Lois Lerner retires
Lois Lerner, the lovable rogue at the center of the IRS abuse-of-power scandal, is set to retire after several months of grueling “paid administrative leave.” There are few additional details at this time, because the IRS “declined further comment, citing privacy concerns,” according to Bloomberg News.
Doesn’t that just make you want to grab your pitchfork and torches? Where was all that concern for privacy when Tea Party groups were getting shaken down for donor lists, and pro-lifers were ordered to hand over their prayer books? If you want anyone to give a fig about your “privacy” these days, you need the right political connections.
More from Bloomberg News:
The IRS informed some in Congress about the retirement, said a Republican congressional aide, who requested anonymity to discuss the private conversation.
William Taylor, Lerner’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Just because Lois Lerner is retiring from the IRS does not mean the investigation is over,” Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said in a statement. “Far from it. In fact, there are many serious unanswered questions that must be addressed so we can get to the truth.”
At a May 22 congressional hearing, Lerner defended her work with the government.
“I am very proud of the work that I have done,” she said at a the hearing before she refused to answer questions, citing her constitutional protection against self-incrimination. “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws.”
This continues the Obama Administration’s unbroken record for never holding anyone accountable for anything. Lerner’s one of several IRS figures to retire gracefully or complete temporary work assignments without official reprimand.
This outrageous evasion of accountability is by no means limited to the IRS scandal. ”Paid administrative leave” – i.e. vacation time – has become the non-punishment of choice for embattled figures. Every scandal is met with a round of furious stonewalling and blatant lying – whatever it takes to get through a couple of news cycles, enough time for Obama-friendly media to change the subject.
The pattern repeats itself time and again: Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Benghazi, the IRS scandal… this Administration has perfected the art of tossing out the most ridiculous lies, from the “spontaneous video protest” of Benghazi to the “low-level Cincinnati employees” of the Internal Revenue Service, to slither past a few rounds of Sunday talk shows, then begin shrieking about “old news” and asking “what difference does it make?”
It’s a disgusting strategy that makes a mockery of transparency and accountability, especially when combined with the disturbing Obama tactic of seizing illegal powers and daring anyone to stop him. Elections cannot be the sole check against power, the only time when those who abuse their authority have to worry about facing the consequences of their actions. Among other things, that’s not much of a threat against the election-proof bureaucrats who wield much of the true power in the regulatory mega-State. Politicians love evading responsibility and keeping their hands clean by letting bureaucrats do all the dirty work. Look at the recent reports that Lois Lerner and her crew supposedly understood what Obama wanted with regard to the Tea Party, and implemented the desired voter suppression scheme without requiring direct orders.
That’s a pretty sweet racket, especially if the chief leg-breaker gets to retire with plush taxpayer-funded benefits and take a cushy job with a deep-pocketed left-wing group. The ultimate insult would be if Lerner gets a job helping liberal organizations apply for tax-exempt status… something they never seem to have trouble obtaining, despite liberal mythology to the contrary.
Update: Statement from Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), who sits on the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Oversight, and sponsored legislation to make it easier for federal agencies to terminate senior employees like Lois Lerner instead of giving them paid “administrative leave”:
“Lois Lerner’s taxpayer-funded paid vacation may be over, but the investigation into the inexcusable discrimination and harassment that happened on her watch has a long way to go. To most Americans, it still very much appears that Ms. Lerner is clinging to her Fifth Amendment rights in order to get away with undermining citizens’ First Amendment rights. Her testimony must still be heard, and her full involvement in the targeting of conservative groups must ultimately be uncovered, assessed, and, if necessary, result in consequences. The American people deserve a government they can trust again. My colleagues and I on the Ways and Means committee will not rest until that trust is restored and the unlawful overreaches of the IRS are brought to a permanent end.”