The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee has voted to advance a Contempt of Congress charge against Lois Lerner, the former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division. The vote was 21 to 12, brought about by Ms. Lerner's refusal to provide information about the IRS's targeting of Conservative advocacy groups vying for 501c3 tax-exempt status, especially during the period before the 2012 General Election.
To say that this very legitimate issue has been politicized would be an under-statement. Both Republicans and Democrats – not to mention Progressives – see political capital to be gained from this issue. Democrats and Progressives will continue to advance the canard that any action against a member of the Obama Administration is based on racism and hate, while Republicans, Conservatives and TEA Partiers will continue to point out that crimes have been committed against the American people; crimes directly affecting rights guaranteed in the United States Constitution.
While committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), stated, "This is not an action I take lightly... [lawmakers] need Ms. Lerner's testimony to complete our oversight work and bring truth to the American people," Rep. Carolyn Maloney (P-NY), rebutted, "Guilty or innocent, Ms. Lerner has a constitutional right to remain silent on this issue," and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), said smugly that the case would be "laughed out of court."
To the latter points, yes, Ms. Lerner has the right not to incriminate herself under the Fifth Amendment rights afforded her in the US Constitution, but I seriously doubt that the political targeting of American citizens' First Amendment rights to redress government would be "laughed out of court." As to the hypocrisy of Ms. Lerner seeking protection from the US Constitution, even as she disregarded the protections the US Constitution affords her fellow Americans, that she should be rewarded with a pension and/or benefits stemming from her 32 years of federal employment – including service with the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission, two positions that prove she knew better than to do what she is accused of doing – is a scandal in and of itself.
There are those who are willing to allow Ms. Lerner to "get away" with her politically-based ideological attacks on her fellow Americans by granting her immunity to testify, perhaps in an effort to spotlight others who may have been involved in the crimes committed. Many suggest that she is shielding US Attorney's General Eric Holder, who himself has been held in Contempt of Congress for his unyielding obstruction of several investigations led by the House of Representatives: "the people's house"; the direct voice of the people in federal government. Others suggest that Ms. Lerner's direction originated in the White House, possibly by super-secret special adviser, confidant and political handler Valerie Jarrett. Of these two accusations we cannot be sure, purely for the fact that Ms. Lerner and her complicit underlings refuse to answer questions about their actions, their direction and their motives.
Those in favor of granting Ms. Lerner immunity, with the caveat that she gets to keep her pension and benefits if she provides information, say just such a move will facilitate the information necessary to determine where the order to violate the citizenry's constitutional rights, in deference to political advantage, originated. But there is a huge flaw in that thinking...and perhaps two.
Should Ms. Lerner be granted immunity to provide information related to this crime against the American people, there would be no guarantee she would tell the truth. She has already proven that she cannot be trusted to do right by the American people on two levels. First, the very fact that she would oversee the usurpation of the citizenry's First Amendment rights proves, in enough measure, that she is willing to deceive to achieve; she is willing to break the law to achieve a political outcome. And second, she has proven, through her refusal to cooperate with a congressional investigation, but, in defiance, cooperate with a rigged investigation by the US Department of Justice (and please, the Holder DoJ has proven time and time again that they are politically and ideologically motivated), that she will seek the safe haven of the corrupt over admitting to wrong-doing and serving the best interests of the people of the United States.
Additionally, should congressional negotiators be naïve enough to offer immunity to Ms. Lerner, should she perjure herself in the immunized testimony, she will most likely claim immunity to prosecution if found out. This very point almost entices the corrupt and the politically and ideologically motivated to "re-write" the history of the events in question, if not to save their sorry hides, to affect the very political and ideological "change" that was the goal in the first place. And, if you even have a cursory understanding of the Progressive Movement, you know they are prone to re-writing the facts and history to facilitate their narratives.
(As an aside, a good example of Progressives re-writing history to suit their immediate needs comes in President Obama's lionization of LBJ as a great and insightful leader; the one who burned political to achieve Civil Rights legislation. The truth of the matter is that President Eisenhower, a Republican, first floated Civil Rights legislation only to have it derailed by three Democrat Senators; Sens. Strom Thurmond, D-SC, Sens. John F. Kennedy, D-MA, and Lyndon B. Johnson, D-TX. Further, the only reason LBJ was able to steal credit for Civil Rights legislation was due to overwhelming Republican support. Democrats stood in opposition to the bill. Yet today, Mr. Obama re-writes history to extol the greatness of LBJ, the man who ensconced us in Vietnam.)
The intentional and systematic usurpation of our citizenry's constitutional rights is, to put it mildly, unacceptable. Ms. Lerner – and all involved – should be made to pay an incredibly high price for their misdeeds. But depending on the Eric Holder-led US Justice Department to affect justice in this case is just as much a fantasy as Obamacare being a beneficial legislation for the total of the American people.
Perhaps – just perhaps – Mr. Issa and his crew can do some outside the box thinking on this matter; crafting an effective course of action to affect truth and justice in this case. Perhaps they can figure out a way to empower this investigation to extend beyond the 2016 General Elections, when an Attorney's General might be seated who would actually care enough about the law to pursue a legitimate investigation into, and subsequent legitimate prosecutions of, the violation of the citizenry's constitutional rights.
Of course, that would mean that Republicans – and many establishment Republicans at that, would have to dispense with ego to better serve the people...and we don't see a lot of that these days, from either party.
Copyright © 2014 Frank Salvato