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LIVE: House Oversight hearing on #IRS targeting – Lois Lerner to appear (Update – Pleads the 5th)

LIVE: House Oversight hearing on #IRS targeting – Lois Lerner to appear (Update – Pleads the 5th)

Not a single question answered.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has scheduled a hearing on IRS targeting for 9:30am ET today.

Former IRS official Lois Lerner has been recalled to testify before the committee; she is expected to appear, but after much confusion over the last few days, it’s unclear whether or not Lerner will answer any questions.

Update:  Hearing over, Lerner pleaded the 5th to all questions:

(Lois Lerner Pleads 5th House Hearing 3-5-2014)

(Lois Lerner Pleads 5th House Hearing 3-5-2014)

Issa showed an email from Lerner in 2011 demonstrating hostility to the Tea Party and asked her about it, but she refused to answer questions about it:

(Lois Lerner Exhibit House Hearing 3-5-2014)

(Lois Lerner Exhibit House Hearing 3-5-2014)

Lerner left the hearing without answering a single quesion:

(Lois Lerner Leaves House Hearing 3-5-2014)

After Darrell Issa called the hearing adjourned, Rep. Elijah Cummings insisted on making a statement.  Issa had the microphone turned off and told people the hearing was over, as Cummings shouted:

(IRS Lerner Hearing Cummings shouting)

(IRS Lerner Hearing Cummings shouting)


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She’s taking the 5th!

Why is she there? What is the point of this?

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Moe4. | March 5, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Yeah, cause she needs to be on the side of the Interstate in an orange suit!

    Olinser in reply to Moe4. | March 5, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Her being there is the Republicans finally starting to smarten up a little bit.

    They’ve been letting Obama get away with his lying BS narrative about ‘no corruption, nothing to see here, move along, everything is fine!!’

    They should have been dragging Lerner in every single week and demanding answers. Every time she took the Fifth it would be more and more damning to Obama’s narrative of ‘no corruption, no wrongdoing, nothing wrong at all’.

      Rick in reply to Olinser. | March 5, 2014 at 11:48 am

      I hope you are correct, but I feel like I have seen this movie before. Has Issa, over the last 5 years, accomplished anything other than get some good TV time?

    raven in reply to Moe4. | March 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Good question.

Contempt anyone?

    DINORightMarie in reply to Moe4. | March 5, 2014 at 10:00 am

    So, now what will Issa do? Will Issa cut a deal with her to get immunity if she talks? Does ruling her in contempt come with punishment in any way? Since Issa isn’t a lawyer, I hope he gets some good legal council, like from Rep. Trey Goudy, perhaps.

    What did they do for John Dean for him to turn on Nixon and testify? That’s what all these cases of illegal Obama administration activity need – a John Dean (or several).

    But, it seems, there is no such animal among the left – someone with a conscience. But maybe there is a way…..? Immunity is only one carrot…..

    OT – what is up with Cummings? Does he think his rant will paint this whole thing as a raaaaacist sexist “war on women” thing?

      Bruce Hayden in reply to DINORightMarie. | March 5, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      I think that the answer there, as to whether she is offered immunity, probably revolves around what she can proffer as potential testimony. Unlikely to get any sort of immunity, if her testimony isn’t going to lead to higher ups.

      Making things much worse for Rep. Issa and his committee is that the DoJ seems to have taken a hands off attitude, not apparently willing to help get to the bottom of the scandal, but rather, seemingly intent on covering it up. So, there is no real credible threat that she would be prosecuted, absent immunity or testifying, and so why should she bother? And, that is really why the House has been able to make so little headway – no House committee in recent memory has faced such DoJ hostility in trying to exercise their oversight power and responsibility.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | March 5, 2014 at 9:51 am

Don’t you wish some member would remind her the IRS can be eliminated?

“Plan Introduced by Congressman to Wipe Out IRS

Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.) has introduced legislation that would end the income tax and abolish the IRS, replacing them with a state-administered sales tax on all goods and services. The bill, titled the Fair Tax Act of 2009 (HR 25), already has 44 cosponsors.”

Rep. Cummings is arguing a point that was just trumped by Lois Lerner taking the 5th. And now he’s throwing Lois Lerner under a bus as an incompetent manager, but certainly not corrupt.

joethefatman | March 5, 2014 at 9:58 am

Headline : Congressman Cummings apparently decided a temper tantrum is not beneath the committee. Senility or just covering?

    Sanddog in reply to joethefatman. | March 5, 2014 at 10:48 am

    That’s just Cummings usual MO. All heat, no light.

    casualobserver in reply to joethefatman. | March 5, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Looked liked a deliberate effort to provide fodder for the media to tar ISSA as being purely partisan. I doubt Cummings really had anything meaningful to add. Just wanted to get some partisan words of his own on the record.

Nice work Issa.

It make you and your committee look like a clown posse.

This was a stepping stone…assuming the GOPers want to walk that path.

Now we’ll see, based on what happens next. WHICH will be partly dependent on how WE tell them to act.


    moonstone716 in reply to Ragspierre. | March 5, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Please elaborate. What do you think Issa is working toward?

      Ragspierre in reply to moonstone716. | March 5, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Lerner’s refusal to answer questions allows the committee, if it chooses, to begin the process of finding her in contempt of congress for obstructing the work of a congressional committee. Issa dangled that prospect at the outset of Wednesday’s hearing: “If Ms. Lerner continues to refuse to answer questions from our members while she is under a subpoena, the committee will proceed to consider whether she should be held in contempt,” he said.

      WE need to pressure the pursuit of this terrible event in American history.

      Obama is very like Putin in this regard: he watches how people react to his aggressions. He WILL take the next step if not stopped.

        They really need to come down hard on her… and go after all associates as well. They should all be so freaking scared that none of them can #2 a solid for the next 2 years

        She may be the designated “fall guy” but so far the GOP has made that about as rough as traffic court. No it should be like a Vietnamese POW camp.

Contemptible bi*ch. What an obscene administration. Nothing but in-your-face contempt for Americans. Remember, these are the tribunes of tolerance and wisdom amd social benefaction, as we’ve been told our whole lives. Nothing but runtingly corrupt scum. When is the rest of America going to get a clue?

PersonFromPorlock | March 5, 2014 at 11:13 am

If the House does something serious by the close of business today, we might think this is going somewhere. Otherwise it’s all delay and mumble.

casualobserver | March 5, 2014 at 11:19 am

Although Lerner did nothing to help her situation or that of the administration, Issa also allowed this to further diminish his standing as the leader of the investigation. He looks really weak right now. The only way to bring power back to his side is to hold her in contempt. Quickly.

    He looks it because he is. Like most Republicans, he’s nothing but hollow noise — or in his case a stern visage, a facility with sharply worded letters, and nothing to back them up.

Hate to say it, but Issa and the committee on ethics (What a joke) is doing nothing but make fodder for sunday talk shows.

No action has resulted from any of these hearings. WHEN ARE THE CRIMINALS GOING TO JAIL?!?!

Issa is just another in a long line of Republicans who talk a good game, but when the rubber hits the road, they are cashing the checks at the bank while everyone else suffers.

    Browndog in reply to Paul. | March 5, 2014 at 11:57 am

    For criminals to go to jail, they first must be charged, prosecuted, and sentence in a court of law-

    That falls to one man–

    The same man that actually WAS FOUND IN CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS.

    So, everyone can blather all they was about finding her in contempt–it means NOTHING.

      Bruce Hayden in reply to Browndog. | March 5, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      What Browndog is alluding to, but isn’t making explicit, is that the DoJ, under AG Holder, is actively trying to thwart the IRS investigation. Why should we expect that someone who has already been found in Contempt of Congress, thanks to his stonewalling in order to protect the Administration, would be the least bit helpful in getting to the bottom of this scandal. And, without the DoJ being willing to enforce sanctions against Lerner (or, indeed, AG Holder), Contempt of Congress is close to meaningless (sure didn’t hurt President Obama in his reelection bit).

Contempt of Congress? Really?

Not sure who’s laughing the hardest, me or Eric Holder-

Greta: So, you find her in Contempt of Congress, what happens next?

Trey Gowdy: Well, I suppose we could have the Sergeant at Arms arrest her, but that’s not going to happen.

…week or so ago on On the Record.

    PersonFromPorlock in reply to Browndog. | March 5, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Besides, if truth is a defense against libel, isn’t contemptability a defense against ‘contempt’?

    Estragon in reply to Browndog. | March 5, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    So are you assuming Obama will be President for Life, then, or that Hillary wins in 2016?

    Most of her acts against the Tea Party will still be within the statute of limitations when the next Administration is sworn in.

    Perhaps Obama will grant her a pardon, but then she could no longer claim the protection of the 5th.

Obama has a better chance of kicking Putin out of Crimea than the republicans have of moving these scandals beyond a committee hearing.

If I were Lois Lerner I wouldn’t be worrying in the least. She’s still on paid administrative leave, has a generous pension awaiting her and must realize that in Republicans she faces probably the least threatening, most impotent opposition force since the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

    Estragon in reply to raven. | March 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I believe she has formally retired now.

      Bruce Hayden in reply to Estragon. | March 5, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Agreed – but why should someone who refuses to testify before Congress, and then invokes the 5th Amdt., be allowed to retire with a full pension? Yet, that is what happened. And, with the full pension, along with no chance that the Holder DoJ will prosecute here, what is her incentive to testify at all? Esp. if it might make her prosecution at a future date more likely?

Contempt, although it cannot be enforced with an equally corrupt DOJ, does send a message. And Holder won’t be in charge of DOJ forever. At least the actions of IRS personnel in 2012 and after will still be under the statute of limitations when the next President takes office. And Congress could also recall Lerner on January 21, 2017, when a Republican AG might enforce contempt penalties.

But no immunity without a serious proffer from her attorney, it would make no sense to buy a pig in a poke.

And no sane attorney would allow her to testify without it at this point.

Henry Hawkins | March 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

If Lerner can provide testimony against crooks upriver in DC, I don’t care if they give her immunization. I don’t care if they buy her a dacha in Beverly Hills, a Rolls, and free Netflix for life. She may be the best pry bar available into this corrupt administration’s underbelly, and I’ll bet once you’re in and people start lawyering up and seeking their own immunity, they just might could open the whole can of worms, a la Watergate.

Issa, if he isn’t already, get former prosecutor and political pit bull Trey Gowdy (SC-R) on your team. He’ll know how to roll people up the chain.

I’m reluctant to beat up Darrel Issa because he’s the only one doing anything to haul these reprehensible people out into the public eye and get them on tape for posterity.

That said, several things come to mind. Nine months between performances is far too long and unacceptable. Lerner should have been called back within a month at the most, which leads to the second complaint. The committee (Issa?) should have been prepared to take immediate action on the response to each and every question posed, whether the response was an answer or the Fifth.

Question-by-question, a range of responses should have been anticipated and follow-up prepared for immediate use for each one. Universal invoking of the Fifth should have been anticipated and immediate action prepared for use at the hearing. Lerner should have found herself on a hot seat for four or five hours this afternoon. Instead, they let her off. Again.

The inability to plan for, or willingness to take actions, under circumstances such as this is exactly why people are fed up with Republicans and so skeptical of the Congressional Hearings Hit Parade. It’s like a reality show the UrGovTV network.

As to Elijah “We’re Better Than That” Cummings, one hopes that his little post-hearing clown-show hissy-fit does not find its way into any official transcript or record. I’m not betting against it. Even Lerner appeared entertained by that show.

Cummings is seriously unhinged. What a drama queen! Lois Lerner should be held in contempt of Congress at the very least. But I’m not holding any hope. After 300 days of dog an pony show, I’m pretty tired of it. The Congress is so completely ineffective against blatant violations of the constitution and rule of law it’s shameful. The NSA must have found enough dirt on every single House member that the administration is able to blackmail the whole body. What other explanation is there for their inaction?

Lois Lerner is a heroine to the left and she knows it. The more she takes the 5th the more they love her. And that includes the media. They care not a whit that she acted improperly. Didn’t some high-ranking Democrat publicly ask the IRS to continue investigating the terrorist Tea Party? No one said squat about that. Why would/should Lerner testify? There is no upside to her doing so.

    Bruce Hayden in reply to gasper. | March 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    And, as we all probably know, being a heroine to the left will probably, ultimately, result in a nice sinecure. We saw this with Sandra Flake, and now expect to see it with Lois Lerner. Probably needs to get beyond the current IRS scandal, but maybe some paid MSNBC gig, as an expert on the tax matters and the IRS. Or, maybe even better, CNN. Plus NYT, LAT, Time Magazine, etc. Or a well paid job at some leftist foundation.

Is there a way to rescind her resignation and then fire her?
Take away her retirement and other benefits?
Maybe a little financial pressure would change her mind.

The next step is for Issa declare Lois Lerner to be in contempt and see if Holder will put her in jail. If Holder refuses to put Lerner in jail, especially if the contempt citation is questioned and upheld by the courts, then there will now be a situation where a lawful sentence for a real crime will be denied and there can be no excuse or white washing it. The outrage should be overwhelming and if it is not, then all is lost for we no longer can be considered a nation of laws.