Category: Tax Reform Now


We’re Number 32!

 

 

 

 

 

” Any day now the White House and Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) will attempt to raise taxes on business, while making the U.S. tax code even more complex. The Obama and Schumer plans to punish businesses for moving their legal domicile overseas will arrive even as a new international ranking shows that the U.S. tax burden on business is close to the worst in the industrialized world. Way to go, Washington.

  On Monday the Tax Foundation, which manages the widely followed State Business Tax Climate Index, will launch a new global benchmark, the International Tax Competitiveness Index. According to the foundation, the new index measures “the extent to which a country’s tax system adheres to two important principles of tax policy: competitiveness and neutrality.” “

 

 

 

 

 ” A competitive tax code is one that limits the taxation of businesses and investment. Since capital is mobile and businesses can choose where to invest, tax rates that are too high “drive investment elsewhere, leading to slower economic growth,” as the Tax Foundation puts it.

  By neutrality the foundation means “a tax code that seeks to raise the most revenue with the fewest economic distortions. This means that it doesn’t favor consumption over saving, as happens with capital gains and dividends taxes, estate taxes, and high progressive income taxes. This also means no targeted tax breaks for businesses for specific business activities.” Crony capitalism that rewards the likes of green energy with lower tax bills while imposing higher bills on other firms is political arbitrage that misallocates capital and reduces economic growth.

  The index takes into account more than 40 tax policy variables. And the inaugural ranking puts the U.S. at 32nd out of 34 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).”

 

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IRS: Hey, Maybe We Do Have Our E-mail Backups

 

 

 

 

 

” Does the IRS actually have their backups for e-mail from the period when Lois Lerner and her group targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny on tax-exempt applications? The agency claimed a month ago that it overwrote the tapes every six months, in one of the most notorious (and unsuccessful) Friday afternoon document dumps ever. New testimony from one of the IRS’ top lawyers released last night by the House Oversight Committee casts doubt on that story (via Instapundit):

  The IRS might not have lost the backups of former agency administrator Lois Lerner’s emails after all, according to a top IRS official.

  In testimony released Monday, Thomas Kane, the IRS’s deputy associate chief counsel, told House Oversight investigators last week that the agency was examining whether all the back-up tapes which held the emails have been recycled. “

 

 

Now that they’ve had plenty of time to create a bogus email trail they miraculously find the “back-ups” ? Hot Air has more .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trey Gowdy’s Not Having It: IRS Head Gets Cute About ‘Lost’ Emails & Has the Grin Wiped Off His Face

 

 

 

 

 

” During a rare Monday night hearing, House Republicans hammered embattled IRS commissioner John Koskinen over the “lost” Lois Lerner emails and over his continued insistence that there was no criminal wrongdoing in their coincidental disappearance.

  While, as to be expected, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) repeatedly challenged Koskinen, for instance, when he demanded that he cite a particular statute or statutes (law, viz.) on which to base his claim that no criminal wrongdoing occurred. When the commissioner replied, “you can rely on common sense,” Gowdy went off:

“ Common sense? Instead of a criminal code, you wanna rely on common sense? You can shake your head all you want to commissioner; you have said today that there’s no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and I’m asking you what criminal statutes you have reviewed to reach that conclusion?”

  Koskinen finally conceded: “I have reviewed no criminal statutes.”

  Ironically, the commissioner also insisted that outdated technology was to blame and that it would cost the IRS $10-30 million to update its systems.

  In response, Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) reminded Koskinen that the IRS paid $89 million in bonuses last year, including $1 million to employees who owed back taxes. Not a good day for the defiant commissioner of the IRS.”

 

 

     John Koskinen is the epitome of the smug , arrogant , elitist bureaucrat . It is a pleasure to see him squirm under the wrathful ire of Rep Gowdy even though there seems to be no new info forthcoming from any of these hearings .

 

 

 

Independent Journal Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is That A Smoking Gun I Smell? IRS Had Archiving Company Contracted In 2005

 

 

 

 

 

” Is that a smoking gun  I smell?  It turns out the IRS contracted with a company that provides email backup services starting in 2005.  This first came to light in the Twitter feed of moregenr, who noticed that the IRS appears on the client list of email  archiving service provider Sonasoft.

  The IRS had a contract with email backup service vendor Sonasoft starting in 2005, according to FedSpending.org, which lists the contract as being for “automatic data processing services.” Sonasoft’s motto is “email archiving done right,” and the company lists the IRS as a customer.

  In 2009, Sonasoft even sent out a Tweet advertising its work for the IRS. “

 

Allen West

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRS Has Lost More E-mails . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

” It’s not just Lois Lerner’s e-mails. The Internal Revenue Service says it can’t produce e-mails from six more employees involved in the targeting of conservative groups, according to two Republicans investigating the scandal.

  The IRS recently informed Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany that computer crashes resulted in additional lost e-mails, including from Nikole Flax, the chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who was fired in the wake of the targeting scandal.

  The revelation about Lerner’s e-mails rekindled the targeting scandal and today’s news has further inflamed Republicans. Camp and Boustany are now demanding a special prosecutor to investigate “every angle” of the events that led to Lois Lerner’s revelation in May 2013 that the agency had used inappropriate criteria to review the applications for tax exemption.

  The lawmakers expressed particular outrage that the agency has known since February that it would not be able to produce the e-mails requested by the committee yet did not apprise the committee of that fact, and they charged in a statement that the IRS is attempting to “cover up the fact that it convenient lost key documents in the investigation.” “

 

 

National Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dog Ate My E-Mails, For Two Years

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Who knew that the Obama administration had a penchant for black humor? Earlier this year, in February, President Obama told Bill O’Reilly during an interview on Fox News that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups. In July 2013, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew foreshadowed his boss’s nonchalance by insisting that there was “no evidence” that any political appointee had been involved in the scandal.

  Now we may know why. After months of delay in responding to congressional inquiries, the IRS now claims that, for the period of January 2009 to April 2011, all e-mails between Lois Lerner — the IRS official at the center of the scandal — and anyone outside the IRS were wiped out by a “computer crash.” As House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp wrote in a statement, this loss means that “we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone.” After all, there isn’t a “smidgen” of e-mail evidence to suggest otherwise.”

 

 

As Mr Fund explains , it is virtually impossible for all of those emails to have disappeared without a trace …

 

 

” A growing number of computer professionals are stepping forward to say that none of this makes sense. Norman Cillo, a former program manager at Microsoft, told The Blaze: “I don’t know of any e-mail administrator [who] doesn’t have at least three ways of getting that mail back. It’s either on the disks or it’s on a TAPE backup someplace on an archive server.” Bruce Webster, an IT expert with 30 years of experience consulting with dozens of private companies, seconds this opinion: “It would take a catastrophic mechanical failure for Lerner’s drive to suffer actual physical damage, but in any case, the FBI should be able to recover something. And the FBI and the Justice Department know it.”

 

 

 

 

    Lies , lies and more lies , that’s all we ever get from the “most open , honest and transparent administration” in history …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taxpayer Money Goes To Party Video Dubbed As ‘Team Building’

 

 

Miami %22Team Building%22 Video

 

 

 

” It is a party video you have been paying for every year since 2010. 

  Miami-Dade County’s Community Information and Outreach department has been producing it, it said, to show around the holiday season and as a “team-building” exercise.

  Most of the videos appear to be a series of skits involving images of drinking, dancing and dramatics apparently designed to be funny.

” Shocking” is how one county employee described it, who did not want to be identified for fear of losing their job.

  One scene, for example, has images of one current and one former employee holding what appears to be beer and waiving dollar bills. All of this as the music says, “Bottoms up” and the two men are heard saying, “Cheers baby!”

  Other parts have employees dancing to popular songs like “Gangnam Style.” “

 

 

Read more on this obscene waste of public funds , modeled after those wasteful IRS ads of last year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… Delinquency Rate Is 33% Higher Among VA Employees

 

 

 

 

 

” 318,462 federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.3 billion in back income taxes as of September 30, 2013, a delinquency rate of 3.27% (compared to 8.7% for the entire U.S. population). See the full spreadsheet here.

  Among the 18 executive departments, the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs has the second highest delinquency rate among its employees:  4.38% (behind the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 5.29%).

  Among 27 large (> 1,000 employees) independent agencies, the Federal Reserve has the third highest delinquency rate:  6.51%.

  The delinquency rate is 4.87% in the House of Representatives and 2.43% in the Senate.

  In the tax world, the delinquency rate is 3.02 in the Tax Court and 1.20% in the Treasury Department (the IRS is not separately broken out).

For prior years data, see:

 

 

Thanks To Professor Paul Caron – TaxProf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17-Year-Old Student Tops Sitting W.Va. Lawmaker

 

 

 

Saira Blair, 17-year-old politician, teen politician

 

 

” A week before her high school graduation, Saira Blair was barely old enough to vote when she unseated a West Virginia lawmaker almost four times her age.

  After Tuesday’s GOP primary, the 17-year-old is one election away from becoming the youngest state lawmaker in West Virginia history. Larry Swan, sworn in as a 20-year-old delegate in 1972, set the current record.”

 

 

Saira’s pledge to the voters of district 59 …

 

 

” Blair’s birthday is in July, so she would just meet the 18-year-old minimum age for West Virginia House of Delegates members. Seventeen-year-olds who will turn 18 by the November election can vote in West Virginia’s primary.

  Soft-spoken and on-message, Blair is a churchgoer who says she is pro-life, pro-family, pro-gun rights and pro-business. She can rattle off a laundry list of businesses taxes she wants abolished or lowered.

” People saw that you don’t need to wait until you are 40, 50 or 60 to realize our conservative principles are beneficial to everyone,” the Martinsburg teen said of her primary win.”

 

 

   Read more of this intrepid young lady’s quest to be the youngest state legislator in West Virginia history . If you like what you see , give her a like on Facebook , perhaps contact her here to offer your help or donate some cash . This is the only address we could find to contribute to Saira’s campaign:

47 Wasser Drive
Martinsburg, WV 25403

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Chart That Shows Just How Screwed Up Our Tax System Really Is

 

 

 

 

” The 2014 tax season is finally over and whether or not you owe the IRS, the following news will not make you pleased:

” Twenty-five profitable Fortune 500 companies spent more on lobbying than they paid in federal taxes between 2008 and 2012,” according to a Public Campaign analysis of data from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Center for Responsive Politics.

  This is yet another way our tax structure penalizes individuals and small businesses while supporting mega corporations. We must make tax reform a major issue in the 2014 and 2016 elections to even this out.

  The analysis showed that over five years, these 25 corporations spent way more money influencing government than supporting it. They generated nearly $170 billion in profits and received $8.7 billion in tax rebates, all while paying their lobbyists $543 million, an average of nearly $300,000 a day, to advance their interests in Congress.”

 

    The astute reader will note that all of these corporations had a negative tax obligation . What’s wrong with this picture ? Cronyism anyone ?

 

 

Policy Mic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage Of Millionaires – Congress vs General Population

 

 

Percentage Of Millionaires -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Smidgen Of IRS Corruption

 

 

RAMIREZ SMIDGEN

 

 

 

” There’s nothing like the truth to erode the credibility of America’s chief executive. Remember when President Obama told Bill O’Reilly during his Super Bowl interview “There is not a smidgen of corruption,” referring to the IRS?

  Not only does it appear there might be a “smidgen” of corruption, there is apparently a steaming pile of incompetence as well. According to a report by the Associated Press, the Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses. More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes. A report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration indicates the bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012. George also uncovered the IRS targeting of conservative groups for which he was viciously attacked by liberal progressives.”

 

Read more

Illustration by Michael Ramirez

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama Calls For Highest Sustained Taxation In U.S. History

 

 

 

 

 

 

” In the budget proposal he presented to Congress last month, President Barack Obama called for what would be the highest level of sustained taxation ever imposed on the American people, according to the analysis published last week by the Congressional Budget Office.

  Under Obama’s proposal, taxes would rise from 17.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2014 to 19.2 percent in 2024. During the ten years from 2015 to 2024, federal taxation would average 18.7 percent GDP.

America has never been subjected to a ten-year stretch of taxation at that level.”

 

 

DEBT HELD BY PUBLIC-OBAMA BUDGET-CHART

 

 

 

” In the twelve fiscal years preceding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1930 through 1941), federal taxation averaged 5.3 percent of GDP.

  In the five fiscal years encompassing U.S. involvement in World War II (1942 through 1946), federal taxation averaged 16.1 percent of GDP.

In the fiscal years since World War II (1947 through 2013), federal taxation has averaged 17.1 percent of GDP.”

 

 

 

 

CNS News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Taxpayers Experience The Greatest Tax Burden—And Who Pays The Most In Taxes?

 

 

top10-percent-income-earners-6005

 

 

 

” As Americans navigated the labyrinthine tax code ahead of tax day, many felt the sting of the President’s myriad tax increases.

  Despite calls for more taxes on the rich, the Heritage chart shown above reveals that the recent tax increases disproportionately affect the working wealthy. The top 10 percent of all income earners paid 71 percent of federal income taxes in 2010, yet they earned 45 percent of all federal income. Compare that to the bottom 50 percent of earners, who earn 12 percent of income yet pay only 2 percent of federal income taxes.

  So when Obama and advocates of higher federal taxes opine that the rich do not pay their “fair share,” they are correct—affluent income-earners pay a whole lot more than they would pay if we had a proportional tax code instead of the highly progressive one we have today.”

 

Read more at The Foundry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

62 Percent Of Americans Say They Favor A Flat Tax

 

 

effectivetaxrates

 

 

 

” The latest Reason-Rupe poll asked Americans if they would support or oppose changing the federal tax system to a flat tax, where everyone pays the same percentage of his or her income, finding that 62 percent favor the flat tax and 33 percent are opposed. When asked where they would set the flat tax, the average response was 15 percent.

  This reflects another recent Reason-Rupe poll finding that 67 percent of Americans say it is “not the responsibility of the government to reduce the differences in income between people with high incomes and those with low incomes,” while 29 percent say it is.

  Strong support for a flat tax extends across income groups (62 percent) among those making less than $30,000 a year and 73 percent among those making more than $110,000 a year. Similarly across education groups and age groups, 6 in 10 say they support the flat tax.”

Contrary to media memes and their class-warfare compatriots on the Left , the rich do pay a higher percentage of taxes …

” Urban Institute data reports that in fact, the wealthy do pay a higher tax rate than the middle class. Average effective federal tax rates in 2011, as a percentage of adjusted gross income find the following (after tax credits):

Lowest Income Quintile: -5.8%

Second Quintile: 1.3%

Middle Quintile: 9.2%

Fourth Quintile: 12.9%

Top Quintile: 20.6%

The “1 Percent” pay 25.3%” “

Reason has more

‘Hucksters Rely On Us As Their Welfare’

 

 

 

“ See, my theory of government is really simple. It’s all about the street. Government should keep things off the street – thugs, the insane, invading armies – and keep things on the street – like cement and lamp posts. Everything else, we can handle, which is why I’m bummed that 110 days of my salary goes directly into the mouth of a blob that turns my efforts into useless poop.” “

More here

Happy Tax Day: RNC Files Lawsuit Against IRS For ‘Illegal Stonewalling’ Of Scandal Documents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The Republican National Committee, just in time for Tax Day, is filing a lawsuit against the IRS over what it calls “illegal stonewalling” of its request for documents related to the agency’s targeting of conservative groups. 

  The RNC called the agency’s refusal so far to produce the documents “unacceptable and inexcusable.” 

” We’re filing this suit because the Obama administration has a responsibility to be transparent and accountable to the American people. The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “If the IRS and the Obama administration don’t have anything to hide, why not answer the request?” “

Fox News has more

Uncle Sam Revives Feudal Practice To Collect From Children Of Debtors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holding children responsible for the debt incurred by their parents is a feature of historical feudalism and a few modern third-world shitholes.

  Developed countries, by and large, assume that a debt dies with the person who willingly incurred it, or at least stops with his or her estate. “By and large,” I write, because the U.S. government has broken with centuries of tradition holding individuals responsible for their choices, opting to withhold tax refunds from children whose parents incurred vague and often ill-documented obligations to the feds.

  Writes March Fisher of The Washington Post:

  A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government—a very old debt.

  When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.”

 

 

tj generational debt

 

 

 

” Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family—it’s not sure who—in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

  Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents—the government has confiscated their check.”

 

    As Mark Steyn wrote the other day , “we have fewer rights than a 13th century peasant” … read the rest at Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRS Under Fire: Vote For Obama Stickers, Campaign Cheerleading Commonplace

 

 

IRS Campaigns For Obama

 

 

 

” Even as the IRS faces growing heat over Lois G. Lerner and the tea party targeting scandal, a government watchdog said Wednesday it’s pursuing cases against three other tax agency employees and offices suspected of illegal political activity in support of President Obama and fellow Democrats.

  In one case the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates federal employees who conduct politics on government time, said it was “commonplace” in a Dallas IRS office for employees to have pro-Obama screensavers on their computers, and to have campaign-style buttons and stickers at their office.

  In another case, a worker at the tax agency’s customer help line urged taxpayers “to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by repeatedly reciting a chant based on the spelling of his last name,” the Office of Special Counsel said in a statement. OSC said it is seeking “significant disciplinary action” against that employee.
  Another IRS employee in Kentucky has agreed to serve a 14-day suspension for blasting Republicans in a conversation with a taxpayer.”

 

 

 

    A fourteen day suspension ? That’s a joke . Any Federal employee caught advocating for ANY candidate or policy on the taxpayer’s dime should be summarily fired … period … no ifs and or buts … FIRED .

 

 

 

They’re going to take women back 40 years,” the IRS employee said in a conversation that was recorded. The employee also said that “if you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.”
  That employee went on to tell the taxpayer she knew she wasn’t supposed to be voicing her political opinions, and asked the taxpayer not to say anything.
  In the Dallas situation, the OSC issued a letter to employees reminding them they aren’t allowed to do anything that would appear to be campaigning.”

 

 

 

    The IRS debacle is the perfect example of why government needs to be kept to it’s absolute minimum if there is to be liberty for all . The Founders understood that and the hard-left progressives understand it as well . That is why they push for ever-more State power , because they realize that the State and it’s adherents (read: employees) will inevitably support MORE government . 

    So we are left with a State that is paid for by all the citizens , well all the tax-paying ones anyway , but that really serves the very narrow interests of the State itself and those that profit directly from it . Unless something is done about the IRS and the rest of these Federal agencies and power returned to the states where it belongs in a Republic we are doomed to sink under the weight of a biased system of administrative law and bureaucratic fiat .

 

 

 

Read the rest at The Washington Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRS Gave House Oversight Democrats Info On Targeted Conservative Group

 

elijah-cummings

 

 

” The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent tax documents on a targeted conservative group to Democratic staff on the House Oversight Committee, newly released emails show, despite previous denials by ranking Oversight Democrat Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) that such contact had occurred.

  Emails released by the GOP-led Oversight Committee show Democratic staff requested information from the IRS’ tax-exempt division on True The Vote, a conservative group that monitors polling places for voter fraud.

  Republicans and conservative activists say the IRS tax-exempt division, led by former official Lois Lerner, targeted dozens of conservative groups because of their politics while ignoring similar progressive organizations.

  Cummings publicly requested information from True the Vote in October 2012 on its volunteer activities and training.

  Five days later, the IRS sent True the Vote a letter requesting the group provide the agency with copies of its volunteer registration forms and additional information on its volunteer activities.”

Read the whole thing 

‘Tax Freedom Day’ Falls Three Days Later This Year

 

Tax Freedom Day 2014 Map_0

 

 

 

” The day when the nation collectively has made enough money to pay its total tax burden for the year is three days later this year, according to a new report.

  According to a report released Monday by the Tax Foundation, this year Tax Freedom Day falls 111 days into 2014, on April 21.

  By April 21, to group says, Americans will have made enough to pay the $3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state taxes — more than they will spend on food clothing and housing combined.”

 

 

Cal_TFD_Web

 

 

 

   Bear in mind that that is the national average . If you live in a high tax state you could be a government slave for an additional couple of weeks before you “earn” anything for yourself and your family …

 

 

 

” If further broken down by state, residents of high tax states would see their Tax Freedom Day later than residents of lower tax states.

“This means a combination of higher-income and higher-tax states celebrate Tax Freedom Day later: Connecticut (May 9), New Jersey (May 9), and New York (May 4),” the authors write.”

Read more at DC Caller and at the Tax Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right Wing News

 

 

Moochelle Vacas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cigarette Taxes And Cigarette Smuggling By State

 

 

 

” Public policies often have unintended consequences that outweigh their benefits. One consequence of high state cigarette tax rates has been increased smuggling as criminals procure discounted packs from low-tax states to sell in high-tax states. Growing cigarette tax differentials have made cigarette smuggling both a national problem and a lucrative criminal enterprise.

  Each year, scholars at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan think tank, use a statistical analysis of available data to estimate smuggling rates for each state.[1] Their most recent report uses 2012 data and finds that smuggling rates generally rise in states after they adopt large cigarette tax increases. Smuggling rates have dropped in some states, however, often where neighboring states have higher cigarette tax rates. Table 1 shows the data for each state, comparing 2012 and 2006 smuggling rates and tax changes.”

 

Top 10 Cigarette Smuggling States

 

 

” New York is the highest net importer of smuggled cigarettes, totaling 56.9 percent of the total cigarette market in the state. New York also has the highest state cigarette tax ($4.35 per pack), not counting the local New York City cigarette tax (an additional $1.50 per pack). Smuggling in New York has risen sharply since 2006 (+59 percent), as has the tax rate (+190 percent).”

 

Read the rest from the Tax Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lerner Likely Waived The Fifth And Can Be Held In Contempt

 

 

 

” While Lois Lerner’s reassertion of the Fifth Amendment, as well as the confrontation between Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R–Calif.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D–Md.), soaked up all of the media coverage of the  IRS scandal last week, one interesting news item did not get much attention: the revelation by Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor III, that Lerner had given “a lengthy interview to Justice Department prosecutors within the last six months.” Even more surprising was Taylor’s admission that Lerner gave DOJ her testimony without getting any immunity from prosecutors.

  If that is true, the former IRS official’s reassertion of the privilege against self-incrimination at the March 5 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is problematic. While the prevailing rule in most federal courts is that a waiver of the Fifth Amendment privilege at one proceeding does not carry through to another proceeding, that is not the rule in the District of Columbia.

  In Ellis v. U.S. (1969), the D.C. Court of Appeals specifically refused to adopt that rule, saying it was “unsound.” As the court held, “once a witness has voluntarily spoken out, we do not see how his protected interest is jeopardized by testifying in a subsequent proceeding, provided he is not required to disclose matters of substance which are unknown to the Government.” Under those circumstances, the court held, a person can reassert the privilege only if there is a “real danger of further criminalization.”

  Ellis involved a defendant who voluntarily testified before a grand jury but then refused to testify at trial, asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Similarly, if Lerner—without receiving a grant of immunity—voluntarily spoke to Justice Department prosecutors and/or FBI agents involved in investigating IRS targeting of conservative groups, she cannot now invoke the privilege to avoid answering congressional questions that would require her to give the same information she has already provided to criminal investigators.”

 

    This sounds like very good news for those of us that want to know the truth . Read more from  Hans von Spakovsky at Heritage

 Illustration by Gary Varvel

 

 

 

 

 

 

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