On Wednesday, Lois Lerner, Director of the IRS Tax Exempt Division, pleaded the Fifth in front of Congress. Steadfastly refusing to offer testimony in a vain attempt to stonewall Congressional examination, Lerner’s self-imposed silence was expected. Unfortunately for her, however, Lerner wasn’t quite silent enough. She succumbed to the rampant but completely mistaken Democrat assertion of her own invulnerability. As comedian Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid.”
Ms. Lerner foolishly chose to preface her taking the Fifth with the following statement: “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.” The Committee dismissed her but she is still under oath. Following the day’s non-testimony by the IRS, Representative Issa checked his facts and found that, according to law, Ms. Lerner had, in fact, waived her Fifth Amendment rights by first making a statement. She had declared her innocence. According to The Politico, Rep. Issa clarified the rules: “When I asked her questions from the very beginning, I did so so she could assert her rights prior to any statement…She chose not to do so – so she waived.”
Lerner is a stunning illustration of partisan conceit. Her history of politically-motivated actions, designed to curtail freedom of speech, goes much farther back than 2010. Lerner had served as head of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Election Commission from 1986 – 2001. In the late ‘90’s she was responsible for harassing conservative groups, particularly those with religious ties. According the Weekly Standard, “…the FEC initiated a burdensome investigation of the Christian Coalition, an endeavor that ended up costing the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars and many hours of time. The investigation was considered particularly notable because the FEC claimed that “the Christian Coalition was coordinating issue advocacy expenditures with a number of candidates for office. Though there was no proof that this was occurring, the question remained of whether the FEC actually had the authority to bring these charges at all.” In 1999, the Christian Coalition was absolved of any wrongdoing by the FEC. In a blinding example of the Peter Principle, Lerner was promoted to acting General Counsel in 2001. The IRS got the benefit of her diligence shortly thereafter.
Lerner was the one who blew the whistle on the IRS having painted a bulls-eye on conservative groups. She lied, outright, when she asserted that the reason for isolating conservative groups was due to: “… between 2010 and 2012, we started seeing a very big uptick in the number of 501(c)(4) applications we were receiving, and many of these organizations applying more than doubled, about 1500 in 2010 and over 3400 in 2012.” This fairy tale earned Lerner four Pinocchio’s from The Washington Post. That is the highest designation that can be earned for lying. One would think The Washington Post’s award would have been enough of a lesson for her. Clearly, it wasn’t.
There’s a lot of truth to the observation that arrogance and stupidity are a bad combination. One can only hope that saying applies to IRS, not to us.