“Pardon me: if you accept the proposition that the government targets organizations for IRS scrutiny because of their political views, and you still say things like ‘why take the Fifth if you have nothing to hide’, then you’re either an idiot or a dishonest partisan hack.”
—-Attorney-blogger Ken White, discussing former IRS official Lois Lerner’s refusal to testify in front of Rep. Daryl Issa’s House Government Oversight Committee
Elaborating on the point before this statement, Ken points out why this is so:
“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.”
Got it. Or, you take the Fifth because you really did engage in illegal activity in a coordinated effort to obstruct legal political action for partisan motives, on orders from someone with close ties to the White House, which still may be the case.
In the same post, Ken explains that Lerner may have waived her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, or may not. If she has, then she is in contempt of Congress. If she hasn’t, she isn’t.
My observations on this slow-motion ethics train wreck:
1. Issa and the Committee panel have an obligation to try to get Lerner’s testimony. She is obviously a key witness, and knows what happened regarding the IRS’s targeting of tea party and other conservative organizations in the run-up to the 2012 election.
2. As long as we are talking about partisan hacks, I give you the Daily Kos. I believe I mentioned that some fanatic Left Wing crazy who goes by the fake name of “Kol Atai,” among others, targeted me after some post that wounded his unshakeable faith in the current administration, and his response was to sign me up to every wack-job online progressive newsletter—-yes, a group called “Closing the No Pay Gap,” Judith Lichtman, President, still lies to its supporters about the 77 % women supposedly get paid for the same jobs—while flooding the in-boxes of me and my wife with obscene rants, some of which are in Laotian and other exotic languages. This managed to attract some acolyte of the extreme left Daily Kos to my flame, and he sent me an e-mail reprimanding me for calling the Kos “reliably truth-challenged” in another post. So just to make sure that my recollection was correct—the Daily Kos is completely and entirely about furthering the popularity of a Leftist agenda, and objective presentation of facts is not relevant to that mission—I checked the site out for the first time in a few months—I’m getting older, and my stomach isn’t what it used to be. Sure enough, there was a post that presented as settled fact that the IRS scandal was in a “scandal,” as the Obama administration and the worst of its media toadies fervently want us to believe. It is, in truth, a scandal without scare quotes. The question is how much of one, and who is responsible.
3. The ongoing findings of Issa’s dogged investigation continue to be catalogued here. To paraphrase Ken, anyone who can read this and not conclude that something very wrong occurred that the American people need to not only know about but be assured that those responsible are held accountable and that the IRS will never behave in such a nakedly partisn fashion again is either an idiot or a dishonest partisan hack.
4. The ugly confrontation between Issa and ranking minority committee member Elijah Cummings (D-Md) was the fault of both combatants, Issa for over-reacting and behaving churlishly and disrespectfully, Cummings for, well, behaving as a dishonest partisan hack.
5. I do not understand, and will never understand, why every Congressional investigation from Watergate forward, Senate or House, always is sabotaged by someone playing the Cummings role, who is only interested in deriding the investigation and obstructing its efforts to protect its party’s President. That is not their job, their duty, or their proper role. Cummings should be as outraged as any Republican at the revelations that the IRS set out to stall the operations of non-profit groups based on ideological and political affiliations. Cumming should be as outraged as any Republican at the Administration’s stonewalling, which is what it has been doing, and obviously so. Instead, he erupts in a staged protest about GOP disrespect to government workers as the IRS official who can answer critical questions refuses to cooperate with his committee?
No wonder Issa blew a gasket. I don’t know how Cummings, whom I have met and who has the reputation of being a fair and honorable man, can look at himself in the mirror.
6. The news media’s refusal to cover the substance of the hearings before Issa’s committee and disgraceful capitulation to the President’s dishonest assertions that this was just a matter of a few rogue IRS agents—which has been decisively disproved—is, as I have said before, one of the more egregious smoking guns in the evidence of reporting bias. It’s really perfect, I know: Fox News is indelibly tarred as a an unfair and untrustworthy Obama-hater (John Kerry, the coward, refused to allow Chris Wallace to ask him appropriate tough questions about the crumbling U.S. foreign policy, appearing only on the five “friendly” Sunday news shows), so its reporting is discounted as biased, and the other news media pretends a damning scandal doesn’t exist.
Well, it almost worked for Nixon.
Graphic: Raw Story