Will crooked Lois Lerner and her associates finally be brought to justice for their targeting of everyday Americans simply because they held conservative views and opinions?
In a 2016 article, George Will explained why Congress should have impeached Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen. In his article, Will also reminded everyone how Lerner walked away unscathed, and into retirement, after simply invoking the Fifth Amendment, for her part in the IRS scandal that targeted conservative American citizens over their political beliefs.
At the IRS, Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner participated in delaying for up to five years — effectively denying — tax-exempt status for, and hence suppressing political advocacy by, conservative groups. She retired after refusing to testify to congressional committees, invoking the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.
Koskinen, who became commissioner after Lerner left, failed to disclose the disappearance of emails germane to a congressional investigation of IRS misbehavior. Under his leadership, the IRS failed to comply with a preservation order pertaining to an investigation. He did not testify accurately or keep promises made to Congress. Subpoenaed documents, including 422 tapes potentially containing 24,000 Lerner emails, were destroyed. He falsely testified that the Government Accountability Office’s report on IRS practices found “no examples of anyone who was improperly selected for an audit.”
In June testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University Law School noted that the Obama administration stands accused of “effectively weaponizing the IRS.” And the Koskinen controversy comes as Congress “is facing an unprecedented erosion of its authority vis-a-vis the executive branch.” The “increasing obstruction and contempt displayed by federal agencies in congressional investigations reflect the loss of any credible threat of congressional action. Congress has become a paper tiger within our tripartite system — a branch that often expresses outrage, yet fails to enforce its constitutional authority.”
The Koskinen controversy, Turley said, “falls at the very crossroads of expanding executive power, diminishing congressional authority, and the rise of the Fourth Branch,” which consists of “federal agencies that exercise increasingly unilateral and independent powers.” As Turley noted (and as Hillary Clinton can ruefully attest), “private litigants like Judicial Watch” are nowadays more successful than Congress in prying information from the executive branch. And (as the Lerner case illustrates) “the administration has effectively foreclosed avenues like the referral of criminal contempt and other sanctions that should be imposed for providing misleading statements to Congress.”
On September 29, 2014, investigative reporter Jason Materra visited the arrogant, and now retired Lois Lerner (who is still collecting an astounding $100,000 taxpayer-funded pension), while walking her dog in her wealthy Bethesda, MD neighborhood. In the video, Mattera claims that he’s simply giving Lerner the “chance to apologize” to conservatives she targeted while using the IRS as a weapon against them. Lerner, who faced no repercussions for using the IRS as a weapon against everyday Americans, ran to a neighbors house, demanding they call the police. But who were the victims of her abusive targeting to call when their lives were being turned upside down by an out-of-control government agency run by a bunch of partisan hacks, during Barack Obama’s “transparent” presidency?
Today, Judicial Watch announced the great news in regards to unsealing the depositions of IRS officials Lois Lerner and Holly Paz.
Thanks to the amazing work of Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Western Division) has issued an order granting a Judicial Watch motion to file an amicus curiae brief that asks the court to unseal the depositions of former IRS officials Lois Lerner and Holly Paz. The court also granted a hearing to be held Thursday, August 9, at 1 pm ET.
Both Lerner and Paz played key roles in the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups opposed to Obama policies in the run up to the 2012 presidential election. Their depositions were sealed by a federal judge after Lerner’s and Paz’s lawyers claimed the two were receiving threats. Judicial Watch argues that the testimony transcripts sought may shed light on government misconduct, and the shielding of internal government deliberations does not serve the public’s interest.
Lerner and Paz asked the court to deny Judicial Watch’s December 14, 2017, motion for leave to submit an amicus curiae brief. In January 2018, Judicial Watch filed a reply brief asking the court to accept its amicus curiae brief (NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al. v. The Internal Revenue Service, et al. (No. 1:13-cv-00341)).
In its August 2018 brief, Judicial Watch points out that it has been at the forefront of the investigation into the IRS’s conduct:
Within days after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”) released its report on May 14, 2013 confirming that IRS employees targeted organizations applying for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status with conservative-sounding names such as “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their titles, Judicial Watch led the charge and initiated an investigation into the IRS’s conduct toward such organizations. As part of its investigation, Judicial Watch submitted dozens of FOIA requests and since has filed at least nine FOIA lawsuits seeking relevant records from implicated federal agencies.
In addition to the revelation of IRS employees’ conduct in the emails uncovered, the records obtained by Judicial Watch also sparked investigations into Lois Lerner’s emails and the IRS’s failure to preserve thousands of emails that were potentially relevant to the various investigations headed by Judicial Watch and the U.S. Congress about the IRS’s treatment of conservative groups. While the federal government has now admitted that the targeting “was wrong” and “for such treatment, the IRS expresses its sincere apology,” the IRS continues to withhold email communications to or from Ms. Lerner and/or Ms. Paz….