IRS's Lerner Had History of Harassment, Inappropriate Religious Inquiries at FEC


#1

IRS’s Lerner Had History of Harassment, Inappropriate Religious Inquiries at FEC
4:45 PM, May 20, 2013
WeeklyStandard.com
By MARK HEMINGWAY

Still, Lerner has her defenders in the government and the media. Shortly after the scandal broke, The Daily Beast published an article headlined “IRS Scandal’s Central Figure, Lois Lerner, Described as ‘Apolitical.’” Insisting Lerner, and the IRS more broadly, were not not politically motivated has been a central contention of those trying to minimize the impact of the scandal.

The trouble with this defense is that, prior to joining the IRS, Lerner’s tenure as head of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was marked by what appears to be politically motivated harassment of conservative groups.

Lerner was appointed head of the FEC’s enforcement division in 1986 and stayed in that position until 2001. In the late 1990s, the FEC launched an onerous investigation of the Christian Coalition, ultimately costing the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours in lost work. The investigation was notable because the FEC alleged that the Christian Coalition was coordinating issue advocacy expenditures with a number of candidates for office. Aside from lacking proof this was happening, it was an open question whether the FEC had the authority to bring these charges.

All told the FEC deposed 48 different people—and that doesn’t begin to account for all the FEC’s requests for information. Bopp further detailed the extent of the inquiry in testimony delivered before the congressional Committee on House Administration in 2003:

One of the most shocking things about the current IRS scandal is the revelation that the agency asked one religious pro-life group to detail the content of their prayers and asked clearly inappropriate questions about private religious activity. But under Lerner’s watch, inappropriate religious inquiries were a hallmark of the FEC’s interrogation of the Christian Coalition. According to Bopp’s testimony:

Curious pattern: lengthy investigation costing the one investigated massive $$ and man-hours; open-ended document requests; deposing numerous people hardly peripherally related; incredibly inappropriate and nebulous open-eneded questions. FEC tactics against the Christian Coalition; IRS tactics against conservative and religious groups and individuals. “Interesting”, suggestive, pattern: one leadership person in common. Oh by the way … after months or even years of “investigation” … and spending hundreds of thousand of $$ defending itself … the Christian Coalition was … exonerated.


#2

…and hopefully vindicated, too, Pete.

How’s that saying go? "Once, is a mistake; twice, ineptness; thrice, a pattern."
That’s not exact, but my point is the pattern part. And now that the numb-nut has opened herself to questioning, the prosecutors can go after this long pattern of abuse of office.
Y’all know I’m no lawyer, but as I understand it, proving a pattern can lead to opening up a very messy can of worms - one, again as I understand it - NO defendant wants to see opened.

But first we have to see how the next episode is entitled. Either:
Issa Convinces Judge to Subpoena Lerner to Testify; OR
Lerner’s Attorney Convinces Judge to Delay, (forever and ever and ever)

Which are you betting on? I’m of two minds. Issa is no dummy, by any stretch. Yet, Lerner’s got some pretty powerful people in her corner, too.

One thing I’m fairly certain of - By time all is said and done, it’s gonna be mighty crowded under that bus!


#3

The Christian Coalition was always guilty even if proven innocent in at least some Lib & Prog circles. Like former Pres. G. W. Bush and Memo-gate: some Libs and Progs insist the memo was genuine and the narrative was true; other Libs and Progs admit the memo was fake, but still insist the narrative was true.