Good editorial today in the Washington Examiner, on the reasons for IRS chief Lois Lerner’s stubborn silence.
First, she knows the House of Representatives can cite her for contempt of Congress, but Attorney General Eric Holder would decide whether she is prosecuted on that charge. Lerner need not worry since President Obama has already told the world there wasn’t “a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS actions, and Holder allowed a major Obama campaign contributor to have a role in Department of Justice‘s faux investigation of the scandal.
That gives the game away. Obama and Holder will not allow a real investigation into IRS abuse to proceed, likely because they both know that at a minimum it leads to Obama appointees at the IRS and into the White House counsel’s office. At the moment, Obama and Holder have control over the FBI’s non-investigation, and they have Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, interfering with the main House investigation. They have the congressional investigation in check.
Those are the four essential points of the IRS scandal: Who ordered the tax agency to get involved, who in the tax agency responded, who they targeted and what actions they took. [Lerner] cannot answer these questions because, as she herself has claimed, that would be incriminating. Lerner and others must hope Issa doesn’t already have the answers.
Issa and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) have hinted that they do have the answers. But they need Lerner’s testimony, and she is reprising the role played by Susan McDougal during the Clintons’ Whitewater scandal: clamming up long enough to allow the principals to escape justice. McDougal spent 18 months in prison for refusing to testify. Lerner may end up in similar circumstances.
Given the way the administration and congressional Democrats are behaving, only an independent counsel can get to the bottom of this. But the independent counsel law expired years ago. As things stand now, any independent counsel would be chosen by…Eric Holder.
More: Greta Van Susteren called Obama out on her show last night, saying that he is “part of the problem” in the IRS scandal. She’s half right. Obama is part of the problem, but the problem is, he’s the biggest part of the problem. He signaled that he wanted Citizens United overturned. He signaled how he wanted that decision overturned when he hired Bob Bauer in the White House counsel’s office, after Bauer had spent the 2008 campaign calling for the regulation of political speech, especially conservative political speech. Obama also signaled that cover-ups were his way when he put an executive privilege blanket over the Fast and Furious investigation. Obama has tipped his hand on lawlessness repeatedly in the rollout of Obamacare, and he has signaled his intolerance for opposition throughout his political career. Once again, Obama is showing how he has effectively hacked our system of governance, checkmating investigations into what may be the most consequential government abuse of power since Watergate.