“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”
Perhaps, when one gets down to it, there was no actual intent of malice or ill-will on behalf of the IRS to persecute conservative groups (there was of course), and the bottom line is that all of the administration’s IRS apparatchicks were just bloody stupid.
Such is the conclusion one derives after watching today’s attempt by embattled IRS official Lois Lerner to plead the Fifth before the House Oversight Committee, which blew up spectacularly in her face, after she made an actual statement protesting her innocence, which it appears, was in itself a waiver of the waiver.
As a result, committee Chairman Darrell Issa has ordered Lerner to be hauled back, and to answer the questions she evaded earlier today, after now having effectively waived her Fifth Amendment right in retrospect, or else be charged with contempt!
The farce is becoming so blatant it is almost as if someone is utterly desperate to make a complete mockery of the entire IRS scandal, and in the process shake the administration to the core, which more than anything is being exposed as utterly incompetent to boot. Of course, the real question is what is the public’s attention being distracted from.
The California Republican said Lerner’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination was voided when she gave an opening statement this morning denying any wrongdoing and professing pride in her government service.
“When I asked her her questions from the very beginning, I did so so she could assert her rights prior to any statement,” Issa told POLITICO. “She chose not to do so — so she waived.”
She appeared before Issa’s committee this morning under the order of a subpoena and surprised many by reading a strong statement to the panel.
“I have not done anything wrong,” she said. “I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other committee.”… the committee may ultimately pursue a contempt charge if Lerner continues to refuse to talk.
And just so there is no confusion:
During the incident, Issa did not flat-out say whether or not Lerner had indeed waived her rights but instead tried to coax her into staying by offering to narrow the scope of questions.
By the afternoon, Issa was taking a harder stand.
“The precedents are clear that this is not something you can turn on and turn off,” he told POLITICO. “She made testimony after she was sworn in, asserted her innocence in a number of areas, even answered questions asserting that a document was true … So she gave partial testimony and then tried to revoke that.”
He said he was not expecting that.
“I understand from her counsel that there was a plan to assert her Fifth Amendment rights,” he continued. “She went ahead and made a statement, so counsel let her effectively under the precedent, waive — so we now have someone who no longer has that ability.”
Watch the entire exchange here, andfast forward to the sixth minute for the legal objection: