As Ace noted last week, “Lerner Embraces Theory That The Process Is The Punishment” — and does so quite publicly and cavalierly:
1 March, 2010 – IRS officials start targeting organizations with “tea party”, “patriot”, and “9-12;” in their names.27 June, 2011 – Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Operations, learns of the inappropriate targeting. She initiates an audit of the office involved, but the targeting continues.
17 November, 2011 – Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Operations, tells Businessweek that receiving a thick questionnaire from the IRS is a “behavior changer.”
Incredible. Patterico is taken with the fact that she admits this to a magazine; if this is the sort of thinking she brags about to a national news magazine, one can only tremble at what she’s holding back.
In America — in any free country — you are supposed to be free from punishment and compulsion unless you are found guilty of some misbehavior through Due Process.
But Lois Lerner doesn’t like that idea. Instead, she embraces the notion that people can and should be punished and compelled into acting the way she prefers, not after Due Process has found them blameworthy, but before anyone even thinks to file charges.
She’s decided that the process itself can and should be a tool of state coercion. She doesn’t need a finding from a legal tribunal to impose burdens on freedoms and to compel what she considers “correct” behavior — she’ll serve as judge and jury herself, and impose the punishment of a “thick questionnaire” as a tool of “behavior change.”
For Lerner, trying to cohesively strong arm others into changing their “behavior” is a pattern that dates back at least into the previous decade:
Under the direction of Lois Lerner, the Federal Election Commission sued the Christian Coalition in the 1990s. She harassed the Christian Coalition for three election cycles. Eventually, she lost her case. At one point Lerner even asked a conservative if Pat Robertson prayed over him. (Sound familiar?)
Then there’s this…
Lois Lerner made this offer to Republican Senate candidate Al Salvi in 1996, “Promise me you will never run for office again, and we’ll drop this case.”
Tomorrow (Thursday) should be fun if this report plays out:
FOX News reporter Carl Cameron told Bill O’Reilly tonight that on Thursday House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has information that will move the IRS scandal up into the White House. “What he said to me today was make sure to watch tomorrow’s hearing because he’s going to present the evidence to prove it…. That he can get it right up all the way into the White House before it was all revealed.”
And just as a reminder, in 2009 President Obama “joked” about siccing the IRS on his enemies.