Poor Lois Lerner. She’s worried that people will finally find out exactly what she did in weaponizing the IRS and targeting conservative groups. In some cases, she kept them from attaining their non-profit status so they couldn’t legally raise money and advocate for conservative causes. She effectively shut down free speech for those groups (which should prompt you to learn more about the Citizens United case and “dark money”; they’re related) and has admitted to wrongdoing in two class action cases brought against her by Tea Party groups.
But exactly what she admitted to is unclear because those transcripts and tapes are sealed. If Miss Lerner has her way, they’ll stay that way; and she’s using fear of retaliation to make her case.
At risk of sounding cruel: suck it up, Lois. You abused your power mightily and the consequences you’ve no doubt imagined in your head are frightening I’m sure. Hopefully you’ll take the appropriate steps to protect yourself if you’re truly concerned. Perhaps you can appeal to those in the Obama administration who were directing your movements since we already know that you met with DOJ’s Election Crimes Division a month before the 2010 elections and that you discussed criminally prosecuting tax-exempt entities a full two years before the IRS even acknowledged they were targeting these groups.
But your reemergence on this subject has come at an interesting time, as the progressive machine has cranked up recently to discuss the very abuse of power you and the Obama administration were dealing. Only, as is the progressive way, they’re not owning it. They are, instead, applying it to the Trump administration.
Jennifer Rubin — a progressive who plays token conservative at the Washington Post — explicitly calls out the Trump admin. as exemplifying abuse of power related to the continued attempt to make Trump’s previous Russian business dealings a conflict of interest with his presidential campaign (even though Rubin is forced to admit that the go-between in any potential deal was never able to “deliver”).
As Rubin writes:
As one charged with enforcement of the laws and the fair administration of justice, the president is not acting in the public interest when he uses his powers as a shield against inquiry.
This is true. It’s also true for the IRS.
Then there’s the amazing op-ed by John Podesta, chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, counselor to President Barack Obama, chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and brother of Tony Podesta (who recently resigned from his lobbying group as a result of being named in the Mueller investigation into Russian influence in election practices).
John, also writing in The Washington Post, writes not-at-all ironically about the Mueller investigation and how the Trump administration is engaged in the “whataboutism” of making that investigation about Podesta and Hillary Clinton (which is, in fact, what Podesta’s op-ed is doing in reverse. I know. It’s a lot to wrap one’s head around.)
But John Podesta goes one further and brings up Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ floating the trial balloon about starting an investigation into the Clinton/Putin Uranium One scandal:
This is what authoritarians and tyrants do. They use the instruments of state power, particularly the wrath of the prosecutor, to rain opprobrium down upon citizens with whom they disagree. It is what Putin did by using the Russian penal system to break the back of Sergei Magnitsky’s anti-corruption campaign and end his life. Our constitutional system of limited power, checks and balances and individual rights has protected us from such abuses of power. Trump is putting that system to the test.
He could be describing the Obama administration’s IRS in that paragraph. And let’s not even start on his statement that the Uranium One scandal was (emphasis mine), “thoroughly and exhaustively examined by the mainstream media during the 2016 campaign, leading to the definitive conclusion that Clinton played no role.”
The mainstream media declared Hillary innocent of a sketchy backroom deal to go through a Canadian company to sell a bunch of Uranium to Putin. Nothing to see here folks. Because we know the mainstream press remains objective and plays no favorites:
If only there had been some indication that Thrush doesn't conduct himself to the highest ethical standards. pic.twitter.com/tP96VNekNk
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) November 20, 2017
As more and more stories come out about the “petulant emperor” Trump, remember to look to the preceding administration when making a judgment call about such things. The Obama administration — and progressives in general — provide a great blueprint for what abuse of power looks like.