They Don't Even Pretend to Obey the Law

by William Norman Grigg

When summoned to testify before Congress regarding allegations that her agency had singled out conservative non-profits for special scrutiny, Lois Lerner – who headed the IRS's non-profit division – asserted her innocence and then invoked the Fifth Amendment.

 Every citizen who files a tax return is expected to waive his protection against self-incrimination, and when the IRS accuses a taxpayer of fraud, those accusations are heard in a court the agency controls.

 Congress issued a subpoena for official e-mails in which Lerner discussed agency policies dealing with conservative non-profit groups and other critics of the Obama administration. While being questioned by Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz several months ago, the IRS Commissioner claimed that all of the relevant emails were archived. Now the agency claims that they were lost in a hard drive crash.

Even if this were true, a reasonably competent IT professional could recover the lost emails very quickly. Then again, since the National Security Agency is keeping records of practically all emails and telephone communications, why couldn't that agency provide copies of the missing IRS emails?

 Those ruling us don't offer any pretense that they're ruled by law. Why should we continue to pretend that they are, in some sense, public servants?

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