And here I thought the Democrats thought the Constitution was an old and outdated document that is living and is in need of change. How very convenient for Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, to be able to rely on the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to avoid answering direct and pointed questions before the House Oversight Committee Wednesday. Perhaps she is afraid of Trey Gowdy, Jason Chaffetz, Jim Jordan, Darrell Issa and others on the Committee.
Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, ratified in 1791, entitled Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings, states:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Lerner’s Counsel Requests Committee Excuse Her to Avoid Embarrassment
According to the LA Times, Ms. Lerner will invoke the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer questions before the House Oversight Committee investigating the IRS’ inappropriate targeting of conservative nonprofit groups. The LA Times also published, quoting from a copy of the letter Ms. Lerner’s legal counsel submitted to Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) on Monday:
“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course” since the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation and that the House committee has asked Lerner to explain why she provided “false or misleading information” to the committee four times last year. The attorney went on to request that Ms. Lerner be excused from appearing, saying that would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.”
A quick review of Chairman Issa’s tweets shows no official response to Ms. Lerner’s request.
As a taxpayer, I have absolutely no sympathy for this woman. She is a government employee paid with tax dollars taken from hard-working Americans. She needs to appear, she needs to be grilled by the strong members of the Oversight Committee, she needs to feel the eyes of the victims in the gallery, she needs to feel the wrath of the public officials that represent us for violating the sanctity of our laws and our trust. Most of all the anger for her part in interfering with the missions of dozens of not-for-profit organizations that tried to ensure the integrity of our elections, ensure voters were provided with the truth to select their candidates, and for wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for vital missions but required to be diverted to pay for attorneys and accountants to respond to absurd and offensive questions and document requests. These not-for-profit organizations were following the law by submitting their 501(c)(4) applications and, according to the Inspector General’s report, she was aware of the inappropriate targeting in June 2011 and she failed to inform Congress, after requests from, among others, the House Oversight committee, about whether some groups had been singled out unfairly.
Who really advised Ms. Lerner to plead the Fifth Amendment? If she was concerned about self-incrimination, why did she ask someone to pose the planted question that publicly revealed the IRS targeting of conservative groups? Who asked her to plant the question? Who is paying her legal fees? If Ms. Lerner is found to have committed a crime, including perjury to Congress, will she be required to reimburse the taxpayers for the legal fees we are expending? Will she be put on paid administrative leave during the criminal proceeding like Major Hasan (paid $278,000 since his arrest for the Ft. Hood shootings)? What, if any, communications has Ms. Lerner or her legal counsel had with the Department of Justice? How can the Department of Justice be investigating when there is a clear conflict of interest? When will Congress retain a Special Prosecutor to independently investigate all of the Obama Administration scandals? When will Speaker Boehner begin impeachment proceedings? Where is Mitt Romney and why has his campaign not filed legal actions for interference with voting during the 2012 election? These and many other questions need to be answered. Demand the truth. Demand accountability. We are a Red Nation Rising.