‘Look,” wrote Lois Lerner, echoing Horace Greeley, “my view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best. He should [have] let the [S]outh go. We really do seem to have 2 totally different mindsets.”
Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, was referring to Southern secessionist states when he urged President-elect Lincoln to “let the erring sisters go in peace.”
Greeley favored separating the nation from certain mindsets; Lerner favors suppressing certain mindsets.
At the IRS, she participated in delaying for up to five years — effectively denying — tax-exempt status for, and hence restricting political activity by, groups with conservative mindsets. She retired after refusing to testify to congressional committees, invoking Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
As the IRS cover-up of its and her malfeasance continues, the Republicans’ new House leaders should exercise this constitutional power: “The House . . . shall have the sole power of impeachment.” The current IRS director, John Koskinen, has earned this attention.
The Constitution’s Framers, knowing that executive officers might not monitor themselves, provided the impeachment recourse to bolster the separation of powers. Federal officials can be impeached for dereliction of duty (as in Koskinen’s failure to disclose the disappearance of e-mails germane to a congressional investigation); for failure to comply (as in Koskinen’s noncompliance with a preservation order pertaining to an investigation); and for breach of trust (as in Koskinen’s refusal to testify accurately and keep promises made to Congress).
Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says the IRS has “lied to Congress,” and “destroyed documents under subpoena.” He accuses Koskinen of “lies, obfuscation and deceit”: “He assured us he would comply with a congressional subpoena seeking Lois Lerner’s e-mails. Not only did he fail to keep that promise, we later learned he did not look in earnest for the information.”