IRS COMMISSIONER MOCKS CONGRESS: Dares Oversight to Hold Him in Contempt Over Political Targeting

It isn’t pretty when the rule of law begins crumbling right before our eyes.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told a House panel that congressional investigators can try to hold him in contempt over the Tea Party targeting scandal whenever they think that they can make the charge stick, something he thinks is unlikely.

The topic came up when Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., asked for a date at which it would be appropriate for agency officials to be held in contempt if they have not yet provided the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with documents that have been requested from the IRS.

“I think the timeline is whenever you think you could actually sustain that in a court,” Koskinen replied. “I think we have a strong case that we have been cooperative, continue to be cooperative, and anybody looking at the systems we have and the time it takes would find that we’ve provided you more cooperation than, in fact, might be expected. And I think that, in fact, arguing and threatening contempt in that situation without understanding the circumstances is probably not going to be held up.”

It wasn’t the only time that accusations flew during a testy congressional hearing, as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, forced Koskinen to admit that he had patterned his testimony on a proposed regulation affecting the political activity of nonprofits after a Treasury Department official’s letter to Congress. Koskinen had previously said he had not conferred with administration officials.

Remember, House Speaker John Boehner refuses to name a Select Investigative Committee to conduct a formal inquiry with dedicated and experienced staff members.

Chalk this up as reason #4,035 that Boehner needs to go.

Hat tips: Conservative Tribune and BadBlue News

Doug Ross @ Journal

PERJURY: House Oversight Committee Says Lois Lerner Lied to Congress at least Four Times

It would appear that former IRS executive Lois Lerner could soon be held in contempt of Congress and — as an added bonus — charged with perjury.

[The House Oversight committee report] states that [former IRS overseer Lois] Lerner made false statements to committee staff on various occasions.

During a February 2012 briefing, Lerner told committee staff that the criteria for evaluating tax-exempt applications had not changed. According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), however, Lerner directed in June 2011 that the criteria used to identify applications be changed.

As Moe Lane observes, Lois Lerner now faces a very serious life-decision:

I don’t think that Darrell Issa is contemplating contempt charges. I think that he’s letting Ms. Lerner know that she has to decide soon whether it’s going to be her scalp that goes up on the lintel. House Oversight has no real reason not to put a former Director of IRS Exempt Organizations in jail for a few years, particularly if they can also convict a suitable number of subordinates: it would be nice to get the people in the Executive Branch who gave the orders, but putting the fear of God and Congress into those who got the orders will also pay dividends.

But, obviously if Lois Lerner is not the biggest fish in this investigation then Darrell Issa would like to get his hands on the one who is. That is Ms. Lerner’s only real bargaining card right now; I look forward to seeing her next play.

The House Oversight Committee summarized Lerner’s role as follows:

Through e-mails, documents, and the testimony of other IRS officials, the Committee has learned a great deal about Lois Lerner’s role in the IRS targeting scandal since the Committee first issued a subpoena for her testimony. She was keenly aware of acute political pressure to crack down on conservative-leaning organizations. Not only did she seek to convey her
agreement with this sentiment publicly, she went so far as to engage in a wholly inappropriate effort to circumvent federal prohibitions in order to publicize her efforts to crack down on a particular Tea Party applicant. She created unprecedented roadblocks for Tea Party organizations, worked surreptitiously to advance new Obama Administration regulations that curtail the activities of existing 501(c)(4) organizations – all the while attempting to maintain an appearance that her efforts did not appear, in her own words, “per se political.”

I don’t care whether the President is Republican or Democrat. The politicization of the IRS is inexcusable and should be grounds for impeachment.

Furthermore, an example should be made of Lois Lerner. A very painful example.

Hat tip: BadBlue News

Doug Ross @ Journal