Former IRS official Lois Lerner is begging a federal court to keep her testimony sealed and hidden from the public, because she fears that she and members of her family will be put in grave danger if the American people find out what she said from the witness stand. Citing death threats from the public, Lerner and her IRS deputy Holly Paz filed documents last week asking for their depositions to remain sealed for the foreseeable future, because otherwise they could be subject to retaliation from angry conservatives who may not appreciate their explanations.
Lerner and Paz were accused, rightly, of unfairly targeting tea party groups early on in the Obama administration years for extra tax scrutiny. These organizations – many of them with words like “patriot,” “conservative,” and “tea party” in their names – were flagged when they tried to apply for non-profit status. Instead of receiving the typical analysis and (relatively) swift processing given to other groups, their cases were held aside and their organizations forced to wait months and years for resolution.
The class-action lawsuits against the federal government concluded last month with multi-million dollar settlements with the groups. Those settlements included an admission on the part of the government and Lerner that the illegal targeting had indeed occurred under her watch. Not only did Lerner admit that she did nothing to prevent the targeting, she admitted to taking steps to hide the extra scrutiny from her Washington superiors.
Now her lawyers say that because the lawsuits have been settled and because Lerner and Paz have faced public condemnation, there is no reason to make their testimony available for perusal.
“Whenever Mss. Lerner and Paz have been in the media spotlight, they have faced death threats and harassment,” their lawyers argued. “The voluminous record of harassment and physical threats to Mss. Lerner and Paz and their families during the pendency of this litigation provides a compelling reason to seal the materials.”
Nonsense. The American people – particularly conservatives who feel rightly aggrieved at the Obama administration’s outrageous abuse of power for the last eight years – deserve to know the full truth about this case. Even at this late date, we have our doubts as to whether or not this scandal’s tracks ended with Lerner and Paz. Keep in mind that these two women originally tried to say it began and ended with the Cincinnati IRS office. How much higher did this sickness spread? Why would government officials – with no particularly association with the Democratic Party – risk their entire careers and, indeed, their freedom to indulge in this scheme? Why, unless they were ordered to do so by political appointees in the upper echelon of the DNC and/or Obama administration?
By making Lerner’s testimony public, it can help answer some of these questions and put a fine point on these disturbing proceedings.