IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner testifies before Congress — but she shed little light on the scandal, only saying that she'd done nothing wrong and that she wasn't planning on saying anything else. Photo: Reuters
Only days after we learned the Obama administration had appointed an Obama donor to head investigations into the IRS targeting of conservative organizations, we now have a leak from law enforcement saying the FBI doesn’t expect to file criminal charges.
That’s the gist of a late-breaking story Monday evening in The Wall Street Journal. The story notes that though the investigation may go on another few months, unless other evidence is unearthed, the FBI conclusion will be that the IRS was a “mismanaged bureaucracy” enforcing rules “ it didn’t understand.”
Without the evidence, we’re not in a position to say. But criminal liability never been our priority. All along our position has been that federal agencies such as the IRS should be held accountable the way the Founders intended: through our democratic system.
For the IRS outrages extend well beyond the targeting of individuals and groups opposed to President Obama’s agenda. High on that list is the way the woman at the center of this storm, Lois Lerner, basically took her own version of the Fifth at hearings, telling Congress she’d done nothing wrong but wasn’t planning on saying anything else.
Maybe the FBI is right, that it’s just all a big misunderstanding, that IRS officials were only at the White House for Easter Egg rolls. Even so, our Constitution doesn’t leave accountability to the judgement of the FBI. To the contrary, our system holds that the American people, through their elected representatives in Congress, have the right to know what their government is doing.
In short, if the threat of criminal charges has in fact been removed, there’s no more excuse for Lois Lerner not to tell us, under oath, what she was apparently afraid to say in May.