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    Will the Contempt Vote Make Lois ‘Lerner’ Lesson?

    Yesterday’s vote to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress represents another step forward in the ongoing quest to hold the agency accountable for the discrimination it practiced against conservative non-profit groups in the 2012 presidential election.

    It was Lerner who first confessed to the scandal, a carefully orchestrated admission to get ahead of the story before it came out on its own, but since that fateful day Ms. Lerner has steadfastly refused to offer further clarification as to what actually happened and under whose orders. Was it the discretionary actions of a few drones, inappropriately taking matters into their own hands and allowing their political biases to inform their decision making? Or was it a more systematic policy, passed down to agency officials from a higher office as a way of ensuring that the president win his reelection campaign?

    Until Lerner can be persuaded to speak, it is unlikely we will find out for sure. No one else at the IRS is talking, and Attorney General Eric Holder seems unenthusiastic about pursuing an investigation that may well implicate people he works for. This is despite a formal request from the House Ways and Means Committee requesting the Justice Department look at prosecuting Lerner on criminal charges.

    While Lerner justified her silence by invoking the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, there is disagreement over whether this protection actually applies. The Constitution stipulates that the Fifth Amendment applies in criminal trials, and because Lerner was testifying only before Congress, a body with no legal authority to charge her with a crime, there was no danger of self-incrimination, and hence no right against it. With this in mind, the contempt vote is encouraging for those of us hoping for answers on the roots of this outrageous abuse of power.

    The next step will be for the Justice Department to bring criminal charges. Even without Lerner’s willingness to testify, a continuing string of leaked emails may yet provide the evidence necessary for a conviction. But putting Lois Lerner in jail will not get to the root of the problem. A more preferable outcome would be an open and honest testimonial in which she explains exactly what she knew and when she knew it.

    The contempt vote itself is largely symbolic and unlikely to have any immediate effects. It must be remembered that Eric Holder himself was held in contempt of Congress nearly two years ago over his involvement in the Fast and Furious gun running scandal, seemingly without consequence to himself. Still, the vote is important to keep the story alive and keep the pressure on Lerner to provide an explanation for her actions.

    The benefit of the continuing investigation is that it gives Ms. Lerner more chances to finally come clean and tell the truth. As soon as the case hits a dead end, the investigation will be finished and we will never hear another word about the abuses of the IRS or their origin. The scandal will be swept into the dustbin of history with all the other unproven crimes committed by the government against its people over the years.

    When federal regulatory agencies are given as much discretionary power as the IRS has, it is vital that there be accountability and transparency to the American people. This investigation is important to shed light on what really happens in the regulatory state, and we can only hope that Lerner will eventually choose to cooperate, for her sake and for ours.

    21 comments
    SelFREEliance.com's picture
    Shawn Breshears
    05/12/2014

    Boehner let her off the hook. Wish we had some men and women of great courage and conviction but alas.... just a bunch of politicians. This guy wins a primary and a couple of days later does this? Pitiful, just pitiful.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    I was RIGHT - sadly as usual. Boehner will refuse to do a dang thing about it.

    Thanx Boehner you slug.

    bobmann101's picture
    bobmann101
    05/11/2014

    Boehner does not have the balls to do what Congress can do so he bounces the ball over to Holder who will, I believe say the evidence was planted and bogus.

    Gary Patterson's picture
    Gary Patterson
    05/11/2014

    Rhino Boehner will do nothing - Big Mouth - No Guts

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    Sadly, Lerner will only get a slap on the proverbial wrist. p.u.

    Congress has no teeth.

    freedomfevers's picture
    freedomfevers
    05/11/2014

    100% of the groups targeted were conservative, 'kanawah'. You need to do some research and then you will see why Lerner's actions were not only egregious but CRIMINAL. This should not be a partisan issue. If any party other than Dems had pulled something like this off, the media and Dems alike would be losing their minds.

    Lerner needs to have her 'retirement pay' cut off. The only taxpayer dollars being paid should be for her orange jumpsuit and a cell. And, IMHO, Elijah Cummings needs a cell right next to hers.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    Paradoxically it IS a partisan issue. Only real Americans and conservatives were targeted - not criminals, democrats or other communists.

    Ricalsin's picture
    Ricalsin
    05/11/2014

    As a society, what do we do with minds like @kanawah ?? Do we allow such intellectual apathy and disregard for pure facts and evidence to go unabated in the desire for freedom for all? Really? This intellect is 'okay' with the political targeting of those with an opposing view - which is the beginning of a 'regime' more than the continuance of a democratic society. Combine the IRS targeting of conservatives and a scandal to change a narrative on the US media (Benghazi) for political reasons and you - most likely - have a President who should NOT be in office today. Yet, the mind of @kanawah is okay with all of this even while it takes away the freedoms (via representation) of approximately half the country.

    Conservatives need to get off the bandwagon of typical right-wing agendas and address the limp reasoning of those like @kanawah. The evidence and facts are so overwhelming but the ability to properly articulate the conservative response is still desperately weak. Why? How can we not beat back such pathetic reasoning? How is it that such beliefs by someone like @kanawah are not laughable in the public square? People with this sort of intellect should be ashamed to post anything for fear of being labeled an 'idiot-ist'. Instead, we have weak-minded conservatives who are afraid to bring a message of personal responsibility and accountability to a populace who desperately needs to hear it. Lois Lerner should be held in contempt for what she did. That's little league reasoning and values, plain and simple. The bigger effort is making people like @kanawah understand that hiding in the shadows and yelling absolute nonesense while riding the freedom to be an idiot in this country is not without public ridicule, contempt and disrespect. Tolerance is beautiful and needed. It shows a more powerful character that is more fully developed. But tolerance has no value if ethics are not espoused and esteemed.

    I desperately hope that there is a crop of new conservative thinkers who are willing to run for political office (yuck) and who take pride in articulating the values that make life beautiful while artfully learning the skill to disparage the intellectual reasons of those who seek to disregard all facts and evidence that clearly shows corruption in our midst. Stop playing intellectual ping-pong with those who do not deserve to be in the same league. If you want to be in the major leagues than learn how to trounce those who walked on the field but who do not belong. In the end, it will help liberals send forth more educated people to articulate the much needed liberal side to our system. Presently, they are throwing up lightweights and getting away with it.

    Curtis Edward Turner's picture
    Curtis Edward Turner
    05/11/2014

    Prosecute Lois Lerner! She preferentially favored left wing groups and denied Tea party, conservative and constitutional groups at the behest of Barak Obama. Equal justice under the law is the standard. Not arbitrary justice such as we have seen with the Eric Holder's Department of Justice! We have many laws that Eric Holder has said we will not bother to enforce . . . like immigration laws as just one example! So the elephant crap is all over the face of this evil administration.

    kanawah's picture
    kanawah
    05/11/2014

    This is just more elephant crap. If anything Learner was "derelict" in her duty by not going after ALL groups with a tax exempt status that in ANY WAY touched politics.
    There were no consecutive groups that were denied, but there were 3 progressive groups.

    This is just another teatard witch hunt.

    wolfen244's picture
    wolfen244
    05/11/2014

    so ken ya kanawah, you DO admit that she did go after certain groups? Nice try you bag of ken yan, kommie krapola.

    only 3 progressive groups? try 1000 George Soros groups that just slid by because they were communist...er, sorry I mean Marxist...er, sorry I mean socialist...er, sorry I mean progressive groups.

    EstebanP's picture
    EstebanP
    05/11/2014

    Seriously? If no corruption then why plead the 5th? Hiding something? Protecting someone?