Citing Fifth Amendment, Justice Department Declines To Prosecute Lois Lerner For Contempt
The Justice Department will not pursue contempt charges against Lois Lerner because it has determined that she did not waive her rights under the Fifth Amendment.
Nearly two years ago, former IRS official Lois Lerner was called to testify before the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee regarding the then-developing scandal involving IRS targeting of conservative organizations in the processing of applications for 501(c)(4) status under the Internal Revenue Code. At that time, Lerner acted under the advice of her attorney and asserted her rights under the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, which was obviously a wise and sensible move at the time given the fact that she was also the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. At the time, Republicans on the committee and several conservative legal scholars asserted that Lerner had waived her Fifth Amendment rights because she had given an opening statement at the hearing in which, in general and rather vague terms, she denied and wrongdoing in connection with the matter the Committee was investigating. As I said at the time, this argument seemed to be very weak to paint it in the best light, and that to the extent there was any doubt it should be resolved in favor of the notion that her rights were not waived. Nonetheless, several days after Lerner testified, the Committee voted on purely partisan lines that Lerner had waived her rights and then moved forward with a process that seemed designed to force her to testify. Despite several reports that Lerner would testify if granted immunity, the Committee eventually voted to hold Lerner in contempt nearly a year after her original testimony.
Now, the United States Attorney of the District of Columbia has informed the House of Representatives that his office will not pursue contempt proceedings against Lerner, largely because he had determined that she had not waived her rights under the Fifth Amendment:
The Justice Department will not seek criminal contempt charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner, the central figure in a scandal that erupted over whether the tax agency improperly targeted conservative political groups.
Ronald Machen, the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a seven-page letter this week that he would not bring a criminal case to a grand jury over Lerner’s refusal to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in March 2014. The House approved a criminal contempt resolution against Lerner in May 2014, and Machen’s office has been reviewing the issue since then.
Lerner and other IRS officials, however, are still under investigation by the FBI for the tea party targeting matter — which is a separate probe entirely.
Lerner cited her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself during congressional testimony on March 5, 2014, although then-Oversight Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said she had waived that right by giving an opening statement at a hearing 10 months earlier when she asserted her innocence. Issa wanted her charged by the Justice Department with criminal contempt of Congress for failing to answer questions about her role in the scandal.
Machen said the Oversight Committee “followed proper procedures” in telling Lerner that it had “rejected her claim of privilege and gave her an adequate opportunity to answer the committee’s questions.”
However, Machen said DOJ lawyers determined that Lerner “did not waive her Fifth Amendment right by making an opening statement on May 22, 2013, because she made only a general claims of innocence.”
Machen added: “Given that assessment, we have further concluded that it is not appropriate for a United States attorney to present the matter to the grand jury for action where, as here, the Constitution prevents the witness from being prosecuted for contempt.”
Lerner, unsurprisingly, was pleased by the announcement. “Anyone who takes a serious and impartial look at this issue would conclude that Ms. Lerner did not waive her Fifth Amendment rights,” said Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor III, in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the majority party in the House put politics before a citizen’s constitutional rights.”
“Ms. Lerner is pleased to have this matter resolved and looks forward to moving on with her life,” Taylor added.
Given the extent to which the effort to hold Lerner in contempt had become a partisan football, it’s not entirely surprising that the Justice Department would decline to pursue contempt charges and Republicans will obviously dismiss this as a partisan effort to protect the Obama Administration from a scandal that, in all honesty, hasn’t gone anywhere in a year or more at this point. Even acknowledging the role of partisanship in all of this, though, Machen’s analysis of the issues and the law implicated by Lerner’s assertion of her rights under the Fifth Amendment seems to be fairly spot-on to me. Most broadly, it is quite a stretch to consider an opening statement in which Lerner denied wrongdoing in rather vague and general terms to be even a partial waiver of her rights under the Fifth Amendment. Indeed, as a general rule, anything other than a full, complete and conscious waiver of that right under oath and with the opportunity to consult with counsel should be viewed skepticism when one is trying to determine if the right has been waived. Additionally, because of the importance of the right protected by the Fifth Amendment, if there is an ambiguity on the question of whether or not the right has been waived the doubts ought to be resolved in favor of the proposition that the right remains intact and unwaived.
This isn’t the necessarily the end of the road for Ms. Lerner, of course. As it did with Eric Holder nearly three years ago, the House could proceed with contempt proceedings on its own. This would require another vote by the full House authorizing such an action, but it seems likely that the Republican majority would readily approve such an action just as it did for the Attorney General. At that point, the matter would proceed in the U.S, District Court for the District of Columbia where the House would be represented by counsel and Lerner would be represented by her attorney. It would then be up to the Court to determine if Lerner did in fact waive her rights with that brief opening statement before the committee nearly two years ago. Given the fact that the contempt proceeding against Holder is still pending that same District Court, the odds of the matter being resolved any time in the foreseeable future would sem to be somewhere between slim and none. Even after that decision, of course, either party would be able to appeal the matter to the D.C. Circuit or beyond if necessary. As I’ve said before, I find it highly unlikely that Federal Judge is going to find that Lerner waived her rights and, in any case, there’s a better than even chance that this legal question won’t even be resolved before President Obama leaves office. Meanwhile, one is left to wonder if the IRS scandal was ever really a scandal at all, but that’s another issue entirely.
Here’s Machen’s letter:
This, exactly. Nothing more needs to be said on the matter.
Is there any reason to think they want it resolved? Apparently they could have resolved it at any time by granting Lerner immunity. Looks like they’d rather keep some pretense of an investigation and at least hypothetical scandal going until the election. Even though they haven’t figured out any way to drag Hillary into it.
The statute of limitations will not have expired when AG Rudy Giuliani takes the oath of office in 22 months. Rudy can crush this perjurer. I hope he puts the full weight of the Justice Department into prosecuting Lois Lerner for her criminal actions.
If he can get a forensic computer expert to testify to the fact that Lerner deliberately crashed her hard drive he can nail her for obstruction of justice too.
@James P: “The statute of limitations will not have expired when AG Rudy Giuliani takes the oath of office in 22 month”
Credit where credit is due — that’s the first funny thing Jenos has ever posted.
I guess he’s imagining the Trump administration. Of course, Giuliani is about as likely to allow himself to be questioned under oath about his financial dealings and his relationship with felon Kerik as Trump is to allow anyone to look at his real financials…
trolling windbag (above)
Nice to see Doug trying to use the progressive talking point that“ The DOJ and Federal courts has proven that there was no IRS targeting of the Tea Party.”
But the Court said that
(bottom of page 13) since the targeting was done by the Government not a private actor, there is no chance that this will occur again.
. And “where the defendant is a government actor—and not a private litigant—there is less concern about the recurrence of objectionable behavior.” Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. SEC, 858 F. Supp. 2d 51, 61, 62
Remember, “it” (comment above at 17:24) is a troll. Do not feed it or acknowledge it in any way beyond downvoting its screeds.
Actually I was thinking Walker. Trump isn’t running.
He’ll “run” until the first financial disclosure statement is due and then he’ll drop out.
Walker (unlike Pence) has shown guts and a willingness to go on offense and bring the fight to the Left. Nominating Rudy for AG would send a very loud signal that he is willing to bring the fight to the Left.
I think Rudy probably would go after Lerner if he had the chance. The statute of limitations will not have expired two years from now so Lerner is not off the hook. We can still nail her.
Which has what, if anything, to do with the matter at hand? Please elaborate
Oh, It’s a scandal all right – one perpetrated by Rep. Darrell Issa against the American taxpayers whom he ironically claims to protect with his crazy investigations. A loyal opposition would have given up on this tripe years ago.
Loyal to Barack Hussein Obama?!?!?!
Who ever said we were loyal? We want him to fail – that’s not loyal. You are not accurate when you call us the LOYAL opposition – that’s a British construct. I have no loyalty to BHO – I want him to fail.
He’s an armchair. This whole “statute of limitations” thing appears to be the talking point that is bouncing around the wingnut universe at present. He’s just regurgitating something he heard (and clearly does not understand).
Someone should explain to our resident social disease that there is no applicable statute of limitations on congressional contempt citations – because they do not survive the end of the Congress which sought to impose them.
That’s more than just a downvote Sparky. You’re not heeding your own counsel about not acknowledging “Trolls”. Try to be consistent. Nobody is going to take you seriously if you can’t follow your own directives.
You allegedly attended law school and you don’t know what the statute of limitations is? If I believed you attended law school I’d counsel you to ask for a refund of the tuition you paid if they didn’t cover a concept as elementary as the statute of limitations.
You’re right that the contempt citation will expire before President Walker’s term starts, but AG Giuliani can nail her for perjury and obstruction of justice. I don’t know what the statute of limitations is for those, but I’m betting it’s more than two years.
I’m loathe to dignify anything Syphilis has to say, but for the benefit of those watching who are not lawyers, “obstruction of justice” and “obstruction of Congress” are completely separate statutes.
Asserting one’s 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination doesn’t constitute a violation either of them.
It’s the responsibility of the IRS to audit organizations claiming tax-exempt status under the federal tax code.
Are you saying that so-called Tea Party organizations should be exempt from IRS scrutiny? It my understanding that other non-profit organizations (NPO) were subject to the same scrutiny at that time (as they should be). I’ve worked in financial operations for an NPO in the past, and our NPO status was subject to review regularly. Why should Tea Party NPOs be any different?
@James P: Rudy Giuliani
Look, dude. You’ve got to make up your mind.
If you’re shooting for satire, you need to be , you know, funnier. If you’re actually trying to get people to take you even slightly seriously, you gotta start using less transparently stupid lines.
When you spend all your time pretending to be stupid on the internet, it very quickly ceases to be pretending
@HarvardLaw92: I’m still chuckling over the prospect of Giuliani’s hearing:
Q: “Mr. Mayor, could you explain exactly why you insisted in siting the emergency management center in obvious terrorist target the World Trade Center? Could you explain why you continually used it as a love nest to cheat on your wife with your girlfriend?”
Maybe the troll will now pretend to have gone to law school!
(Maybe troll should get back to doing its homework before it flunks out of high school….)
@al-Ameda: Don’t bother. That sort of question (and its answer) unraveled the faux-scandal this was a year or so ago. How old is this one again? People honestly asked your question, got honest answers, and declared this a “meh.”
@al-Ameda: “Are you saying that so-called Tea Party organizations should be exempt from IRS scrutiny? ”
Of course! Because otherwise their feelings might get hurt. And as Mike Pence keeps trying to explain, there is nothing more important in America than not letting right wingers’ feeling get hurt, even if it means passing blatantly discriminatory laws.
Even if it happens that he becomes AG (that’s a long shot even if the GOP wins the election), the chances of him prosecuting any of the old Democratic admin is the same as were the Democratic chances of prosecuting the old Republican admin (remember the hopes that Bush and company would be tried for war crimes) – that is zero.
Neither party wants to start the tit-for-tat that would follow. Everyone leaves power sooner or later, and none of them, on either side, want to be prosecuted afterwards for any of their decisions.
Shorter version: dream on.
I blame it on Law & Order. The audience now knows just enough litigious sounding terms to make themselves look like complete morons when they attempt to use them in a sentence.
I have a new theory… I think “it” is the conservative sock puppet Michael Reynolds has been threatening for so long. I mean, the avatar is so hilariously absurd, it can’t possibly be serious. Can it?
@HarvardLaw92: Ditto for science and CSI.
@PT: Sadly, trolls really are that dumb and obnoxious. I guess trolling gives them something to do while they wait around to drop out of college and get used to a lifetime of saying “would you like fries with that?”
@HarvardLaw92: Wiping her hard drive clean most certainly is obstruction of justice ————-that is what I was referencing.
The game was up as soon as the GOP declined to give her immunity in exchange for her testimony. If they really thought this scandal originated at the White House and there was someone higher up to go after, then the immunity deal would be made. As it stands now, it’s pretty clear evidence the GOP thinks the “scandal” isn’t worth investigating any further or would only implicate Lerner and then end. Of course they won’t stop whining that it was a real scandal, and making ridiculous complaints about “Weaponizing the IRS”.
Congressional grants of immunity under 18 U.S.C. § 6005 are, IMO, unconstitutional to begin with. Congress doesn’t have the power to grant itself an executive branch function.
The statute you are amateurishly grasping for is “Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy” – i.e. destruction of evidence.
18 U.S.C. § 1519:
The bolded parts are required elements of the offense. Short version? It would have to be established not only that she deliberately destroyed emails, but also that she did so with the intent to impede an investigation.
This goes, and will go, nowhere – for a reason. It’s dead in the water.
Look out, it passed a layman’s idea of a weak Turing test.
This is a sad deal. Here we have one of the top government officials, a person with huge amounts of power and authority. A person who holds full sway over the fortunes of individuals and businesses. A person in charge of an agency whose very name strikes fear and loathing into anyone. Yet this person will not answer questions related to her work. The “justice department” says that’s okay. Well, fine, maybe that is her right. Now think about that government clerk, a little old lady, slaving over a pile of forms (that no one will ever read) in a small, cold, damp basement in some forgotten government building in D.C. and has to answer for taking too long of a lunch break. What if she said “I am not going to answer that”. Or that National Park worker, a college student, who works in the souvenir shop selling wooden pop guns and over priced shirts. She is called on the carpet for being $1.37 short on her cash register reconciliation report. What if she answered “I don’t know”. Or the retired man who drives a school bus and is taken to task for telling little Billy Battle Ax to “sit your rear end down and shut that loud mouth” (for the seventh time). And he answers “I can’t remember exactly”. How about if I put down on my tax return: “no answer”.
Just what do you think the “Justice Department” and the IRS would do to me and these other people ? Well, we all know what would they would do.
if you were a government employee and you cited the 5th Amendment as a basis for refusing to testify? Criminally, they would do exactly what is being done to her – zero.
You would probably no longer be employed by the federal government, but, hey, as luck would have it she’s no longer employed by the federal government either.
Go figure …
@PT: I’m pretty sure Michael would be a lot funnier.
I don’t know much law. However, if questioned by a cop, I will ask for an attorney before I say one other word. If asked to appear before a congressional committee, I will assert my fifth amendment protections. Of course, when the day comes that Congress is full of people of virtue interested only in advancing the cause of truth and good policy, I will change my mind.
This dovetails with the advice that I have given my kids:
1) Ask “Am I under arrest?”
2) If “yes”, say “I am invoking my right to counsel and would like to call my attorney”, immediately call me, then STFU and don’t say another word. Touch nothing, consent to nothing and accept nothing.
If “no”, say “have a nice day, officer” and walk /drive away without saying another word.
It’s worse than that. Link:
The advancement of Issa’s career requires cameras, but the pursuit of justice does not. Now we know what Issa cares about.
Conservative lawyer and occasional OTB commenter Hans von Spakovsky was on the local conservative talk station this morning saying something about an “extensive interview” Lerner gave the Justice Department prior to testifying before Congress, and asserting her voluntary participation in that interview mooted her subsequent invocation of the 5th. Anyone know if he’s on to something or just blowing smoke?
@wr: Hey, it’s the ballless wonder still can’t either put up or shut up
On topic, my position has always been that Lerner was entitled to invoke the 5th. But by doing so, she was violating her job obligation to cooperate with Congressional inquiries and should have been fired immediately for cause and stripped of her pension and all benefits. Instead, she was allowed to retire with full benefits, and no one knows just what she did while she was taking the taxpayers’ dime.
She was taking our money, acting in our name, using our power we delegated to her, and she refuses to say what she did while our agent. That she was allowed to walk with her benefits is a travesty.
Also known as “Obama policy.” .
I apologize. I gave a wrong link there. Here is where I gave wr (“the ballless wonder”) the opportunity to rid this site of me once and for all, and he ran away. Here’s the offer, which is still open.
@Mikey:I don’t know if she gave that testimony or not, but it seems to me that Hans’ “theory” is utterly typical grasping at straws and making up completely asinine interpretations of the law to justify today’s attempt to stick it to the libs
In my experience, talking to a hardcore wingnut about science is like talking to a brick wall. Trying to talk to one about the law, however, is more like talking to the world’s most determined pretzel maker
@wr: I don’t know. The idea of AG Giuliani is imaginative and pretty funny. It could be Reynolds. 😉
A proper opposition is loyal to the country – and that always takes precedence over political parties and policy differences. I sucked it up while Mr. Bush destroyed our economy and the stability of the middle east with a misdirected war after being caught back on his heels on 9/11/01. It was difficult, but I am an American first and foremost. Your explicit and obvious hatred of the United States is duly noted.
She offered to testify without immunity. As usual, you’re lying. And the lie is especially brazen, since you posted your lie shortly after I showed proof that she offered to testify without immunity.
@jukeboxgrad: You have a stupendous ego — you seem to expect everyone else to recall every single thing you ever wrote, and to presume that everything you say is gospel. Sorry to shatter your illusions, but neither is true. The main thing I remember from your comments is the overwhelming attitude of arrogance.
Lerner was the employee. She was in no position to put demands on her complying with the terms of her employment. Her employer asked her to report on her conduct while acting as an agent of the people, and she refused.
That her refusal was accompanied with offers of conditions under which she would cooperate does not mitigate her refusal. Congress is under no obligation to negotiate with her — or any other federal employee — over the conditions under which they will account for their official conduct.
@Jenos Idanian #13: “On topic, my position has always been” —
–pay attention to meeeee!!!! To meeee!!! And all my sockpuppets! I’ll say anything, no matter how stupid, as long as it annoys someone! And then I’ll respond with a bunch of different screen names!!! And when caught I’ll act morally righteous and pout about how I’m the only one here who cares about truth and justice and all the others are big meanies!!!! And then I’ll change my screenname and hurl childish insults!!!! Because it’s all about meeeeee!!!! And this is as close to a life as I’ve got!!!!!”
Did I leave anything out there?
@Jenos Idanian #13: You are absolutely correct, of course, that federal employees should be held to a high standard for how our tax dollars are spent. It’s interesting that you do not, however hold Mr. Issa and his Federal Government employees in similar contempt for failure to meet the highest standards of conduct by wasting tax dollars on this non-scandal, and the BENGHAZI one, and the Fast and Furious one, etc. Similarly I do not hear any concerns with the billions of dollars and thousands of lives wasted on, say, a pointless and destabilizing war in Iraq.
You lose the position of ethical authority when you are so enthusiastic about calling Ms. Lerner to the carpet within such a moral vacuum.
@Tony W: I don’t recall ever declaring any position of ethical authority, but if you say I had it, OK.
And your parallel is hopelessly flawed. Mr. Issa’s bosses are his constituents, who can vote him out of office if he displeases them. The Congress as a whole is our employee, and we have to work through our individual employees to affect the whole.
But Congress, as the budget master and law writer, was Ms. Lerner’s ultimate boss.
As far as Fast & Furious, I’m coming around on that one. The commenters here are convincing me. Most of the people killed in it were Mexicans, not Americans, so it’s really no big deal. Brown people don’t really count, right?
@wr: Did I leave anything out there?
Yeah, you ballless wonder, you left out the part where I absolutely and categorically denied your repeated lies about sock-puppetry, challenged you to put up or shut up, and even offered to leave this site and never comment again if you were proven right — as long as you agreed to the same when you were proven wrong. And you demonstrated your total lack of courage, integrity, honesty, and any redeeming qualities whatsoever when you ran away from my challenge.
It’s the most basic challenge in the world to a liar: “put up or shut up.” And you simply can’t do either, can you?
One more time. You have the chance to humiliate me so thoroughly that I’ll leave and never come back. All you have to do is give the slightest hint that you actually believe what you’re saying. That you aren’t just spouting pure bullshit purely so YOU get attention. (Namely, mine.)
Take the wager, you gutless coward. Show the slightest bit of integrity, for once in your pathetic life.
Doug said this:
You said this:
Doug’s statement is sufficient to make you a liar.
I cited Daily Caller, which means this statement of yours is another lie.
You can argue that she is obliged to answer questions. You cannot argue that she is obliged to answer questions on television. That’s what Issa demanded.
@Jenos Idanian #13: Gosh, I missed your little bet. Sorry for not obsessively following you across all forums. I will outsource my response to your current poutfest to the illustrious Mr. Masterson:
One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
I guess we should not be surprised that you don’t know how the government works. The internal reporting chain at the IRS has the commissioner at the top – everyone reports to him/her either directly or indirectly. The commissioner reports to the Secretary of the Treasury, who serves at the pleasure of the President.
So no, Congress is not the boss of everyone. They have oversight. It’s not the same thing.
If you really think Congress was Lerner’s boss, you should be holding them responsible for Lerner’s supposed misdeeds, not whining about Obama.
@wr: So you won’t put up, and you won’t shut up. You really are proud of being a totally ballless coward, aren’t you?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
wr has shared some facts about his life with the group, it actually sounds like he leads an interesting and rewarding life. Working with Dick Van Dyke and writing those books is pretty impressive.
What do you base your “pathetic” claim on? And I note that you, on the other hand, are more or less a complete cipher. I wonder why that is 🙂
@jukeboxgrad: You can argue that she is obliged to answer questions. You cannot argue that she is obliged to answer questions on television. That’s what Issa demanded.
Why can’t Issa demand that she answer in public? Where is it written that she has the right to impose any conditions at all on her cooperation and still keep her job and her benefits? What law, what rule, what policy says that the employee can set the conditions on the employer?
Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Lerner’s gross misconduct went on for so long because she was allowed to operate in secret.
It’s entirely understandable why she didn’t want to testify in public. Hell, it’s entirely understandable why she didn’t want to testify at all. And it’s also understandable why you and so many others are so frantic to keep her shut up.
But just because it’s understandable doesn’t make it justifiable.
@anjin-san: And I note that you, on the other hand, are more or less a complete cipher. I wonder why that is
That’s because my life is so incredibly boring, even I don’t care to hear about it.
And would you be interested in taking up that wager? Do you agree with wr’s repeated and unfounded lies, and believe in them enough to put some skin in the game?
Note that this is not an offer to extend the offer to you, just a bit of curiosity if you care about the matter, or just want to stir up crap as usual, without actually offering anything of substance.
Because it’s not a reasonable demand. Maybe he should also demand that she answer while standing on one foot.
And aside from this, your original claim is still a lie:
Because your claim implies that “she refuses” unconditionally. That’s why you’re trying to change the subject by arguing a different point.
@jukeboxgrad: So now you’re declaring things you don’t like “unreasonable,” and I lied because you inferred something I didn’t say.
Nope. No arrogance there at all. Why, I should apologize for saying such things.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
I’ve got an idea. Stop ranting on blogs, and go make your life more interesting. Everyone will be better off.
Consider these statements:
A) She refused to testify
B) She refused to testify on TV unless she had immunity
C) She agreed to testify privately even if she didn’t have immunity
B and C are true. A is not. You said A. You’re a liar.
@Mikey: The general issue has been tackled by Doug [url=https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/no-lois-lerner-did-not-waive-her-fifth-amendment-rights-by-making-an-opening-statement/]here [/url]and tangentially [url=https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/further-thoughts-on-the-fifth-amendment-and-lois-lerners-supposed-waiver-of-privilege/]here [/url].
Off the top of my head I would say that talking about matters with an institution that is not involved in a criminal persecution capacity would impede her right to “take the fifth” no more than discussing those things with a friend in private would.
The idea behind selective invocation is that it would be unfair if a witness were able to present their point of view in court but then refuse to be double-checked on the veracity of the statements by claiming fifth amendment rights. If you make a claim in court, it must be open to examination.
That logic does not apply if one discusses matters out of court since that does not create an imbalance in the pursuit of justice.
On the other hand, nothing precludes a court or the Senate to call on people present at the interview to testify.
But then I’m not admitted in the U.S.. Perhaps harvardlaw92 or Doug can shed some light?
Could someone free my comment please 🙂
Is your comment a reply to me? Just curious.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Well, I gave you a brief lesson on how the federal government works. Is your idea of “substance” your own made up version? Or is it your repeated references to male anatomy? The name calling?
Please show us this substance you seem to think you are presenting.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
First, as has already been pointed out on this thread, Lerner no longer has a job with the federal government, so unless you’re in an alternate universe (a possibility I do not discount) I have no idea why you keep asking why Lerner should be allowed to keep her job.
As for her benefits, they were part of her compensation, just like her salary. Taking them away is penalizing her, in exactly the same way taking back some of her salary (aka fining her) would be.
Where is it written that the government cannot penalize people for exercising their constitutional rights? Well, I know it is written down somewhere, but I can’t quite remember where. I think it was in a very important bill. Obamacare? The PATRIOT Act? Maybe, but I can’t shake this feelng there’s a more important bill about rights I’m forgetting…
@Ravi: And why doesn’t she have a job? Because she chose to retire, with full benefits.
And this wouldn’t be a case of the government penalizing someone for exercising their Constitutional rights. (That’s what Lerner spent decades doing.) This was a case of an employee refusing to comply with the directives of their employer.
In cases like that, loss of job and benefits are entirely legal and appropriate.
@Jenos Idanian #13: Why are right wingers so completely obsessed with male genitalia? Everything is about balls and dicks, as if they can’t stop dreaming about them.
It’s okay if you’re gay, Jenos. I’ll even support your right to have a cake baked for your wedding. I find your hyperventilating over my genitalia a little icky, but whatever gets you off.
@jukeboxgrad: Now you fail logic and/or grammar.
All are true. The additions you put on there are modifiers.They don’t change the primary clauses.
Now, if I’d said she’d absolutely and unconditionally refused to testify, then you’d have a point. But I didn’t. She was directed by her employer to report on her actions carried out under color of office, and refused.
She had the right to request conditions, conditions above and beyond the legally mandated employees’ rights. Instead, she demanded them, and was refused.
Just where do you find the authority for her to make such demands, besides your own arrogance? Where is the law, rules, policy that says she can put any conditions at all on how she testifies to Congress on what actions she undertook under color of law?
I guess Jenos got sick and tired of playing with his other sock puppet, the one who claims to have a PhD from the London School of Economics.
Oh well—it looks like my new company has just signed up its first client, so have to hustle! Good day everyone.
@wr: wr, you could not possibly disgust and horrify me and drive me away than the notion that you’re considering me in a sexual context.
So if you’ don’t understand metaphorical speech, then “gutless.” “Cowardly.” “Craven.” “Yellow.” “Chicken.”
Keep parroting your lies, can’t put up, won’t shut up. “Like and IPod stuck on replay.” Never anything new, just same tired old lies, over and over. “Stuck on stupid.” Waste of skin. Oxygen thief. Missed opportunity for a perfectly justified abortion.
See? No mention of genitalia at all. Happy now?
You said this:
Now, if you’d said ‘she refuses to appear on TV to say what she did,’ then “you’d have a point.” But that’s not what you said. Which means you’re a liar, because “refuses to say what she did” is false.
@jukeboxgrad: She was directed to testify. She refused. You want to argue that “refusing unless conditions are met” is not refusing.
What the hell is your native language? What is your native planet, for that matter?
I don’t know why I’m going to offer a compromise, because I know for damned certain it will be used against me, but I will anyway:
“Lerner refused to testify unless her conditions were met.”
Conditions she had no legal right to demand, but she did anyway.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
That’s a right wing problem, or hasn’t Darrell Issa weighed in on that?
@Jenos Idanian #13: Constitution, Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, due process, read it, etc.
“She was directed to testify” on TV. She offered to testify privately, even without immunity. You said “she refuses to say,” which is a lie, and your latest words I just quoted are a repeat of that lie.
Correct, and the only ‘condition’ was that the testimony be private, which is a perfectly reasonable request. And this is what you would have said if you were an honest person, but you’re not an honest person, so it’s not what you said.
HarvardLaw92 actually the best course is to ignore it entirely. Trolls feed on any attention and this one seems to think down votes mean that people read and are annoyed by its screeds, rather than just seeing the id and down voting. Ignore it entirely and maybe it will eventually find greener pastures.
@Jenos Idanian #13: Hey, I’m not the one obsessing over male genitalia. If this is something that disturbs you, rather than blather on like an idiot, you should get professional help.
And know that most closeted Republicans went on to live much happier lives once they’d accepted who they were.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Not possible – because it would be illegal. Federal employees do not lose vested pension benefits – which hers were – unless convicted of certain crimes involving national security.
If you were an attorney – which you are not – you would have known that before opening your mouth and making yourself look like an idiot (as usual).
Perhaps if one of your sockpuppets is an attorney, he/she can explain it to you in more detail.
Agreed. Derision is a sh*tty kind of attention, but I guess it’s all that this nimrod has to live for. “Better to be hated than ignored” is a hell of a sad way to live …
@Tillman: Constitution, Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, due process, read it, etc.
All of which are totally irrelevant on her employment status. Here’s something you can read, from my very first comment here: “my position has always been that Lerner was entitled to invoke the 5th. ”
As far as the legality of stripping her of her pension and benefits — yeah, I’m no lawyer. And I’ve spent my entire life in the private sector. I was extrapolating from that — if my employer had asked me what I had done while on the clock, acting in the company’s name, and I refused to tell him, I’d be fired on the spot. How foolish of me to think that a public employee wouldn’t be held to a similar standard, especially one who is acting under color of law, with the full force of the federal government behind her.
At least I know that the weaponizing of the IRS and the Justice Department will stop as soon as the Democrats no longer control them, and rediscover the notion that such things are Bad. Because the highest law isn’t the Constitution, it’s the benefit of the Democrats. It’s an accepted legal doctrine that if a law would somehow benefit Republicans, then it’s entirely legal and actually good to break that law.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Fired? Yes, you would be, unless your employer allowed you to retire – which after decades of service is not outside the realm of the possible. Lose your vested pension benefits? No. You wouldn’t lose those either.
As for weaponizing of the IRS, which is ludicrous on face, these people were doing their jobs. Scrutinizing applications for tax exemptions is what they were responsible for doing. If anything, they should be doing it a great deal more, given the extent to which political organizations are misusing the tax code to avoid campaign finance laws. The simple fact is that the vast majority of 501(c)(4) applications do not meet the statutory requirements for the tax-exempt status (which I assure you that none of these organizations care about in the least) and should be denied on that basis.
Repeal the anonymity provisions of 501(c)(4) and you would see these applications largely evaporate overnight – because that is the only part of this exemption that they care about.
That having been said, whatever gave you the idea that there is any legal requirement that the IRS must allocate examinations equitably – on any basis?
“Refused to tell him” is a lie. It’s no surprise that you are doubling down on your lie.
Aside from that, Issa is not her “employer.”
@jukeboxgrad: Issa, as the one who ultimately paid her salary, was her employer.
And since you insist on being an a-hole, I’ll go pedantic and condescending: Lerner was called to testify, and did not. Here’s the dictionary:
To make it even easier for you, I bolded the most relevant definition. And if you click on the blue words, you can even see for yourself.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
This is more an indictment of the kind of compensation labor has come to expect in the last couple of decades than it is of government, really.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
No, the federal government paid her salary. Issa was neither her supervisor nor was he in her chain of command. Did her refusal to testify constitute a possible reason for those in her chain of command – you know, the executive branch – to terminate her? Sure, but they chose not to. That was their decision to make, not Issa’s.
Are you trying to assert that the president can fire, say, a Congressional staffer? That a Supreme Court justice can fire a White House staffer? You clearly do not understand separation of powers.
The ones “who ultimately paid her salary” are taxpayers. That doesn’t mean taxpayers are “her employer.” “Her employer” was the executive branch of the federal government.
She “was called to testify” on TV, and she responded by offering to testify privately, and you’re still a liar.
@grumpy realist: C’mon admit it, you’re not absolutely 100% certain one way or the other whether Jenos and I are one in the same are you? You might have your suspicions, but you have some doubt.
Your internet handle of choice does not exactly constitute proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you are an attorney either. As I have established previously, I could easily change my handle to DukeLaw92 – that does not mean I attended Duke.
You are an established and proven liar so there is no compelling reason to give you the benefit of the doubt in any of your claims.
You don’t seem to have a grasp of what the statute of limitations is. If you did, you’d know that your pal Lois is not completely off the hook. President Walker’s AG could still revisit this issue.
@Jenos Idanian #13: Dude, you need a union rep! And did you know that Civil Service Retirement is based on something called an annuity that required Ms Lerner to put somewhere between 7 and 10% of her pay into it? That she also paid extra taxes for Medicare eligibility? So you want to steal the money she contributed to her own retirement because she had the gall to use the Constitution as a safeguard against a media circus. Classy.
@JohnMcC: Lois should be forced to forfeit any pension or annuity as part of any plea deal President Walker’s AG offers her when she is indicted.
Public employees should not be allowed to unionize. When they collectively bargain, they are collectively bargaining against whom? Us.
There is no reason in the world why public employees need a union. God bless Scott Walker for smashing them in Wisconsin!
So, why did Walker balk at busting the Police & Public Safety Unions?
Oh wait, we know why: because police and fire safety union members are Republican voters.
@al-Ameda: Because those unions (or at least their members) tend to support Republicans.
It was political and Walker played the game well. That’s why he’s a serious contender – he understands how to play the game.
If teachers unions backed Republicans Walker would not have gone after them. He’s smart…………..and they’re not.
Look out, he’s cracking, he might’ve learned how to use a public VPN.
Isn’t it interesting that when Jenos starts to get his ass kicked (like he usually does), one of his irascible alter egos just magically shows up to throw a tantrum?
Coincidence? Who can say, but the timing is remarkable. Just … remarkable … 😀
No, my legal arguments, which none of you seem to be attempting to rebut, serve to substantiate that claim.
Much like how, in contrast, your fumbling economic arguments do not substantiate your claim of holding a PhD in economics. You play the troll game well, but when it comes down to it, you don’t have the intellectual firepower to back up your boasts.
Well, how lucky for us that you showed up then. By all means, lay out your legal arguments with regard to the statute of limitations regarding congressional contempt citations. Cite for us which statutes she, in your considered legal opinion, violated. Explain for us how her conduct constitutes a violation of each. You know, make an argument – instead of flinging poo.
At least your Jenos personality has the self-awareness to admit that he’s out of his depth in this regard, but since you seem to believe yourself qualified, make an argument. Enthrall us with your legal acumen.
If you can …
@Jenos Idanian #13: If your employer decided to strip you of your vested pension, that’s illegal and you should have gone after him.
@HarvardLaw92: don’t hold your breath, the amount of ignorance regarding the constitution, employment law and practices, and pension law is breathtaking. She worked for the executive branch, not the legislative. Retirement in lieu of firing is very common in the world of employment. Very few VPs and higher are fired, the retire or resign with a package. The pension, as stated above is hers, not the governments, kind of like your 401k, once vested, it’s yours. For people who claim to know a lot about the constitution and the real world of employment, they sure do seem to get it wrong a lot.
@HarvardLaw92: The number of people who think they can learn the law from watching Law and Order…..
It’s even funnier when watching people like Rod Dreher, who is absolutely, completely convinced that he only has to scream “Religious Liberty!” and somehow that trumps 500 years of public accommodations law. Heck, he can’t even understand that this is a public accommodations law problem and the reason why people are so grumpy about Indiana’s RFRA is because it’s got several tweaks in it that take it waaaaay out of normal, especially in light of the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision.
To hear these people talk, you’d think they don’t understand the fact that SCOTUS decisions do, in fact, change the legal environment.
@David in KC:
Oh, I know. I throw down these gauntlets precisely because I know they’re incapable of picking them up. I didn’t expect a substantive reply from him when I asked the question. The point is to illustrate that he can’t provide one.
@HarvardLaw92: kind of figured that out. Been a rough few days and thought I would join in the fun.
@David in KC: well, it’s one little troll deciding to deal with the boredom of his life by posting under an army of sockpuppets–what did you expect? none of them can demonstrate any knowledge in this area (or any other) because the individual doesn’t have any.
Troll could have a much more fruitful life if he decided to spend the same time he spends obsessively posting on blogs in gaining a useful skill, like becoming fluent in Chinese, or Spanish, which would open a whole new world to him. And job opportunities.
But that would be work, you see. And trolls just don’t do work. It’s more fun to troll.
@David in KC:
By all means, good sir, join in the affray 😀
This troll clearly knows your buttons and how to push them, stop taking the bait.
@HarvardLaw92: A Congressional contempt citation expires when the Congress which issued it ends. Ol’ Lois is lucky in that regard.
However, the next AG most certainly can nail her for obstruction of justice. Her hard drive did not conveniently crash. Judge Napolitano said the statute of limitations for that is five years —– that brings us past January 20, 2017 so Lois is not out of the woods.
In another post you stated that a court can establish a protected class. That’s the purview of a legislature. The fact that you don’t know such a basic concept is why I have my doubts that you went to law school.
I don’t have to prove anything. You’re akin to Harry Reid making a baseless accusation against Mitt and asking him to disprove a negative. Word on the street is that you beat your wife —- prove that this is not the case.
This is what you are doing to me. You made an absurd allegation. The onus is not on me to disprove it – the onus is on you to prove it and you have spectacularly failed. You clearly are too stupid to know where to look for a dissertation. That’s your problem – not mine.
Hey Jenos, why don’t you create a sock puppet that’s an astronaut? The would be really cool.
Oh wait, that won’t work. I have a friend that’s a real astronaut. You know, someone who has actually done something with their life. I realize that concept probably means nothing to you.
the Supreme Court cannot designate a protected class? Really? Someone really doesn’t have any idea how civil rights law works or who decides things like whether the standard of review is strict scrutiny or not.
Again, no dear. The statute of limitations regarding 18 U.S.C. § 1519 is five years. It runs from the completion of the allegedly qualifying act, which occurred in 2011.
Now, assuming you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt BOTH that she 1) deliberately destroyed her hard drive, AND 2) that she did so with the intent of impeding an investigation, you are golden.
But you’ll have to indict her by July, 2016 at the latest. Your dreamed about conservative president couldn’t assume office until January of 2017, so it looks like you are out of luck.
See, that’s one of those things you would have known – if you were an attorney. 😀
@HarvardLaw92: Hanah Volokh agrees. I’ve always been skeptical of the related power of issuing subpoenas for its dog and pony show “hearings.” SCOTUS has long settled that one, though.
He’s blowing smoke. He disingenuously cites a 1969 case, Ellis v. United States. His contention is that this case establishes a “firmly settled” rule in the D.C. Circuit that the privilege does not carry over from one proceeding to another. However, he omits to describe exactly what the court held: A witness who voluntarily gave testimony before a grand jury may not invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege when called to testify at the criminal trial resulting from an indictment by that grand jury. Not only is Ellis readily distinguishable from Ms. Lerner’s situation, but the D.C. Circuit and other courts that have discussed this carve out from the general rule have made clear that waiver is strictly limited to the circumstance where the testimony was offered to the grand jury but the witness now seeks to raise the Fifth Amendment at the subsequent trial. As recently as 2011 the D.C. Circuit reiterated that this is a very narrow exception.
[quote]Is your comment a reply to me? Just curious. [/quote]
This time you’re blameless. I was addressing Mikey above.
@GeorgetownLawyer: Thank you for the explanation. I kinda figured he was trying to spin things.
Ebenezer, thanks for explaining.
I agree, Walker is unprincipled.