[By: Jake Stern]
Lois Lerner, who heads the tax-exempt division of the IRS (the one that allegedly targeted right-wing groups), refused to testify to Congress yesterday, other than saying (six different ways) that she did nothing wrong or illegal. Then she pleaded the fifth.
That’s funny. I thought the fifth amendment was to protect people from incriminating themselves. Strange for someone who’s not a criminal to use it. She claimed that the fifth amendment is in fact meant to protect the innocent. Protect the innocent? From what? Is she worried she may accuse herself of committing a crime she knows she didn’t commit?
Some in Congress say she waived her right to the fifth when she claimed to be innocent. Sounds logical to me.
But her lawyer says a “brief” declaration of innocence does not waive her right to plead the fifth. Aha. Brief. Okay, so how long does she have to spend telling us that she’s innocent before she loses her right to not testify on grounds that she’s guilty?
My real gripe with the IRS, though, is not the crime they committed. It’s the stupidity. They’re supposed to be collecting tax dollars. They should be going after Democrats, not Republicans. Republicans pay their taxes (albeit begrudgingly). But as Tim Geithner, Charlie Rangel, Eric Holder, and many others will tell you, lots of democrats who preach about taxes do not actually pay them. (Granted in Holder’s case it was property taxes, not in the jurisdiction of IRS).
This is fiscally irresponsible and foolish. You want to collect revenue, the last place to look is at conservative groups. The IRS should target ACORN and Planned Parenthood. Or better yet, since they’re spending so much time on Capitol Hill these days NOT testifying, why don’t people like Lois Lerner target Charlie Rangel? He’s sitting right there across from her. And he has good reason to invoke the fifth.
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