Wednesday, May 22, 2013

IRS Official Refuses to Testify - How to Force Testimony

-From second link:

"WASHINGTON (AP) — At the center of a political storm, an Internal Revenue Service supervisor whose agents targeted conservative groups swore Wednesday she did nothing wrong, broke no laws and never lied to Congress. Then she refused to answer lawmakers' further questions, citing her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself.

In one of the most electric moments since the IRS controversy erupted nearly two weeks ago, Lois Lerner unwaveringly — but briefly — defended herself before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But she would say no more, citing legal advice in the face of a federal investigation......."

"Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

-The meaning of the right to refuse to testify against oneself is clear; the full burden of proof rests in the hands of the State. It is not, contrary to Ms. Lerner's claim, meant to protect the innocent from being convicted - our court systems exist for that noble purpose. If a person stands accused, he can choose to refrain from testifying and the judge will inform the jury that they cannot consider the choice to remain silent as a factor in determining guilt. In the case of an investigative process, such as a Grand Jury or Congressional hearing, the witness (In this case the witness would not have been accused) can choose to cite his Fifth Amendment rights to refuse to answer questions if he believes that a truthful answer would provide information that could later be used as evidence of his guilt.

It does not mean, however, that a witness can flat-out refuse to answer questions, which is exactly what Lois Lerner did. One also cannot answer a question, which is effectively what she did when she stated that she had done nothing wrong (Regardless of whether or not any question had even been asked yet) and then refuse to answer any further questions. By stating on the record that she had done nothing wrong, she testified. 

If you are summoned to appear and testify, you must sit in that chair and wade through every question until the end, either answering or refusing to answer particular questions by citing your right each time. 

Note that Ms. Lerner heads the IRS unit that handles requests for tax- exempt status of  not-for-profit groups.

Where do the Congressional members who are conducting this investigation go now? 

Although Ms. Lerner's actions clearly constitute a refusal to testify, and warrant at least a charge of Contempt of Congress, I have a better idea - and it comes from the good ol' days when we actually recognized the threat from the Left.

Before we cowered from libelous attacks by the media and let the problem fester rather than rooting it out, our nation investigated the level of Communist activities in the country. Many witnesses or potential witnesses were understandably reluctant to testify before Congress, so those whom were believed have valuable knowledge of Communist activities, especially that of the prime movers of the threat, were legally ordered to testify. 

The trick was that they were first granted immunity from any future prosecution in that matter, thus negating any reason or right to cite the Fifth Amendment if one chose to refuse to answer questions.

I hold that Ms. Lerner should be the first beneficiary of the grant of full immunity from Criminal, Administrative, and Civil actions for her testimony. Any further refusal to answer will be grounds for whatever penalties that the law allows. Once then-loose-lips-Lerner is finished, Congress can choose their next witness, who will also be guaranteed the same immunity. 

This can continue until we find out who knew and ordered what. Once we get where I think we will, Obama can cite Executive Privilege and we can go from there.

We can't let Lois Lerner get away with what she did. It was not only a blatant obstruction of Justice, it was a thumbing of the nose at our Nation and its legislative body.

1 comment:

  1. Well Said Pleistarchos.

    Obama and his motley crew of warmed-over Marxist henchmen need to be called to account.