The Webster’s Dictionary for accuracy should have a picture of the Obama Administration right next to the word corrupt. It isn’t just Eric Holder’s department of Injustice, or even Barack Obama himself. It is a culture of pure political corruption that obviously runs through the administrative levels of every federal bureaucracy. Lois Lerner is the poster child for that corruption.
posted at 9:21 am on September 22, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
The woman who made herself infamous for refusing to testify in the IRS scandal has finally broken her silence … to Politico, anyway. Flanked by lawyers during the interview, Lerner insists she did nothing wrong while running the tax-exempt unit at the IRS when it singled out conservative groups for investigation. If that’s the case, though, why is she telling that to Politico now rather than the House Oversight Committee then?
Lois Lerner is toxic — and she knows it. But she refuses to recede into anonymity or beg for forgiveness for her role in the IRS tea party-targeting scandal.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Lerner said in her first press interview since the scandal broke 16 months ago. “I’m proud of my career and the job I did for this country.”
The Inspector General of the Treasury certainly thought someone did something wrong. The original report revealed a concerted effort to target conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for their efforts, while progressive applicants got a much easier ride. That targeting took place in Lerner’s unit, and just to emphasize that, Lerner and her management staged an apology right before the IG report went public in May 2013. Then-IRS commissioner Steve Miller acknowledged that he and Lerner staged that apology to take the sting out of the exposure of the targeting plot a week after it was given:
Via FoxNews, IRS lawyers have dropped a bombshell admission that Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was intentionally wiped and destroyed after the start of the Congressional probe into the activities of her division:
Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun its probe into IRS targeting of conservative groups, a senior IRS lawyer acknowledged in a sworn declaration.
Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in the declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that the Blackberry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”
That date – June 2012 – is significant because by that time, ex-IRS official Lerner had already been summoned before congressional staffers who interviewed her about reports of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.
This is a fairly astonishing admission and it’s difficult to see how this does not constitute textbook Obstruction of Justice under 18 USC 1505 (and possibly other statutes):
Whoever, with intent to avoid, evade, prevent, or obstruct compliance, in whole or in part, with any civil investigative demand duly and properly made under the Antitrust Civil Process Act, willfully withholds, misrepresents, removes from any place, conceals, covers up, destroys, mutilates, alters, or by other means falsifies any documentary material, answers to written interrogatories, or oral testimony, which is the subject of such demand; or attempts to do so or solicits another to do so; or
Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—
Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.
Caselaw on obstruction of justice indicates that it does not matter whether the emails in question were in fact held on a central server, you can be dinged for obstruction for the attempt to destroy the information if you delete mails in, say, your Outlook inbox even though your company keeps all emails on a central server. It is intended to protect against the eventuality where (as here) the emails in question mysteriously go missing from the central server or the person responsible for retrieving them claims that it would be impossible or impractical to do so. Not to mention the fact that you don’t get a free pass for obstruction of justice just because you’re not smart enough to do it properly.
Every new revelation in this case points to an aggressive effort on the part of the IRS to improperly and possibly illegally hide evidence from the public as to its activities. It is past time for someone at DOJ to show as much interest in the proper administration of justice with respect to the IRS as they did to Arthur Andersen.
Her protestations to the contrary, there is simply no doubt that Lois Lerner knowingly willingly and with a full forethought of malice committed felony level criminal actions. Richard Nixon was forced to resign from the Office of President of the United States of America mere hours ahead of certain Impeachment over far less serious criminal actions taken on his behalf by his subordinates.
After his assertions that there was not even a smidgen of corruption over at the IRS, Barack Obama should be held to the exact same standard as Richard Nixon was held to.
If there is any place in America more corrupt that the Obama Administration (shocking as this assertion may seem) then it can only be Congress itself. It is Congresses responsibility to ensure that Lois Lerner and every other bureaucrat who like Lois Lerner, willfully and knowingly breaks the law, is held to the fullest accountability by the law. Failure by Congress to do so has but only a single solitary consequence, and that is to destroy the public’s faith in the America legal system and by extension, the government of the United States of America.