Thursday, May 23, 2013

Government Corruption: How Deeply Has It Metastasized?

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New on the IRS scandal.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said embattled IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights and will be hauled back to appear before his panel again.

Samuel Adams said, "The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men."

"The artifices of false and designing men (and women) are attempting to cheat us out of our liberties and the freedom of our civil constitution."

John Adams said, "The nature of the encroachment upon American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer; it eats faster and faster every hour."

Samuel Adams also said, "How strangely will the tools of a tyrant pervert the plain meaning of words."

Yesterday Lois Lerner, who heads up the Exempt Division of the IRS, which is the center of the IRS scandal, was called before the House Oversight Hearing committee.

She said, "I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations."

She continued, "I know that some people will assume that I have done something wrong, I have not."

She then refused to be questioned, and took the Fifth Amendment.

I think most every American, Democrat and Republican, know that the evidence has taken us well beyond the assumption of wrong doing.

As the hearings continue, parsing words seems to become more and more the tool of choice.

We don't know how deeply Ms. Lerner is involved in the scandal, yet, it is inconceivable that all this was going on in her division and she knew nothing about it.

What we do know, however, is that Lois Lerner has a past history of harassing religious groups.

Mark Hemingway wrote for the Weekly Standard yesterday, "IRS's Lerner Had History of Harassment, Inappropriate Religious Inquires At FEC."

He points out that perhaps no other IRS official is more intimately associated with the tax agency's growing scandal than Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division. Since admitting the IRS harassed hundreds of conservative and Tea Party groups for over two years, Lerner has been criticized for a number of untruths—including the revelation that she apparently lied about planting a question at an American Bar Association conference where she first publicly acknowledged IRS misconduct.

However there are those who continue to contend that Lerner is "apolitical."

Hemingway says Lerner's previous tenure as head of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was marked by what appears to be politically motivated harassment of conservative groups.

One in particular. The Christian Coalition.

She accused Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition of "coordinating issue advocacy expenditures with a number of candidates for office", which would not be permitted.

Despite the fact that she had no evidence, she marched forward with the full force of the government and the people's money in an effort to prove wrong doing on the part of the Christian organization.

Two problems immediately surfaced. One, she had no evidence and secondly, many questioned whether the FEC had the authority to launch such an investigation in the first place.

No proof---no problem. No authority---no problem. She marched on.

Attorney James Bopp, JR., represented Robertson and the coalition.

His name is familiar to many of our readers because he also represented us in the R-71 effort to protect the names of traditional marriage supports who signed petitions, from the promised exploitation by homosexual activists.

I spoke with Jim Bopp yesterday. He told me this story is gaining significant attention by the national media.

Here's the story:

The following is a portion of the report Bopp presented to the Congressional Committee on House Administration that looked into the matter in 2003.

The FEC conducted a large amount of paper discovery during the administrative investigation and then served four massive discovery requests during the litigation stage that included 127 document requests, 32 interrogatories, and 1,813 requests for admission. Three of the interrogatories required the Coalition to explain each request for admission that it did not admit in full, for a total of 481 additional written answers that had to be provided. The Coalition was required to produce tens of thousands of pages of documents, many of them containing sensitive and proprietary information about finances and donor information. Each of the 49 state affiliates were asked to provide documents and many states were individually subpoenaed. In all, the Coalition searched both its offices and warehouse, where millions of pages of documents are stored, in order to produce over 100,000 pages of documents.

Furthermore, nearly every aspect of the Coalition’s activities has been examined by FEC attorneys from seeking information regarding its donors to information about its legislative lobbying. The Commission, in its never-ending quest to find the non-existent “smoking gun,” even served subpoenas upon the Coalition’s accountants, its fundraising and direct mail vendors, and The Christian Broadcasting Network.

Clearly this cost the ministry tens of thousands of dollars.

One of the most shocking things, at least to me, that has come out of this current IRS scandal is their demanding a pro-life organization to detail the content of their prayers and religious activities.

Shocking? Yes. But not surprising when you know Ms. Lerner was doing the same thing at the FEC ten years ago.

Bopp also presented this to the congressional hearing in 2003.

FEC attorneys continued their intrusion into religious activities by prying into what occurs at Coalition staff prayer meetings, and even who attends the prayer meetings held at the Coalition. This line of questioning was pursued several times. Deponents were also asked to explain what the positions of “intercessory prayer” and “prayer warrior” entailed, and what churches specific people belonged to.

One of the most shocking and startling examples of this irrelevant and intrusive questioning by FEC attorneys into private political associations of citizens occurred during the administrative depositions of three pastors from South Carolina. Each pastor, only one of whom had only the slightest connection with the Coalition, was asked not only about their federal, state and local political activities, including party affiliations, but about political activities that, as one FEC attorney described as “personal,” and outside of the jurisdiction of the FECA [Federal Election Campaign Act]. They were also continually asked about the associations and activities of the members of their congregations, and even other pastors.

The FEC even asks a series of questions about prayers between Pat Robertson and Lt. Col. Oliver North.

Bopp gave the congressional committee this sample:

FEC Attorney: “I have been asking you a series of questions about your relationship with Pat Robertson, the Christian Coalition... It is relevant to this inquiry what relationship you had with Pat Robertson and have asked you whether Pat Robertson had indicated to you that he was praying for you.”

Attorney for Lt. Col. North and Christian Coalition: “If that is a question, I will further object. It is an intrusion upon the religious beliefs and activities of Dr. Robertson. And how that could - how the Federal Government can be asking about an individual’s personal religious practices in the context of an alleged investigation under the Federal Election Campaign Act, I am just at a complete loss to see the relevance or potential relevance, and I consider that to be also intrusive.”

FEC Attorney: “Was Pat Robertson praying for you in 1991?”

Attorney for Lt. Col. North and Christian Coalition: “Same objection.”

Lt. Col. North: “I hope so. I hope he still is.”

Jim Bopp told me that this story is getting substantial traction and feels it will further help to turn on the lights in regard to what has been and is happening in our federal government.

I pray it will.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.