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Editorial: Lois Lerner: At this point, what difference does it make?
About politics and other thingsJune 25, 2014 | 1,859 views | Post a comment
The ongoing saga of Lois Lerner, the IRS, and the Barack Obama administration dealing with “lost” emails has been interesting, to say the least. It’s reminiscent of the old story about the kid not having his homework when the teacher asked for it. “But the dog ate it,” he gave as his excuse.
We all know that is the poorest excuse ever, and this latest twist from the IRS -- that Lerner’s computer crashed and the emails in question were simply lost -- is just as poor.
After congressional investigations began, Lerner became the face of the IRS debacle. She was subpoenaed twice and testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee -- and then pleaded the Fifth.
Lerner was the head of the Exempt Organizations Unit for the IRS when accusations from conservative groups began to surface. Applications for Tea Party-type groups were delayed, sometimes for years.
The IRS, through the voice of Lerner, continued to deny that it had done anything wrong. Slowly, however, information was uncovered showing that, between 2009 and 2011, conservative groups were not being granted tax-exempt status on the par with other groups.
Finally, through investigations of groups such as Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice, details emerged. In the years prior to the 2012 elections, only a handful of conservative applications were approved for a tax-exempt status, while dozens of progressive groups were approved.
After demands were placed on the IRS to produce Lerner’s email communications, there was more stalling, possibly while someone went through the correspondence and made certain that any incriminating messages disappeared.
According to the IRS, Lerner’s computer “crashed” and then it was destroyed. Whether the hardware itself was destroyed by recycling “in the normal course of business,” or someone took a hammer to it, this excuse is reminiscent of the Nixon Watergate scandal.
While the Nixon administration was being investigated for the Watergate break-ins, his secretary “accidently” erased about 18 and a half minutes from an audiotape of more than 300,000 minutes. This attempt to cover up the evidence is what ultimately led to Nixon’s downfall.
At the time, I recall another leading politician saying that what Nixon should have done instead of erasing evidence, is to take all the tapes, pile them up on the White House lawn, and set fire to the whole mess. And he would have done it in full public view. There would have been no lies, but the evidence would have been gone.
It appears that the IRS did destroy evidence, but they did it in secret -- and then lied about it. Without a Woodward and Bernstein or any investigative journalist going after the story, the lies continue. It appears that the administration continues to do everything it can to obstruct the investigation.
For the IRS to claim, after months of ongoing questions, that it could not provide copies of Lerner’s email records because of a computer crash is a bit far-fetched. Selected emails do not simply disappear. The low-information voter may not realize that a deleted email can be recovered, but everyone in business knows that it can.
There are backups and storage -- and the NSA -- for heaven’s sake. We know the NSA records everything and saves it to protect us from terrorists.
But perhaps Hillary Clinton has the best answer, with her now-infamous quote about Benghazi:
“What difference -- at this point -- does it make?”
Well, to us taxpayers and voters, it makes a big difference. If records disappear that easily from the IRS, it might be our refund check that goes missing next time and they will have no way to trace it.
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