitting it did something wrong and investigations turning up all the things it did wrong, you’d have to concede that the record-keeping at the IRS is so incredibly irresponsible and problematic as to be literally illegal. And, that it falls just several football fields short of the standards it requires regular Americans uphold. Shouldn’t there be just a modicum of shame for even that barest of minimal admissions?

Nope. Instead, the people who oversaw these records, which conveniently disappeared on the watch of the very people who would have had the records of their own misconduct, get to be the subjects of long Politico pieces with more regret for the fully pensioned and formerly on paid vacation than Lerner had for any of the people whose rights she trampled. This. Town.

Enjoy David Harsanyi’s antidote to the notion that Lerner is a victim, which gives all the perspective of publicly known facts that Politico‘s reporter on this hot, hot story was not curious about when sitting across from its principal:


Of course, Lerner is political

In addition to spending a thousand words highlighting Lerner’s humanity and professionalism, Politico also makes it a point to indicate that many people believe that she isn’t particularly political. A woman who calls conservatives “crazies” and “assholes” in government emails might be doing exemplary and impartial work – she may even have a point – but one thing she is not is apolitical.

Lerner’s husband continued on this theme in the piece, asserting that under “both Republican and Democratic administrations, she got these amazing ratings and bonuses.” What isn’t mentioned is Lerner’s history of harassment and inappropriate ideological inquiries during her tenure at the FEC. But, even if she had an perfect history, so what? A near-lifetime of exemplary service does not excuse wrongdoing. Moreover, Lerner targeted conservative groups as the administration made a huge political issue of the Citizens United decision, which became the centerpiece of a political effort that accused conservatives of buying elections. Lerner agreed with the administration, according to the emails we do have, cheered on those who tried to work around the decision and then put her beliefs into practice. Of course it was political.


Update:
Steve Hayes runs through some of the things the Politico reporter could have asked: