IRS Administrator Pleads Right Not to Self-Incriminate…
Lois Lerner went before the house oversight subcommittee investigating the IRS scandal today, and claimed she was at the advice of her attorneys going to exercise her right to plead the fifth amendment and would not answer any of the committee’s questions.
AND Testifies to Her Innocence?
The statement from her attorney says Lerner ‘has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation,’ … ‘but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course.’ She echoed those arguments in her opening statement and then some.
Unfortunately, that pair of arguments cannot co-exist.
So, like, Ummm… there’s a few problems there
-1- For starters, you don’t get to have it both ways.
Pleading the fifth does NOT mean YOU get to make your own case for innocence, but the federal government simply cannot cross-examine you. Just not the way it works. There’s a fair argument that in making the case up front for her own innocence she waived the possibility of taking the fifth and refusing to answer afterward.
-2- You cannot use it to shield OTHERS, just yourself
The operative part of the 5th amendment that applies states that a witness cannot “be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”. If she didn’t commit a crime, she could not possibly incriminate herself and is therefore trying to use it to protect others. That’s real sweet of you, honey, but it isn’t guaranteed by the bill of rights.
If she committed no criminal act…
Then she CAN’T POSSIBLY “incriminate” herself with her testimony, she can only show the wrongdoings of her superiors or subordinates.
PSSST! The fifth amendment isn’t to protect your buddies
There is simply no constitutional right to avoid being compelled to provide incriminating testimony about wrongdoings committed by your bosses and/or subordinates. It only stops the government from compelling you to incriminate yourself.
Hell, that’s one reason subpoenas were invented…
We have the ability to compel witnesses to appear precisely so the government CAN compel people to provide testimony about wrongdoings of others even if they prefer not to. So basically in addition to admittedly not being good at Math, Ms Lerner is awfully weak on the subject of Law given that she’s a lawyer.
CONCLUSION: We the people, through our elected representatives, have every right to require her testimony UNLESS it would prove she committed a crime.
BUT WAIT! They keep assuring us NO CRIMES WERE COMMITTED?
Make up your mind, cause if no crimes were committed, it’s a bit weak to say you won’t answer questions on the grounds they might prove you committed a crime.
So Ms Lerner unwittingly confirmed what we already knew…
The IRS KNOWS they committed a crime. Now it is time for congress to find out who was involved; who physically did it, who ordered them to do it, who knew about it and failed to stop it or report it. Then it is time for criminal proceedings for everyone involved.
You don’t get to use the power of the government as a political hit team
… and then simply say “I’m sorry” when you FINALLY get caught. You also don’t get to lie to congress… which Ms Lerner has already done now multiple times.