Another day the American people do not get answers from Lois Lerner, Former Director of Tax Exempt Organizations. Ms. Lerner is the center of the IRS “phoney” scandal as she aided the IRS at targeting Conservative groups.
Back in May of 2013 Ms. Lerner appeared in front of the House Oversight Committee and gave an apology for the targeting of Conservative groups by holding up tax-exempt status and proceeded to plead the 5th Amendment so she did not incriminate herself. Here is Ms. Lerner’s opening statement:
STATEMENT OF LOIS G. LERNER
Ms. LERNER. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the
committee. My name is Lois Lerner, and I’m the Director of Exempt
Organizations at the Internal Revenue Service.
I have been a government employee for over 34 years. I initially
practiced law at the Department of Justice and later at the Federal
Election Commission. In 2001, I became—I moved to the IRS to
work in the Exempt Organizations office, in 2006, I was promoted
to be the Director of that office.
Exempt Organizations oversees about 1.6 million tax-exempt organizations
and processes over 60,000 applications for tax exemption
every year. As Director I’m responsible for about 900 employees
nationwide and administer a budget of almost $100 million.
My professional career has been devoted to fulfilling responsibilities
of the agencies for which I have worked, and I am very proud
of the work that I have done in government.
On May 14th, the Treasury IGs released a report finding that
the Exempt Organizations field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, used inappropriate
criteria to identify for further review applications from
organizations that planned to engage in political activity which
may mean that they did not qualify for tax exemption. On that
same day, the Department of Justice launched an investigation
into the matters described in the inspector general’s report. In addition,
members of this committee have accused me of providing
false information when I responded to questions about the IRS
processing of applications for tax exemption.
I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I
have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided
false information to this or any other congressional committee.
And while I would very much like to answer the committee’s
questions today, I’ve been advised by my counsel to assert my constitutional
right not to testify or answer questions related to the
subject matter of this hearing. After very careful consideration, I
have decided to follow my counsel’s advice and not testify or answer
any of the questions today.
Because I’m asserting my right not to testify, I know that some
people will assume that I’ve done something wrong. I have not.
One of the basic functions of the Fifth Amendment is to protect innocent
individuals, and that is the protection I’m invoking today.
Ms. Lerner is asking for immunity. If she didn’t do anything wrong why would she need immunity? All the American people want (especially the American people that were targeted) is answers. Emails implementing Lois Lerner have been handed over to Congress which proves that she is involved in this some way.
Lois Lerner appeared again in front of the House Oversight Committee on March 5th, 2014. Pleading the 5th Amendment not to incriminate herself again. The hearing turned into a circus when Rep. Elisha Cummings had a “question” and proceeded to make a statement, no question was ever asked. Rep. Darrell Issa cut the microphones off and dismissed Ms. Lerner just prior to Rep. Cummings temper tantrum. See the hearing below.
Never in my life have I seen our “trusted servants” behave so bad. Arguing like that is not going to get us answers it is just distractions from the primary purpose. This is not how our tax dollars are supposed to be spent. This should NOT be about Democrat and Republican opposition; this is about America!
If ‘We The People’ don’t reign this corruption in now we will lose America as we know it. Should Lois Lerner be held in contempt of Congress for pleading the 5th Amendment? I think with the evidence they already have they should just throw her in jail and cut off her taxpayer funded retirement.