Patterico's Pontifications

3/5/2014

Lois Lerner Takes the Fifth Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am

Who is surprised, besides Darrell Issa?

A former IRS official at the center of the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups refused Wednesday to testify on her supposed role in the scandal.

Lois Lerner repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during the House Oversight Committee’s hearing, prompting Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to adjourn the meeting.

So what are you gonna do about it, Issa?

My bold prediction: nothing.

Congress has no real power any more.

79 Responses to “Lois Lerner Takes the Fifth Again”

  1. this reptile Lerner
    sheesh not even smidgen of
    Truth or Decency

    Colonel Haiku (0466d2)

  2. Cummings you nitwit
    the IRS criminals
    Their rogue agency

    Colonel Haiku (0466d2)

  3. these goddam people
    they’re nothing but racketeers
    justice means “just us”

    Colonel Haiku (0466d2)

  4. Why the big stalemate on this issue?

    Issa needs to flip someone lower in the food chain at the IRS.

    Patricia (be0117)

  5. When someone writes an post he/she keeps the plan of a user in his/her mind that how a user can be aware of it.
    Therefore that’s why this paragraph is great. Thanks!

    I'm broke and I need money (42dd97)

  6. All that money they spend on the cafeteria and they can’t keep he indefinitely in the klink?

    Darrell you are a sham.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  7. She refuses to waive her 5th amendment right, err her 6 figure government payoff pension for the likes of Darrel Issa.

    in_awe (7c859a)

  8. Issa is,has been a total farce in all of his “investigations”.
    Blame the tea-bagging morons for this.

    mg (31009b)

  9. Rush said Issa turned off Cummings microphone…any word on that??

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  10. I don’t know enough about the ins and outs of this, other than that I know Hewitt has advocated for a “Select Committee” that I guess has heightened subpoena powers or such…

    But, it does give a rebuttal to the claim of the one and Holder that there was no criminal activity.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  11. Besides purusing contempt against Lerner, the GOP should zero out the IRS budget for FY15 and refuse to pass any budget that includes IRS funding until the IRS cooperates.

    And impeachment proceedings should begin against Holder as well.

    SPQR (d25bb5)

  12. MD–see Hotair concerning the mic shut-off.

    elissa (6fe1df)

  13. The House already held Holder in contempt and, as far as I can tell, nothing happened with that. I think it’s appropriate for the House to consider contempt proceedings against Lerner but I’m not sure what difference it will make.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  14. I think Lerner is the lowest common denominator in the IRS scandal. People beneath her have already told what they know, but it isn’t enough to show more than incompetence or petty politics. The question is whether Lerner can and will incriminate people above her. My guess is she can but she won’t. If so, there’s not much point in giving her immunity because that could mean everyone, including Lerner, will walk.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  15. Actually, they never really had any power in the first place. The only power they did have (the power of the purse) they gave away.

    The balance of powers only works if moral people are in the leadership positions and obey the law and the intent.

    We don’t have that anymore.

    It’s just that NOW it’s obvious to everyone what the reality is.

    jakee308 (e940d5)

  16. Lois Lerner keeps taking the fifth, and it sounded like Congressman Cummings drank a fifth. Or something.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  17. What jakee308 said.

    So, it will be a Whitewaterwash.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  18. I don’t understand why they don’t get her immunity in exchange for her testimony. But in the alternative, why not call her in every month for as long as possible. The GOP Senate can do the same next year.

    No harm in it. An IRS leader pleading the fifth over and over when asked about persecuting Obama opponents is not exactly harmful to the GOP’s interests (aside from the chance it might get the IRS off the Tea party’s back before the GOP primaries).

    Dustin (303dca)

  19. Issa said that when he cut-off Cummings’ mike, Cummings was in the process of making a personal attack upon him for conducting an ineffectual investigation.
    Issa didn’t need to hear that, it’s been all over the blogosphere for months if not longer.
    Issa should step down and Boehner should appoint Trey Gowdy as Chairman.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  20. I see DRJ answered my question in #15.

    I guess I don’t see how trying giving Lerner immunity is any worse than what we see today. Any answer that doesn’t expose Lerner criminally (but for the plea agreement) would be an obvious lie.

    I guess she could just insist she was the sole bad guy and ride that immunity, but still, same effect as what we see today.

    Dustin (303dca)

  21. Dustin,

    I don’t see value in granting immunity as long as the emails keep coming out that show who was in the loop and privy to or involved in incriminating statements. Letting this drag out is tough to see but it’s basically still in the discovery phase. It’s worth it to wait and see what turns up, because seeing the emails helps the investigators decide who to believe.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  22. She would still be liable for perjury. If I were advising her … I see no upside to negotiating for immunity*, if they force it down her throat she can look at her options then. Otherwise, she’s better off sitting tight.

    *I believe Congress can only give her use immunity — what she says and the fruits therefrom cannot be used against her — not transactional immunity which would be much more tempting.

    nk (dbc370)

  23. I agree it’s in Lerner’s interest to play for more time. My interest is in finding out who above Lerner was involved. I don’t see her implicating anyone if she thinks she can get away with it. TI could certainly be missing something but, to me, the investigators need more leverage to make immunity work.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  24. 20-askeptic- Best idea I have read anywhere.

    mg (31009b)

  25. 24. …I don’t see her implicating anyone if she thinks she can get away with it.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 3/5/2014 @ 12:31 pm

    She expects to be rewarded for this. And no doubt she will be.

    Why should she roll?

    Steve57 (2991b6)

  26. http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/03/05/issa-walks-out-of-irs-scandal-hearing-as-cummings-calls-proceedings-un-american/

    “I am tired of this,” Cummings continued, as Issa signaled to have his microphone cut off. “You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that, and it is absolutely un-American.”

    The gospel according to the left: it is “un-American” to hold the IRS accountable for its abuses of power.

    You heard it here first.

    Steve57 (2991b6)

  27. There is a pending federal lawsuit filed by dozens of conservative organizations against the government. Ultimately, I think discovery in that lawsuit will reveal even more incriminating documents. If Lerner is as involved in this scandal as it seems she is, why should she get immunity unless she’s willing to implicate higher-ups?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  28. I don’t see value in granting immunity as long as the emails keep coming out that show who was in the loop and privy to or involved in incriminating statements. Letting this drag out is tough to see but it’s basically still in the discovery phase. It’s worth it to wait and see what turns up, because seeing the emails helps the investigators decide who to believe.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 3/5/2014

    That does seem right. And what we see here, a repeated admission of criminal behavior (sure, technically that’s not quite right, but that is what she’s saying) is a powerful thing on its own.

    Dustin (303dca)

  29. I think it’s appropriate for the House to consider contempt proceedings against Lerner but I’m not sure what difference it will make.

    I am usually dead-set against the state using its unlimited financial and manpower resources to harass a private citizen who may end up draining his or her bank account mounting a defense, but I think in this case I’ll make an exception.

    JVW (9946b6)

  30. I heard the clip, though I don’t remember it exactly. Issa was closing the meeting, then allowed Cummings the floor to ask a question. Since he had no question, Issa said that statements had been closed, turned off the mic, and left.

    3 Cheers for Issa, from what I can tell.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  31. Dustin:

    And what we see here, a repeated admission of criminal behavior (sure, technically that’s not quite right, but that is what she’s saying) is a powerful thing on its own.

    You think like Jay Sekulow because that’s what he said today in response to Lerner’s appearance today. Specifically, he said that while you can’t use her invoking the 5th Amendment against her in court, you can use it in the court of public opinion — and that has great value in this case.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  32. Lois Lerner’s lawyer says she fears for her life if she testifies. It shore would be interesting to know what she is afraid of and who she thinks might do her in–and why.

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/04/lois-lerner-fears-for-her-life-if-she-testifies-at-wednesdays-oversight-hearing/

    elissa (6fe1df)

  33. The question about whether or not Lois Lerner was admitting criminal behavior goes to whether or not she had waived her 5th amendment rights.

    Lawyers have created a general 5th amendment
    right not to testify, a right not to be interrogated, that doesn’t carry with it an implication that answering the question truthfully would amount to admitting a crimeal act, but also have claimed that is only valid if you don’t say anything – and Lois Lerner delivered a statement last time.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  34. Powerful up to a point, but watch how it’s spun to make the idiot Cummings out to be the silenced victim thus taking the focus off the criminal doings of Lerner and the IRS.

    Colonel Haiku (2a6b1c)

  35. The people cry out…Frog March!

    PerfectSense (4d5c72)

  36. Cummings started yelling something about “we are a better country than this” before Issa shut him down.

    I agree. We’re supposed to be a better country than a banana republic that weaponizes its tax collection agency against its enemies*.

    * (Obama’s term for his opposition)

    Dave (in MA) (037445)

  37. Ever since they got Al Capone, the IRS has had way too high an opinion of itself.

    I blame Eliot Ness.

    JVW (9946b6)

  38. to mere peasants, no hearing is warranted, to the elect, who push toward making getting effective intelligence impossible, that’s another matter entirely,

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/05/cia-reportedly-asks-justice-dept-to-investigate-allegations-spying-on-senate/

    narciso (3fec35)

  39. I don’t really see why Issa cut off Cummings’ statement. After all, all they do in DC is talk. They should have a very high threshold for listening to someone ramble on and on, no matter how annoying or rude it seems. Also, I’m sure the Democrats will portray this as racist, McCarthyite House Republicans. But one problem the Democrats have with their constant barrage of victimization is that there will always be a new victim story to focus on, so today’s story will be forgotten.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  40. Radio Shack is closing 1,100 stores.
    Because the economy is rebounding !
    Or something.

    Just like global warming means more snow, a rebounding economy means a giant retailer will close over a thousand stores !

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  41. 29.

    I don’t see value in granting immunity as long as the emails keep coming out that show who was in the loop and privy to or involved in incriminating statements. Letting this drag out is tough to see but it’s basically still in the discovery phase. It’s worth it to wait and see what turns up, because seeing the emails helps the investigators decide who to believe.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 3/5/2014

    That does seem right. And what we see here, a repeated admission of criminal behavior (sure, technically that’s not quite right, but that is what she’s saying) is a powerful thing on its own.

    Comment by Dustin (303dca) — 3/5/2014 @ 1:52 pm

    As Trey Gowdy was explaining the other day, you don’t buy a car over the telephone.

    There is absolutely no point in granting immunity to Lois Lerner unless they know what she’s going to say. In fact, it’s stupid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYvFdyZyk40

    Steve57 (2991b6)

  42. I thought lawyers were supposed to know the answer before asking the question. What the h**l was Issa thinking — that Lerner was going to be cooperative? Unless he has something really BIG and is hiding it until whenever, he sure looks ineffective at this point.

    Rich B (5e77a9)

  43. There is actually an ethical rule that you cannot call a witness if you know he’s going to take the Fifth, but Congress is not bound by the Atorney’s Rules of Professional Conduct. When Ollie North was being grilled in Iran-Contra the committee did not even recognize attorney-client confidentiality.

    And that reminds me. Ollie only got use immunity. But he took every opportunity to go beyond the specific questions asked, to every aspect of Iran-Contra. When the Justice Department indicted him and tried him anyway, the Court threw out the case because the government’s case could not be separated from what Ollie had testified to in front of the committee. He had managed to convert his use immunity to transactional immunity.

    nk (dbc370)

  44. nk, North was actually convicted on, I believe, 3 felony counts and sentenced to several years probation, restitution, and community service.

    It took a few years for those convictions to be overturned because apparently of the issues you mention at the end of your second paragraph.

    Steve57 (2991b6)

  45. All of this legal interpretation; what did she know and when did she know? If it was good enough for Tricky Dick it must be good enough for this gal.

    highpockets (40268d)

  46. Rich B,

    I’m not sure about Congressional rules but I think Issa had to ask the questions in order to establish that Lerner was going to make a 5th Amendment claim in response. If not, then I guess he wanted her to publicly claim the 5th for the PR value.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  47. Boehner leaving Issa in the game is similar to Macnamara leaving the injured Bill Buckner play defense in the latter innings.
    Issa, for some reason reminds me of Jerry Lewis.

    mg (31009b)

  48. “Issa is,has been a total farce in all of his “investigations”.
    Blame the tea-bagging morons for this.”

    You believe this ?

    Do you set any limits to what government can do to punish its enemies ?

    Have you been audited ?

    Mike K (cd7278)

  49. mg,

    Then who’s supposed to be Dean Martin ?

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  50. we should have no doubt
    these IRS corksoakers
    are committing crimes

    Colonel Haiku (a07071)

  51. My limited understanding is that Cummings wanted the IRS hearings to end with his diatribe saying how unfair and unAmerican the whole procedure was, blah, blah.
    Issa said the time for statements had been been closed, and that since Cummings was recognized to ask a question, but did not have a question, he was cut off. I imagine Issa would say that if he allowed Cummings to talk it would have been against procedural rules, and if he was going top break rules for Cummings, he would have needed to keep the hearing in session and give others equal chance.

    Some will paint Issa the bad guy for this. Had Issa let Cummings talk, then people would have focused on Cummings’ criticism of Issa and the committee.
    So at the end of the day, knowing you are going to get unfairly burned no matter what you do, do what you think is right and be glad for the people that will be happy that you did it.
    I don’t understand why people are attacking Issa. Maybe you are correct and I just don’t get it.

    If it is not illegal, as said before, in the PR war I think it is great to have side by side President Obama saying there was not a hint of corruption, then Lerner pleading the 5th when asked if there was any corruption.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  52. Martha MacAllum
    I hereby declare chubwa
    You bedazzle me

    Colonel Haiku (a07071)

  53. Oh Jonah Goldberg
    you smash Kirsten Powers look
    like Comic Book Guy

    Colonel Haiku (a07071)

  54. Unfortunately, the optics are bad for Issa.

    “I’m always shocked when the ranking member seems to want to say, like a little boy whose hand has been caught in a cookie jar, ‘What hand? What cookie?’ I’ve never said it leads to the White House,” Issa said.

    No doubt the explanation will be ignored- as well as Cummings acceptance of it. This will be a selective memory on the media’s part. Pejorative is always in the eye hand of the beholder media.

    UPDATE: 4:41 p.m. — Issa later walked back his remarks, saying he “took a shortcut” in using an expression from his youth.

    “I want to make it very clear that when I talk about the ‘little boy putting his hand in the cookie jar’ … that is something that I grew up with, and it is intended to be about a small child, and in no way is the use of ‘boy’ or ‘little boy’ to mean anything else,” he said.

    Issa denied that he would even think some of the pejorative associations that could come with those words, let alone say them in such contexts.

    Cummings appeared satisfied with the explanation.

    “I really do appreciate your words, and of course they were taken out of context and twisted, or whatever,” he said.

    Dana (9f8700)

  55. this is the way they browbeat the reluctant regulators at Fannie Mae, this was Obama’s signature achievement over Citigroup that opened the subprime spigot,

    narciso (3fec35)

  56. You believe this ?

    Do you set any limits to what government can do to punish its enemies ?

    Have you been audited ?

    don’t expect him to get back to you: as a tea-baggee, his mouth is undoubtedly as full as his head is, just with different things.

    the harassment is real: i filed my taxes in the time frame the investigation is covering, got a letter from the IRS saying they had audited my return, made changes and did i accept them.

    being of sound mind, i did, and eventually got my refund.

    fast forward a year or so, after i had signed a couple of on line petitions with my retired military e-mail, and suddenly the return they vetted and approved was wrong and i owed them all the money i had received, plus penalties an interest.

    then the Franchise Tax Board started telling me that, because i have state registration, i owe taxes on the average income someone with such paperw*rk usually earns.

    and, just last week, Resident Evil got a letter from the IRS, wherein they announced that they had gone back through her old filings, and decided that she now owes them $K’s moar.

    so, mg? suck on it until you choke, scumbag.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  57. 58. And there is no will from Republicans to do anything about it.

    It’s the best we can do.

    If he doesn’t have 218 votes among Republicans he’ll just get ‘it’ done with the Democraps.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  58. I really like my Congresscritter but she’s not running.

    I wrote her a good month before the 113th opened entreating her not to vote for Boehner for Speaker. Go without one, I said.

    They had the votes but couldn’t get around the idea they’d be leaderless.

    Bet she regrets her vote now.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  59. The House already held Holder in contempt and, as far as I can tell, nothing happened with that. I think it’s appropriate for the House to consider contempt proceedings against Lerner but I’m not sure what difference it will make.

    DRJ,

    The Holder contempt citation, as all in the last 75 years, has been statutory through the DoJ. Obviously this does not work well in this administration.

    But Congress is an independent branch of government and each house also holds an inherent power of contempt. This power has been upheld 4 times by the Supreme Court, where the House alone can arrest, indict, try and jail a person for contempt. The jailing can be for coercion or penalty or both, and runs through the end of the session.

    Last used on a big time DC lawyer who had clients destroy documents Congress wanted.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  60. Somali women don’t wear the niqab.

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2014/03/great-news-st-paul-mn-police-dept.html

    This is total horsesh*t.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  61. Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 3/5/2014 @ 7:25 pm

    That is terrible, both for you in your predicament and the idea in general.
    Most of us don’t have several thousand or more to pay for an attorney and the IRS at the drop of a hat.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  62. Working for the government is hard because you are really smart and the people who pay you are so stupid. Stupid, stupid people.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  63. it gets better: the FTB is trying to tax me for income THEY don’t have 1099′s or W-2′s on, but strictly imaginary income it’s up to me to prove i didn’t get.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  64. A friend of mine who is a publisher was also audited for the first time;

    What they didn’t want to discuss;

    http://twitchy.com/2014/03/05/no-smidgen-of-corruption-lois-lerner-still-silent-on-damning-tea-party-email-pic/

    narciso (3fec35)

  65. Ken White has things to say about Lerner, A Few Notes on Lois Lerner and the Fifth Amendment.

    You take the Fifth because the government can’t be trusted. You take the Fifth because what the truth is, and what the government thinks the truth is, are two very different things. You take the Fifth because even if you didn’t do anything wrong your statements can be used as building blocks in dishonest, or malicious, or politically motivated prosecutions against you. You take the Fifth because if you answer questions truthfully the government may still decide you are lying and prosecute you for lying

    Ken provides a number of links to egregious government behavior. It’s a real eye opener. I have a feeling because of her previous behavior at the FCC that Lois Lerner is guilty of wrong doing at the IRS. I don’t know how far up it goes but it looks pretty damning. After reading Ken’s piece and from my own experience, I’m sad to say that guilty or innocent, you should never talk to someone in the government without a lawyer.

    I’m a believer in law and order. However, after all the corruption I’ve seen and the fact that government agents don’t get punished for their criminal actions, I no longer trust government agents. Sad, sad, sad…

    Tanny O'Haley (c0a74e)

  66. 59, 66. Words fail. If this isn’t the end its the prelude.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  67. Issa released the emails and contacts which certainly could be read as an intent to testify, although it was not stated outright.

    Who grants immunity without a valid proffer of the testimony to come? It makes little sense to give Lerner, of all people, such blanket protection without knowing what her testimony would entail.

    As several have postulated, there may have been no directive from the White House other than the speeches decrying the Citizens’ United decision and “shadowy” conservative groups. The apparatchiks could easily take the cue.

    Lerner in particular was known as a hyper-partisan harasser of Republicans at FEC. One supposes she got the IRS job on the basis of that record. She may have assumed so and just kept doing what she does.

    In that case, she could be the tactical mastermind of the scheme, yet walk with immunity.

    The statute of limitations will not have expired on most of these actions by the time the next President takes office.

    Estragon (ada867)

  68. Ralph Peters has Preezy”s numbah…

    http://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/2014/03/05/he-does-not-believe-in-this-country/

    Colonel Haiku (a07071)

  69. but you can TOTALLY trust the IRS & its employees

    Natch: IRS Employs Cop Convicted of Tipping off Terror Suspects

    http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/217822.php

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  70. Coronello, how’s the X1/9?

    Anyhoo, two points.

    I always figgered that it wasn’t so much a matter of Prom Queen believing in the country as him/it/her despising it.

    He talks about the Constitution being important to him/it/her. It is! In the same way Thomas Jefferson’s Koran was important to him.

    Know your enemy.

    Second:

    He is a man who’s incapable of making a hard decision. And by the way, one other key point, Vladimir Putin believes in Russia. He believes in Russia’s destiny, its mission. Obama does not believe in American exceptionalism. He does not believe in this country.

    Get that out of your head. He is capable of making a hard decision. Decline is a choice. Just because he lies about the decision, such as when he tells the middle class he wants to put money in their pocket and have a thriving economy when in fact he intends to screw them out of everything they worked for, doesn’t change the fact that he is a leader doing exactly what he always intended to do.

    As I’ve been saying since Obama became a contender back in 2008, he wanted to become President of his enemies so he could screw them over to benefit his friends.

    Steve57 (2991b6)

  71. I should add Putin as a former KGB agent and a judoka can run circles around Tiger Beat.

    He is a man who’s incapable of making a hard decision. And by the way, one other key point, Vladimir Putin believes in Russia. He believes in Russia’s destiny, its mission. Obama does not believe in American exceptionalism. He does not believe in this country.

    Go back and look at Putin’s NYT op-ed. He didn’t say one damn thing that hasn’t come out of President Mean Girl’s mouth.

    I am not speculating; the former KGB agent has a dossier on this Preezy hundreds of pages thick and he knows how to play him. It was his job to turn western leftist pseudo intellectuals like Obama into Soviet agents, and he was decent at it.

    Now the puppet master is flaunting his skill for the world to see.

    And as a judoka he knows a strong man in a weak position has the advantage over a weak man in a strong position.

    Steve57 (2991b6)

  72. Who is controlling the strings on boehner? and issa?
    These country club homo’s need to be sent packing to p-town.

    mg (31009b)

  73. No scalps for issa, know why? the useless prick is on the other team. And the republicans will not call for his head. gutless pieces of crap. Thanks you chickinshit republicans, for laying down with your tounge up some dems azz.

    mg (31009b)

  74. Republicans will continue to lose, because second place makes them feel right at home.

    mg (31009b)

  75. You know, if you’re the team player, that I know you to be, I’d be taking my sweet time after that gargage door closes and listen to the whole track of ‘In a Gadda da Vida’.

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/03/breaking-house-committee-damning-report-on-lois-lerner-released/

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)


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