COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 12, 2014 — Using her government job to give partisan advantage is nothing new for Lois Lerner, a career bureaucrat who began her government career at the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) before becoming infamous at the IRS.
She was finally voted in contempt of Congress last Wednesday, a month after the House Ways and Means Committee referred her to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Thursday the IRS agreed to give the Committee all emails relating to the IRS targeting scandal sent by Lerner.
This is far from the first time Lerner has used her government to press for partisan advantage.
In 1996 Republican Al Salvi was running for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Dick Durbin. The Democratic National Committee brought a complaint to the FEC alleging that Salvi had wrongly reported to the FEC a loan he made to his campaign. According to Salvi, FEC lawyer Colleen Sealander offered to drop the charges on the condition that he never run for office again.
Sealander’s boss Lois Lerner was behind the condition. The full story was reported in the Illinois Review last year, as the IRS scandal broke.
Knowing that he had done nothing wrong, Salvi went to court rather than settle. He eventually won dismissal in May 2000—but not before losing the senate race to Durbin and a 1998 bid for Illinois Secretary of State.
Upon hearing the dismissal, Salvi says that Lerner distinctly threatened, “We’ll get you!”
While there never was further contact from the FEC, just a few months later Salvi was visited by two FBI agents who enquired about a campaign donation from Salvi’s mother. The investigation was soon dropped but it left the desired impression.
“It was a nightmare,” Salvi said. “People ask me today why I’ve never run for office again…. All the time this long FEC ordeal continued while I ran for Secretary of State in 1998 and beyond. Why would anyone run for office again after all that?”
And that’s how government intimidation works. What is new is the multi-agency coordinated attack on individuals and groups, such as that conducted against Catherine Englebrecht and her husband for having the temerity to object to election fraud.
The worst part of this government corruption is that law-abiding citizens are being harassed with taxpayer dollars.
Lerner started her career in the FEC in 1981. She joined the IRS in 2001 and began her role as Director of IRS Exempt Organizations Division in 2005. It didn’t seem to matter which party held the White House—Lerner continued to climb the bureaucratic ladder.
That bureaucracy has favored the Democratic Party ever since FDR created it during the Great Depression. The Hatch Act was passed because of widespread allegations that local Democratic Party politicians used employees of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the congressional elections of 1938. The act has been amended several times since to liberalize what federal employees may do on their own time.
The core prohibition remains: public employees may not use their official position for partisan purposes. To all appearances, Lois Lerner has made a career of doing just that.