House votes to hold Lois Lerner in contempt

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by g8orbill, May 7, 2014.

  1. g8orbill
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    g8orbill Gators VIP Member

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    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/07/house-votes-to-hold-lerner-in-contempt-congress/
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    The House voted X-X for a resolution holding Lerner in contempt.

    Lerner’s case will now be sent to the Justice Department, which then must decide whether to essentially prosecute Lerner in the case.

    House GOP leaders have said Lerner’s testimony is important to fully investigate the scandal, in which IRS agents singled out Tea Party nonprofit applications for extra scrutiny.

    “Thorough investigations by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee have revealed findings that indicate that Ms. Lerner played a central role in the illegal targeting of conservative groups by the IRS,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said in a memo last month.

    Last May, Lerner refused to answer questions at a hearing about IRS agents singling outTea Party applications. She again refused to answer questions in March, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
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  2. Sohogator
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    It's extra legal won't stand under appeal
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  3. g8orbill
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    g8orbill Gators VIP Member

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    not so sure about that America First 'er I mean soho
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  4. Sohogator
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    Whatever America last. I thought I was supposed to be Castro or something like that. I see you got your tail tucked by the mods. Nice.

    Actually all holder has to do is do nothing problem solved
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  5. DaveFla
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    DaveFla Well-Known Member

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    Same thing he's been doing all along.
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  6. DaveFla
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    DaveFla Well-Known Member

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    BTW,

    IOW, it was a bipartisan vote...
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  7. orangeblueorangeblue
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    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

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    Not sure about the legal workings and the article was short on details so maybe someone can help - can one not invoke their 5th amendment without this risk?
  8. Gatorrick22
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    Gatorrick22 Well-Known Member

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    She spoke on the IRS matter and then evoked the 5th... which is a no-no, I guess.
  9. Sohogator
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    She said she wasn't guilty and the took the 5th. Only a no no for the regressive crowd.
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  10. g8orbill
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    You do not have to be a lawyer to know that a defendant cannot take the witness stand at trial and give a long speech proclaiming his innocence to the judge and the jury, then clam up and refuse to be cross-examined by the prosecutor. We have all seen enough trials on TV to know it does not work that way.

    No Lois Lerner was not on trial but it was an official investigative hearing before Congress and that is what she did -- she made a statement declaring her innocence but then refused to be questioned on it. That should not fly. She forfeited her right to remain silent by not remaining silent. Shouldn't be allowed to have it both ways.
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  11. g8orbill
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    well one thing is for sure your arrogance is still in full force- poor littel guy you whine about others taking shots at you but seem to think it is okay for you to do it to others- I have done a great deal of reading on this and happen to believe the argument that she testified before she took the 5th-which precludes her from taking the 5th
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  12. cjgator76
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    cjgator76 Well-Known Member

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    The issue is whether she waived the 5th by making the statements she made prior to invoking the 5th. Based on what's been posted here in the past - by Ben IIRC - the waiver argument looks like a long shot.
  13. rivergator
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    rivergator Well-Known Member

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    Apparently the last congressman to try to hold an American citizen in contempt for refusing to testify in front of Congress was Joe McCarthy.
    Yippee!
  14. fredsanford
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    Because some questionable Fox commentator told you so?

    Sent from my SM-N900T using Tapatalk
  15. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a 5th Amendment expert, but some thoughts are here:

    It's a bit of a weird question, because the context is odd.

    It's not clear cut, but the issue is that 5th Amendment waiver depends on you having given evidentiary testimony on the subject upon which waiver is argued. Someone who maintains their innocence still has a 5th Amendment privilege, so the question becomes whether she actually testified as to any facts rather than merely stating legal innocence. There's some basis to argue that she did, but I don't think its a very clear cut one since it is, at best, really thin factual testimony.

    Because it's a close call, and because the testimony was in a compelled appearance before Congress subject to a subpoena rather than a criminal tribunal and any finding of waiver would potentially prejudice her defense in any potential criminal trial related to IRS misconduct, I would be kind of surprised to see a federal judge hold that she waived.

    Since the contempt charge would require a finding of waiver (which seems somewhat unlikely and is at best a close call), my expectation is that DOJ will decline to prosecute because there is a weak legal basis and not a reasonable likelihood of success on the charges. I'm sure Republicans will howl about it, but that would be my guess.

    The other issue? If they argue waiver and compel testimony, and an appellate court later ruled that the waiver finding was wrong, they've created a Kastigar issue if they ever wanted a criminal prosecution down the line (Kastigar would require the government to prove in any subsequent trial that none of the evidence used to establish guilt is directly or indirectly derived from compelled testimony - while it was in the context of immunized congressional testimony rather than a bad waiver ruling, the Kastigar issue is what got Oliver North's convictions tossed). If the government has any thought of potentially prosecuting Lerner down the line, trying to compel on the basis of waiver would put the possibility of prosecuting down the road in serious risk if anyone ever disagreed with the waiver ruling.
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
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  16. GatorBen
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    Harriet Miers was found in contempt by the full House for refusing to testify, and Holder and Josh Bolten were both found in contempt by the full House for refusing to produce documents. Much rarer prior to that though, two EPA officials under Reagan in 82 and 83 were the other officials held in contempt by the full House (one for refusing to provide documents, one for lying to congress).

    A number of others have had committees vote to hold them in contempt (including Reno and Kissinger), but only Lerner and those 5 have been held in contempt by the full House over the course of the last 40 years.
  17. surfn1080
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    surfn1080 Well-Known Member

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    Wishful thinking sadly. Anyone in the position of authority will remain silent by any means necessary.
  18. PacificBlueGator
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    If Issa really has withheld evidence that both liberal and conservative groups were targeted, then the integrity and motives of the hearings are in question, and taking the 5th is wise. The timing suggests an attempt to keep a controversy alive through the November elections, and force Holder to turn down a request for an independent investigator. If bogus, with the millions spent, what are the consequences to Issa?
  19. cjgator76
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    cjgator76 Well-Known Member

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    Apparently I credited you for someone else's work. Somebody actually posted cites and descriptions of relevant opinions wrt the waiver question. I was surprised at how far a witness can go without waiving.
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  20. rivergator
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    rivergator Well-Known Member

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    I stand corrected, but I have read it. Maybe McCarthy is the last to hold someone in contempt for pleading the fifth. Miers just refused to show up at all, right?

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