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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 12, 2014 3:00am-5:01am EDT

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a path to truth. it is merely political theater. and i would like to remind all those in attendance that just month the treasury i.t. for tax administration testified its own audit found no evidence to support the wassations that there political collusion. the i.g. found no evidence that its i.r. employees were foundcally motivated and no reason to believe there was any influence from individual creatinghe i.r.s. and the criteria or causing the delay. i.g.'s reporthe that began this whole thing. this committee has pursued the relentlessly, it has now collect more than 400,000 pages of documents from the i.r.s., conducted 38 transcribed
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interviews. of whether or not lois lerner waived her fifth amendment right by asserting her innocence is not for us to decide. it's a matter for the courts to weigh. and on this matter i would like to point you to the analysis of morton rosenberg, a man who served with great distinction the americanas public law specialist at the nonpartisan, congressional research service and i would like unanimous consent to place record.ysis in the >> without objection. >> he wrote that the requisite not been far more important for this committee to report on what the i.r.s. is doing to
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correct the problem that the congressional overnight have identified. i.g.'s office investigate contained nine recommendations improvethought would i.r.s. management and guidance for revowing and tracking. month theng last i.r.s. confirmed that the i.r.s. implemented every single one of these changes. that would be a good thing for the american people to know more about. and to really fulfill its mandate. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. >> instead of pursuing the destruction of one single woman god givenhe her constitutional rights. >> i now recognize the gentleman from tennessee. >> mr. chairman, thank you and law professor, a at georgetown university who is liberal proery
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analyst said this, she risk of --ery great in that situation when you voluntarily up open the subject they want to inquire into, that would be a waiver. alan dershowitz, another very liberal legal analyst, pro this.ant usually, said he says, miss lerner opened a pandora's box, you can't make statements about a subject and then plead the fifth in about theo questions very same subject. once you open the door to an waived inquiry, you have your fifth amendment rights. you've waived yourself incrimination right on that matter. the leading legal expert at the obviously andation conservative group said we now know that lerner already tovided detailed information the justice department before her appearance at the house
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committee. the rules of the federal courts and district of columbia she waived her right to amendment.fifth some of you know i was the criminal court judge in halfssee for seven and a years trying criminal cases. ary trials have almost become thing of the past, but in the 80's we were trying cases right tried 78 jury trials my first year as a judge. you that when miss ander made her statement then asserted her fifth amendment right after that, i stunned. now, i admit that i have the 26en a lot of law in years since i was a judge. and i'mso can tell you sure as a judge i made a lot of mistakes, but i don't believe i reversed in a single case, and i had a reputation as defense judge and i leaned over backward trying to
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give defendants every right that i possibly could. but you can't come in and make a statement like miss lerner did and say i violated no laws, i and specifically saying that she, that she said i or regulationses of the i.r.s., to do that and fifthome in and plead the because if that was possible, every defendant in any proceeding in this country would do that. testifyld come in and and then plead the fifth so they wouldn't be questioned so that be cross examined, so they couldn't be held accountable. allow this makes a mockery of our system. out of it.joke and i've got some other quotes from leading legal experts and i just, i will just close by appreciate what you've done, mr. chairman, and i
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personally think you're on the right track. to many legal experts and i've read many situation,out this read and heard from many lawyers thisknow a lot more about than i do. and most of them, the great them say that she has waived her right to plead in this situation. so i agree with you and will proceedyou as you through this markup today. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. gentle lady from the district of columbia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we are seeing in the last couple days is a kind of loisinated passing on of lerner. lois lerner is not a particularly sympathetic figure, they're making her one. the ways and means committee had a hearing which the papers are a farce yesterday. a hearing unprecedented to refer a matter to the attorney general, never done before, you
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simply refear it. we're having yet another hearing, another contempt hearing. lerner. the tragic irony is that we heard from lois lerner and she was willing to this committee. faced ae, she has committee where she was accused ever received a single document of false and information. she was told that it carried criminal liability. the most powerful man in the house, speak of boehner, said at that point, my question is who is going to jail over this scandal. these are two powerful
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politicianings. committee's work was just getting under way, when people the fifth during have oftenes, they been labor leaders or entertainers. figures.y sympathetic when you work for the i.r.s., figure.ot a sympathetic but lois lerner was willing to committee.ore this and the chairman called her back last month. he gave her one week's notice. be outorney was going to of town and he asked for a one-week extension. i don't know a court in the world that would have denied that extension. because you want to hear from witness. but her attorney was denied that
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even as ms. lerner negotiating to come before this committee and waive her fifth amendment rights. but the chairman went on television and essentially blew up those negotiations by announcing, inaccurately, without the permission of her attorney or lerner, that she would testify on march 5 though he had given the attorney no extension asked.kind he had of course, that announcement to missa surprise lerner and to her attorney and that anyly likely attorney didn't want to be wouldd of malpractice have come forward and allowed
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her to testify under those circumstances. wefact, what he said was lost confidence in the fairness and the impartiality of the forum. it is completely partisan. to rebutte very hard that in light of the circumstances when we could have from this witness. mr. chairman, i believe that the people have lost confidence in the fair oferstands and impartiality our work here. fromublic deserves to hear miss lerner. moreu had acted in a responsible fashion, if you had the witness every opportunity to negotiate, to us and tell us what these hearings have been about beginning, this
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beenmpt matter would have unnecessary. but the point seems to have been to have a show place contempt, a contempt hearing to find maken contempt and to political hay out of what is more serious matter. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> we now go to the gentleman from florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman and committee.the side of the aisle would have you believe that this is something just republicans didn't gived we miss lerner a chance. are that, pull up a that i.r.s. began targeting conservative groups with conservative sounding names
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april, 2010, and miss lerner was in charge of agency andular responsibility. even chairman issa in june of alerted i.r.s. republicans who really helped launch some of the we heard in previous comments of senator, several of 2012 wroteruary of i.r.s. and the investigation actually inrted, and i penciled it there, march a month later, the inspector general began a review of this matter. the fact we now find that even had said thatho they had made certain contacts, in august of.s.
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2012. again, the question before us is a contempt against lois lerner. she was given the opportunity to come before us and she came the first time in may, that's less than a year ago, and to cooperate and testify. opportunityanother just weeks ago to come back and to testify. meantime we interviewed over 30 witnesses, almost every one of them, and i'll put this the record, almost every one lerner.pointed to lois she started this whole thing out -- >> will the gentleman yield? yield.ll not i will not yield. >> the gentleman's time is -- gentleman's time is his. we'll have regular order. may
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>> in fact, what she did is worthy of probably an academy award. she went before the inspector was released in mayand it was released 14th, on may 10th she did her broadway production, it was academy award, the lineain that people in cincinnati were responsible for misconduct. are the facts. in fact, when she said that, one of the i.r.s. folks who heard one of the folks that cindy i repeatedsaid and this before, cincinnati wasn't publicly thrown under the bus, instead it was hit by a convoy of mack trucks. they said, according to what she tried to produce and attention from this. we have given this individual
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opportunity to give us the her,, everything points at and she has refused to cooperate. what is this all about? the mostbout one of fundamental abuses i have ever my lifetime of trying to election. she tried to skew the election, and probably was fairly and alsol, in gagging groups inconservative this country. thataid in the beginning they proposed, they were in fact a problem, that was her words, not my words. and she, right up to the election on election day, we
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onesan e-mail, one of the we did get a hold of that she opined that it was important for democrats to retain control of the senate. political move to elections.12 if the other side, imagine if the other side, this is about liberal groups, this had taken place, the howling would never end. this is a simple procedure. contempt and she must be held in contempt and we must move forward. gentleman.the ?ho seeks recognition mr. lynch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. appreciate the opportunity to speak on the motion. back, though, this is, this determination that ms. lerner waived her
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constitutional rights, let me go and first speak to my friend from ohio's remarks, his it is accurate, and i stand by that. i think it's a very serious a powerful department or agency of powerment brings that down on the heads of innocent citizens trying to exercise their constitutional rights. to i think it's right for us be concerned about a dangerous situation like that, whether it i.r.s. coming down on political groups whose rights are vested in the first right to freethe speech or the right to petition their government freely, or whether those rights are in the fifth amendment. citizen the individual the right to stand behind the fifth amendment protection against self incrimination. i think we have similar here.ions today's proceedings is a
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contempt proceeding against that one individual. it is not the matter that we have agreed upon that this was a because ofituation the i.r.s. conduct. contemptlking about a proceedings against a single individual american citizen and whether they have exercised had thosets and have rights protected. gentleman yield? >> maybe when i get to the last minute, if i can get everything said i'll be happy to yield. it did warm my heart to hear the tennessee ole consequently cite legal about the question of whether or not ms. lerner as an thatcan citizen waived fifth amendment right to be protected from self incrimination. however, it would have been much valuable testimony if we had had that testimony before we guilty.she was we have already voted that she
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is in contempt. voted that she waived her rights. hadthe first time we testimony through the gentleman from tennessee and threw a couple other members, is after we decided that she was guilty and she had waived her rights was a subject of contempt. that's backward. backward. one of my colleagues on the side of the aisle skated the 38 interviews that were conducted. however, when we tried to make interviews public, the chairman refused, he cherry ofked little sentences out one or two or three interviews and made those public to the press. that's not -- that's a political move. this is a political decision. this is not a legal by this committee. we have not had any, we should here to a hearing determine, we should have brought the best legal experts on constitutional law and asked them point blank,
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assessment of lois lerner's 35 words, did she waive her constitutional rights. i don't think so. the vast body of legal testimony is that it must be a meaningful and purposeful waiver of her fifth amendment rights. and that we don't assume that lightly. is so important. but we didn't have that debate. we didn't have that hearing. a whole different direction. we denied the opportunity to have those transcripts made public. and fairhad this full debate, which is going on now guilty. found her and she has to have been found to clearly put us in a where she was not going to testify. and that is not the case. as we have already heard from the gentleman, the gentle lady
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from district of columbia and, which is widely known on this committee that her attorney delay.or a week anybody who has practiced law in life knows that that is not an unreasonable request for an attorney to was outand because he of town. this contempt vote if it goes passes, this will be laughed out of court. this will be laughed out of court. the chairman has so bungled this that it willing just be a significant cost to we will not bend able to get to the bottom of channel.ugh this it is unfortunate because i think there is a danger here powerful government committee works or department works against the interest of the american people. back.d >> we now go to the gentleman from ohio, mr. turner. >> thank you for recognizing me. i yield my time to the
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congresswoman from wyoming. >> i thank the chairman and i thank the gentleman from ohio time.elding me his it is uniquely consequential to american, ather woman in a position of public trust, to be in contempt of congress. contemptively. yet lois lerner does have a right to remain silent, a protected right. but lois lerner did not remain silent. her own e-mails refute and beforeict her assertion this committee that she did nothing wrong, that she violated laws. she spoke falsehoods to this committee when she said she did wrong. she spoke to the justice department. without immunity.
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i believe she did waive her fifth amendment right. you know, mr. chairman, it often the power to taxis the destroy. that's why the american people must be protected from the abuse that power. the congress must intervene on of the american people. e-mailsner's own partisan agenda speech.conservative that a former director of the job requiring the highest level of integrity, a duty owed to the american people, to be fair and unbiased, this conduct herself in manner is something weather committee'ss consideration in this context.
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we all have heros, and the american people have in looked at gangsters and thugs that were brought down by they didn'tecause pay their taxes, as the kind of to look up we wanted to. the i.r.s. using its power to destroy the bad guys. intimidator. in this case, it is the i.r.s. the intimidator. the protecter has become the intimidator. and it is our duty in this the peopleo protect from an agency that no longer them.ts mr. chairman, this committee is appropriately exercising its and duty tod power protect the american taxpayer,
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between them and the by federalwer agencies. of ours.uty we must conduct our work with the highest legal of integrity. that is why i appreciate the careful deliberations of this to this very subject.tial self onconducted one's behalf of the internal revenue service with such dishonor and very peopleo the entrusted you, i'm repulsed by that. and i find our work today to be a manner which the deserve.people mr. chairman, i yield back the
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time.e of my >> gentleman from ohio yields back. gentleman frome virginia. mr. connolly. mr. chairman. sad day, for this committee, for the congress, and for the rights of all american citizens. to call this proceeding and the just uttered orwellian, the surfaceto touch isthe process that characterized this proceeding last year. we can stipulate that lois heroic figure. knowll of us would like to more about what she did and what
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it.said and why she did that is not the issue before us today. the issue before us today is figures, nonheroic especially with nonheroic of rightsid the bill right of every citizen, even an i.r.s. selfyee, to avoid entrapment. mr. jordan, our friend from ohio cited james madison of my state of virginia. and he's absolutely right. madison put a lot of kree ends in the power of congress where itthat's belonged. believed that the house of representatives really trumped even the courts, with respect to interpretation of constitutional issues and legislation. that same james madison had to be persuaded and was
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the very first act in the first congress, to adopt a bill of rights. have been 100 enumerated rights. they enumerated 10. fifth one was the right against self incrimination, for reason. because what had characterized clone annual times and what frankly british industryern jurisprudence was the star can in whichroceedings somebody's words could be used against them and against their to nowm are we going insist on the miranda right resttation for every witness who before this committee? by the way, anything you say can and will be used against you? say nothing? are we going to throw out case law? unfortunately waxer we're about today brings us right back to a name,rthy era not as but if you want to look at case
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go. that's why you have to that's the last time congress trampled on rights, stens ohic citizens. is the quinn case despositive, it deals with precisely what's in front of us. the fact that someone prefaces their remarks with a protestation of innocence 'then invokes the fifth amendment, is many times, by court cases, including by the supreme court of the united states in quinn. explicitly says that does not waive your right. thishe majority of committee, to assert otherwise is conveniently to ignore case law. cases,h times, in tough i plead with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, are we not about protecting citizens' rights? they're not particularly appealing
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characters? it's precisely when it's difficult, it's precisely when it's politically inconvenient that this body must rise to the occasion and protect the constitutional rights of everybody. because when we jeopardize the of a citizen like lois lerner, we put in jeopardy the of every american. i have seen it so often. people hold up the constitution aying i am first constitutionalist. well, then practice what you preach. look at that fifth amendment and means.and what it and cast the right vote today, star is against this chamber proceeding. i yield back. you.ank members are advised that we will not recess for the vote, which is currently going on on the floor. so if they need to vote and come
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back, i'd advice them to. we will call members in the order in which they asked to be recognized when they are present. gentlemanwe go to the from north carolina, mr. mchenry. >> a point of order on the procedure, when a member goes down to vote you will not close out the discussion part of this thing? >> no, that's what i just said. we'll look forward to your return, mr. tierney. the gentleman from north carolina. >> thank you. we have a serious matter before committee today. beenside of the aisle have able to go through hundreds of of documents.ages and one thing is clear. lerner orchestrated a to targeteffort conservative groups because of their political views. clear is thing that's here in congress there are
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liberal members of the house and senate, that wanted to use the i.r.s. to target groups because they didn't like a core case. thisding some on committee. referenced colleague miranda rights. one thing is clear from all the lois lerner, is that she's got to understand her rights. if we have accountability, if we law in this of those lawnd if enforcement agencies actually look at the evidence that we have before us. so what we're doing today should months ago, but because it was the concerted effort of this committee and the party on this committee to make sure we got all the act ine, we did not haste. we've had 11 months of
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investigation on this. started almost four years ago. takingactions we're tomorrow are justified based off today.evidence we have and my democrat colleagues certainly appreciated the targeting that lois lerner was for them within the i.r.s., but it was their party aat was targeted by republican president 40 years ago. and how things have changed in 40 years that those very folks targeted are trying to use that very same bureaucracy they oppose in political speech and debate. i'd like to yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from ohio. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. to go back to our colleague, mr. lynch. read earlierment i that he made two weeks ago in hearing.ttee remember the context of that
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statement. was mr. coskinen had told this committee that we all of loist lerner's e-mails for two years. notmr. lynch said that's appropriate. we need that information. and i'llhe quoted, quote him again, the very powerful agency the i.r.s. is with a lot of information on a of individual has been targeting citizens, that's serious stuff, and i think that justifies the scope of the committee's inquiry and the urgency to get those e-mails. the key question. if lois lerner won't talk to us and the i.r.s. won't give us their e-mails, how in the heck to thegoing to get truth? that's why this resolution is so important. on strong legal ground, we have that analysis. but from a practical standpoint going to getwe're to the truth about the targeting of peep's fundamental rights to politically is that we can why every tool at our
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to compel loisy lerner to sit on the witness testify and so the americans can get the truth. mr. lynch was spot on when he such paramount importance, we've got to get that information because it's amendment.irst i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. there's been a lot of testimony here by members. i would advice that on any referral the statements made by fact part of what is likely to be part of the record. stating whatrs are did or didn't happen, i would them to ensure that they also provide for the record may becuments as appropriate to further their point.
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at this point we now recognize gentle lady from california. >> chairman, thank you. proud day for this committee. i often times wonder if we a 24 hour news cycle whether we would conduct our differently. chairman lankford and i as ranking member of a subcommittee a very important hearing about social security disability. way -- waist and abuse and fraud. a spectacleis is that's been orchestrated to obscure facts that aren't put politicalon't points on the scoreboard. politically of a motivated and biased investigation have been evident process.t this the majority announced the the investigation before they held one hearing or conducted a single interview.
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in fact, the chairman of this went on fox news and announced that there was a conspiracy and that the of the united states, the white house, had been .nvolved in this fiasco facts that haven't fit into the predetermined narrative of the majority have been completely ignored. legal expertsn 31 on whetherpoken out or not miss lerner waived her rights. havehe chairman and others called them our lawyers, but we have not hired them. thethey come from across political spectrum and across the country. let's take, for instance, of johnr patrice volker march hall law sool who said launching an attempt prosecution appears few lerner
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tile due to the committee's disregard for long standing traditionings of procedure. andrea dennis of the university said, aia law school contempt prosecution would be legally and factually unsupported. are the facts. in the last 60 years, what has ton required for a group qualify as a 501(c)(4) status from being exclusively for a social service or social todaye purpose, to what is incomprehendsably interpreted that is primarily dedicated to social welfare causes. the result has been a flood of groups operating contrary to the spirit of the law for seeking granted tax exempt status. second, groups seeking to file a 501c3 or 4 aren't even required to go through the certification process that's been derided by the majority. a 501(c)(4)ile as without certification.
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nothing requires these groups to face the supposed gauntlet of the i.r.s.'s certification process. that processd altogether and self certify. become clear is that an underresourced i.r.s. took inappropriate and it cuts to try to get through thousands of 501(c)(4) applicationings. the i.r.s. took inappropriate to ill advised short cuts identify conservative and liberal groups that potentially exemptionlify for tax because they were primarily involved in social welfare purposes. what has also become clear from this exhaustive investigation is loistoday is not about lerner or the alleged tactics she may have employed, today is about and theng the integrity credibility of this committee. the truth is that lois lerner is mid level bureaucrat who may
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have made some poor decisions. whether she is found in contempt or not, her name has been dragged through the mud and her been drained to pay her lawyers fees. from the outset the chairman has seemingly convinced that not only lois lerner but the white house and president obama orchestrated a vast conspiracy to punish 501(c)(4)s. after millions of dollars have been spent on a taxpayer funded is where wethis have ended up. there is no connection to the white house. do is hold trying to in contempt a mid level bureaucrat and the actions of hold up totee won't judicial scrutiny. beenis vast conspiracy had real and not fantasy, lois lerner would have been offered immunity on day one. the only way to build a conspiracy case is to grant immunity to smaller players to larger ones. this could have turned out very differently. was willing to testify and wanted one
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additional week because her lawyer was going to be out of town. and we didn't give it to her. shame on us. i yield back. >> i thank the gentle lady and i a minute to for respond to a couple things that have been said. all, this hearing is i proper hearing because we have an individual who has to every opportunity cooperate from nearly a year ago brought was first before this committee. herfirst professed innocence, and then took the fifth. we brought her back several weeks ago and we offered an opportunity, the chairman sat in this chair, questioned her again, repeatedly she exercised committeeo the process, exercising her fifth
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amendment right, which she has to i might remind everyone that this is not something again theiated by our side of ail. in fact i cited and showed where general gotr started a month after seven exercisedenators had their concern and wanted of what was going on with i.r.s. and some of these groups. the inspector general acted did, a thorough investigation, we've heard a close thisttempts to down by, unfortunately by the ranking member, that's all over, we didn't need to go any further. and yet we have failed even to this hearing on this day to receive simple document requests. mentioned they cost of taxpayer funds.
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the new i.r.s. gave usoner who said he 400,000 pages of documents. atcould give us as i said that hearing a bill pages, but if they are not what we spends taxpayer time, expenses and resources in blanketing the committee with information we didn't request, we've requested e-mails from lois lerner which we still haven't gotten. whatyou've seen here is we've pieced together. what you've seen here is also to witnesses, all who point towards lois lerner. as i documented, went before the american bar just before the inspector general's report was , in almost a hollywood production. i said earlier, worthy of an academy award. she tried to cast the blame on
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around the water cooler, low level i.r.s. employees in cincinnati. and again they felt that they not only thrown under the bus, they were thrown under a so it's very clear that the person held in contempt here, and we've been most patient, more than, well, we're going on a yearbecause it will be in may that we have requested the cooperation of this individual. and she can't selectively thumb and the at the congress american people and hold us in intempt and not be held contempt. so we have a responsibility as move she has been given the opportunity and again thumbed nose at the committee. with those comments i'm pleased to mr. lankford for
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five minutes. >> thank you. withis what we're dealing today. make aindividual, statement, appear to waive their right to the fifth amendment and then decide no, i'm going to go ahead and plead the fifth any way. does that mean to say i'm not going to speak on -- started may 10, 2013. lerner had a question planted at conference. so that she would be asked about something that was completely irrelevant to that day, and so she could leak out that day about this rogue group in cincinnati and what was happening. 12 days later she was in front of this committee, in front of thiscommittee she made statement. good morning. members of the committee, my name is lois lerner i'm the director of -- i've been a government employee for 34 years. initially practiced law at the department of justice, in fact she was the staff attorney in later as a federal election
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commission, in fact she was in office atl counsel's the federal election commission. then she makes this long statement. of this statement she said this. i have not done anything wrong. i have not broken any laws. i have not violated any i.r.s. rules or regulations. i have not provided false this or other congressional committees. i know some people assume i've done something wrong. i have not. i have responded to questions about the i.r.s. processing of applicationings for tax exemption. all these statements she made in fact, then there's this statement that i'm going to invoke my fifth amendment privilege so i don't have to answer questions related to these statements i just made. here's our big concern. fifthive your right to amendment when you make statements of fact about yourself. was notbelief that she aware or didn't know, she had practiced law for years. counsel atn general the federal election commission. she practiced law in the theinal division of department of justice. this is not someone who is not
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aware of the law. someone who was very aware. we are asking a simple thing. questions. this entire investigation points tok to one person beginning answer questions. why is this such a big deal? well, because of the questions was asking others to get. now, i brought with me a copy of that was sent by her office to one of the oklahoma tea party groups. in this letter she outlines at the beginning of it, from their penalty of under the personalry everything has to be correct and remind the people that fill this out that everything you give me will be made public. so make sure what you give me you're okay with being public releasei will everything that you put in this document. and then this person who stand don't have to answer questions, i don't have to make anything public, though i can make assertionings that done nothing wrong. ask the individuals in oklahoma that simply allied for this asked give mehey a transcript of any speeches
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given by any candidate at any of meetings. how about this, do you directly or indirectly communicate with members of legislative bodies? if so, provide written content of anynd other communication. this person that says i do not to say anything required of them the contents of private conversations with any legislator that they mate have come into contact with. they also asked, please say whether you provide any advocacy training for your members, if yes industry in detail your training, provide copies of any publicationings. who selects the material on your website, name them. criteria forey set that. describe in detail your advocacy training, provide copies of to your related training, provide copies of all your corporate minutes from its present, to the provide copies much your website, the areas that only access.can
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this is private information that requiring a private citizen. they are requiring if you're going to come through our office public everyo make conversation you've had with any legislator you've ever communicated with, the details and nature of that communication. says i canrson require someone else to do those things, but you can't require me even after i've made a statement that i've done nothing rules, i'velated no told this committee the truth every time. kid make those statements, but i have to back it up. have to back it can you not step into this committee, make an assertion of fact, waive your fifth amendment right and say i won't answer questions while at the same time requiring organizations for years, some of them like this one, still waiting for their tax exempt status. to do it but ive don't. we're americans. we're all treated the same. treating someone different.
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this is treating everyone the same. answers. we get some with that i yield back. from illinois,dy if she's ready, miss kelly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. missed multiple opportunity for this committee to obtain information that would help our inquiry. last mob her attorney sent a letter to chairman issa offering to provide a prover to the committee details what miss lerner would say if called to testify. instead of accepting this out of the chairman went on national television and claimed written offer never happened. he said this, and i quote, we want to get to the truth. prover,ttorney had a which as you know which would be yourll us don't tell us client's innocence, tell us what we need to know, and he never offered to do that. chairman never obtained a proffer and when they tried to about it at the hearing, chairman issa cut off his micro
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then and closed down hearing, one of the worst examples of partisanship this committee has ever seen. the chairman did something similar when miss lerner's attorney offered to have her testify with a simple one-week extension. rather than accept this offer the chairman decided to go on national television and declare inaccurately that she would testify without the extension much this inaccurate statement offer asscuttling the mrs. lerner's counsel lost face in with this committee. wonder if they realize how we got here. the chairman failed to obtain a proffer, he scuttled an offer to obtain mislerner's testimony. democratic members out of negotiations with mislerner's attorney. and when the ranking member attempted to help the chairman get the information he says he wants, the chairman silenced the and prevented him from speaking.
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i can only assume that despite repeated claims the chairman doesn't actually want to hear from miss lerner, and that's a the publicse deserves the truth. not a political side show. yield back. gentleman from .orth carolina, >> thank you, mr. chairman, ace debate, into this think it good for all of us to remember that this is a debate a motion, a debate on perhaps and maybe offered. and as we start to look at this, lernerstion of lois being he in contempt is one that of the aisle should take very seriously. to it really gets down restoring the trust for the american people. and overave found over
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again is starting last may, if someone who came before this very committee and said that she done nothing wrong. since that time, almost a year now, we have found e-mails, over and overails again, it would indicate that that particular statement was true. attorney, speaking to the "wall street journal," talked about the reason why she here andnt to come testify is because she would be, vilified. when you start to look at this, indeed is the reason, where we have found her to have talked to the department of justice, talk to reporters, and herother people, only reason for coming here is beause she does not want to vilified, indeed that is
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unfortunate. but being vilified is not a protectedonally event. certainly invoking the fifth, if nothing, would have been proper. but yet to come in and suggest has done nothing wrong, mr. chairman, and then go with that to say that the reason she is not coming to testify before this oversight committee is trouble l because the american people deserve the truth. who wereanizations targeted, some for well over three years without a decision, truth come out. we still have some of these tea groups today, they're still waiting on decisions. that is unfortunate when you have one of the most powerful
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the country that is not willing the mack a decision, when by statute they're required to make a decision within 270 way.any and jet somehow a deadline for is not one that they have to adhere to, and yet when show is on the other foot and when we have an american a deadlineat has that they're enforcing, they a double that deadline must be met, and i.r.s. continues to not meet their deadlines. close with this, that perhaps this didn't need to take place today, if the i.r.s. areissioner and those that in charge of lois lerner's morels, had been forthcoming. the average american person does
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why we could not have all of lois lerner's e-mails delivered to us in over a year's time. i don't understand it. and you would think that that would be a very simple request. with that -- of myield the balance time. >> i think the gentleman points thatn his closing minute he -- let me remind again the committee and this contempt the fact, that facts are that in february 2011 lerner set an e-mail to her staff advising them that cases involving the tea party applicants were very dangerous. is again in february of 2011. waswas there, she orchestrating this. we know that much. before us, who came the veteran i.r.s. official, who worked the test cases the washington, testified that
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lerner senior advisors told him counsel''s office would need to review the tea party applicationings, something done in his 48en years at the i.r.s. these are the facts. lois lerner has had several opportunities to come before this committee and tell us the and nothing by the truth, and she failed to do that. she should be held in contempt pleased to yield to the gentlelady from illinois, miss duckworth. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i share your frustration that lerner chose not to testify. this is the same frustration that all members of this committee have. valuable information and important questions that she must answer about the i.r.s.gement of the i personally would like to understand why miss lerner failed to inform congress about the inappropriate targeting sooner. i would also like to ask her gross mismanagement that created an atmosphere in which the targeting could continue for so long. despite the hyper partisan
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attention this issue has received, i think there are lessons to be learned here to make sure this type of never happens but, as members of congress, we thesworn to uphold constitution and i take this oath very seriously. i first took this oath when you in my early 20's and to the past 25 years of my life have upheld it. i did the same when i swore in as a member of congress. constitutional a right to plead the fifth and anything that calls into citizen's constitutional right should be held to the highest, the highest degree of scrutiny. i'm not a legal expert. but this committee was provided with numerous opinions of those legal experts from both conservative and liberal and they philosophies unanimously conclude that miss lerner did not waive her fifth amendment rights. this committee should not be in the business of stripping away the constitutional rights of an
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american when there is so little substantive debate and zero evidence. this type of reckless action has by congress since the days of senator mccarthy and the house committee on unamerican activities. mr. chairman, my constituents do not want congress to go back to the mccarthy era. support this effort to drag us into one of the darkest periods in the history of this institution. i ask again that we recognize did indeederner invoke her fifth amendment rights and i yield back. gentlelady yeel? >> i do yield. appreciate your comments and as such a great member of the committee, i would one make many have referred to the late senator mccarthy. i hope that the gentlelady would differently.ittle essentially we are faced with competing views as to whether or
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taking the fifth and then continuing to answer questions, or speaking the not considered by any of the 31 witnesses that i've seen paper on, whether or experts considered her speaking to the justice department thoroughly as several members of the democratic side here have said in their statements. she was willing to testify but then changed her mind for reasons other than elf-incrimination. these are all issues that will, if we refer this motion, be heard by a federal judge. the point of today's mark-up is do we send to a federal judge for his or her consideration, with a u.s. attorney involved, the question of did she waive? i might suggest to all of our
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members, at least in this member's opinion, since there is a debate, house counsel shares his opinion that she waived. other experts are on the other side. i, like you, am not an ttorney. the question today, to counsel hat i'm supposed to use, the house counsel, which is nonpartisan, that there is sufficient reason to move contempt through the house and ultimately have the question decided by a lifetime appointment, u.s. federal judge that i won't get to pick and you won't get the pick and i think the answer should be yes. so hopefully the gentlelady will consider before a final vote, are we in fact asking the question of whether the federal judge should -- you're free to say you don't think she should waive. that is fine. but i think the question is should an independent arbitrator decide
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what i've been told by house counsel was a waive. that should entitle us to at the t ask questions as to things that she testified to after she invoked the fifth. things like that document that you saw her say was true and correct. thank the gentlelady so much. >> i will yield to the ranking member. >> this is to the gentlelady. this is the very reason why i ask that experts come in. legal experts to give us their opinions. because this is a very weighty issue and we do have lay people on both sides. i thought it would have been beneficial. but we were denied that. thank you very much.
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>> we now go to the gentleman from utah. >> i would like to yield to the gentleman from south carolina. mr. gowdy. >> i thank the gentleman from utah. you have the right to remain silent. no guilt may be inferred from your invocation of that right to remain silent. however if you testify or take the stand, you will be treated like any other witness and subject to cross examination. i have heard that phrase for 16 years. it has been repeated in courtrooms all across this country today but not for powerful people that work for government. just for everyday folks. just for everyday witnesses or everyday defendants of petty crimes, not charged with violation of constitutional rights. maybe just petty larceny. they are being told you have a right to remain silent, however if you testify or take the stand, you will be treated like every other witness. mr. chairman, i counted 17 separate factual assertions.
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that is a lot of talking for somebody who wants to remain silent. that is a lot of talking. if you honestly believe that you can make 17 separate factual assertions and still invoke your right to remain silent, then please tell me what waiver is. what constitutes waiver. if saying 17 separate factual things does not. mr. chairman, she testified i have done nothing wrong. i have broken no law. no rules or i.r.s. resolutions. -- regulations. that is her testimony. what i'm saying is we should have the right examine her on that testimony because i would like to ask her. when you said we need a plan, who is we? and what plan are you referring to?
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when she said we need to be careful it is not perceived as political. who is we and what are you concerned about the perception of politics for? what are you fearful of, ms. lerner? she said i think we really need to do a project. who is we and what project are you referring to? that is a legitimate question. and every brother and sister at the bar on the other side of the aisle would ask that question on cross examination if given the opportunity. can you imagine, mr. chairman? can you imagine a pattern where somebody takes the stand and says i didn't rob the bank but i'm not going to answer why my fingerprints are on the demand note and i'm not going to tell you why i'm on the surveillance footage with a gun in my hand and i'm not going to tell you why the dye pack blew up in my car. i'm just going to tell you i didn't rob the bank. that is not the way our system works. you have to answer the other side's questions. i think these questions are fair. the tea party is very dangerous. dangerous to whom? hom, ms. lerner? who thinks they are dangerous? you? the i.r.s.? dangerous in what way? we need a vehicle to get back to
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court. who is we? why do you want to get back to court? could it heaven forbid because you don't like citizens nited? is that possibly the explanation? mr. chairman, she said cincinnati should not have these cases, but then she turned around and said cincinnati was to blame. that's an inconsistent statement. every lawyer on that side of the aisle would ask her to explain that inconsistency. everyone. so why can't we? if this is not waiver, can someone explain to me on the other side what fact pattern constitutes waiver? if you can make 17 separate factual assertions and authenticate a document and say i have done nothing wrong, which is about as broad as any testimony can possibly get. i've done nothing wrong. i've broken no laws. i've broken no rules or
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regulations. honestly what testimony could be broader than that? necessarily, our cross examination could be equally broad and it would be in a courtroom. how often did you use your e mail? ms. lerner? that is a fair question. the economy of ways and means just referred that to the department of justice. how many times did you use your personal email? when you mused about applying for a job with an organization connected with the president, were you kidding, ms. lerner or were you serious? we know you were contemplating retirement. were you seriously going to work? i know my time is up. i'm just going to say this in conclusion. the same constitution that allows her the right if she wants to sit there and say nothing allows these groups to petition their government for redress. >> i appreciate the gentleman. gentleman's time is expired. who seeks recognition? mr. cartwright. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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mr. chairman, i would like to join in the ranking member cummings' objecting to this resolution. not because we don't want to hear from lois lerner. we do. i join mr. gowdy in saying i would love to have a crack at cross examining her myself. ut i object to this. because it is a trample on individual rights, something that we are sworn to uphold and protect in this country. the chairman referred to mccarthyism and several members here today have done that. you know, a lot of people in the united states were not born when joe mccarthy was running around half cocked as he did trumping up charges against individuals that they were communists and plotting to conspire against the united states government, holding up lists and claiming to have their names in his hands,
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piecing together random bits of information cherry picked from this source or that source. that is what he did and mr. chairman, that was a national embarrassment. it was a national embarrassment. you know, there are a lot of reasons people want to come to this nation from all over the world. because principally, because we are the bright, shining beacon of liberty in this country. e can't just make that a phrase for lip service. we have to make it real. to make liberty real we have to have civil rights in this country. this was the dream of our founders. that's why they cooked up the bill of rights. sometimes i agree with mr. gowdy, we don't like it when
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they assert the fifth amendment because a lot of times the people who make that assertion are not the model boy of the village. we get that. but it is a right that we cherish here in the united states because it prevents things like what mr. connolly was referring to, the star chamber, where people would be ragged in, tortured, forced to testify against themselves and then incarcerated because of that. we didn't like that when it happened and we don't like it now. now i want to say, this is a bill of rights brought up by our founding fathers, but it is a bill of rights that since then, brave men and women in this nation have fought, bled and died for. it is not something lightly to be tossed away just because we're mad at an i.r.s. employee. and so i join in the ranking member's objection to this proceeding today and i also want
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to meet mr. gowdy's challenge when he says can you imagine a situation? we don't have to imagine a situation where somebody invoked the fifth amendment after making a brief statement. that happened during the mccarthy era in the united states vs. hogh. during a hearing on august 5, 1954. senator mccarthy repeatedly uestioned a lady from new york near buffalo, diana hogh. despite the fact that she had asserted her fifth amendment rights, she was a coil winder at westinghouse company. she made $1.71 an hour. she professed her innocence just the way lois lerner did and then declined to answer subsequent questions. in response to questioning from senator mccarthy, she stated i have never engaged in espionage nor sabotage.
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i am not so engaged. i will not so engage in the future. i'm not a spy nor a saboteur. like chairman issa here, senator mccarthy concluded that his witness had waived her fifth amendment rights. without citing any independent legal opinion orexplained to her that she had experts. he waived her fifth amendment rights and then she was brought up for criminal prosecution. that prosecution was thrown out in court and that is in the precedence. there is precedence for this and there is a procedural defect because it was not demanded of lois lerner that she answered the questions despite her protestation and her assertion of the fifth amendment. so this is not a conviction that could be held up in court no matter how much anybody wants it to. i don't fault -- i know the chairman is not a lawyer and i don't fault him for an imperfect understanding of the law but you
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don't need to be a lawyer in this country to understand fairness. >> the gentleman's time is expired under the jefferson rules. we now go to the gentleman from michigan. >> i thank the chairman. i thank you for continuing this process. it is a process worth continuing. it is a process that sadly has been hampered all along the way and then today, we hear a series of talking points, talking points that i think move away from what the real issue is. and that is fact that we deserve to have on this committee to carry out to responsibilities that have been given to us under oath of office were not given. now there are lawyers in the room on both sides. there are lawyers in courtrooms on both sides. there is disagreements on what the law says. what the constitution means all the time. but in this committee, it is our
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responsibility to carry out the authority of the oversight of every agency, every program, every department, every bureaucrat, if necessary, of government, to make sure that the people are being served well. talking points only go so far. reality is the concern here and when we had a person who, as my colleague from south carolina said so adequately, gave a defense and then was unwilling to be cross examined, we have a problem. this government is unique. and we would not forget the purpose of the people's house. that this committee works for. alexander hamilton said here the people govern. we are the people's representatives. and people are asking questions on why they as normal
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law-abiding citizens that had political beliefs, were being targeted. they deserve those answers. we are the people's representatives. thomas jefferson said when the people fear their government, there is t tyranny. when the government fears the people, there is liberty. how in the world can we reverse that to the point where the government does fear the people and have a nonelected bureaucrat targeted by the record, targeted individual citizens for their political beliefs and get away with it? how can we carry out the advice of thomas jefferson and finally, mr. chairman, john adams said liberty lost once is liberty lost forever. we run that risk if an i.r.s. bureaucrat can strike fear in the hearts and minds and actions of people so they won't even use
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their first amendment liberties without worries that their names will be taken down. we have a problem. and that problem is a loss of liberty. so mr. chairman, i applaud you for continuing this process with all sorts of pitfalls in the way nd all sorts of hurdles in the way, with all sorts of talking points put up as gates to what he truth is. he way the people's house , remember that we serve the people. we represent the people. they deserve the answer. the bureaucracy ought to respond to them and not the other way around. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. who seeks recognition? mr. davis. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> mr. davis, i apologize. ok. mr. davis is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. like many of us, i serve on two committees and i serve on the
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committee of ways and means and yesterday of course we made a criminal referral of ms. lerner to the justice department by the ways and means committee which i voted against. i voted against it because i felt that it was nothing more than a stunt. to promote the house republicans political narrative. the justice department has already conducted a criminal investigation of ms. lerner and the i.r.s.'s conduct identified in the may 2013 inspector general's report and the department already has access to the sensitive taxpayer information released yesterday by ways and means. if this referral was intended to draw the department's attention to certain key documents, chairman kemp could have done it
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privately, but he did not. he made a public spectacle of it the day before our vote on contempt. ranking member levin explained that the last time ways and means took an unprecedented step of making sensitive tax return information public, was back in 1974. in an audit of president nixon's tax returns. so in the course of two days, the ways and means committee harkened back to the days of nixon when it released sensitive information and our committee will take a mccarthy era as many people have already indicated, contempt vote. it is my feeling that these partisan public spectacles erode he credibility of this house
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and it gives people more cause to wonder if the house is really looking for the information that all of us talk about or are we playing politics with each other and the american public? i think the justice department is fully capable of doing its ob of doing its work, of ferreting out the information that is needed and i think we ought to let them do it and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back. we go back to the gentleman from arizona, mr. gosar. >> thank you. i would like to say that although my friends across the aisle have accused the party in a witch-hunt. such accusations are completely unfounded. the common adage is facts are stubborn things. i contend that all one must do
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is reflect on to the facts to know this investigation is about asserting what happened. let's analyze the facts. we know that lois lerner has a history of favoring liberal groups over conservative groups. a bias. there were multiple incidents during her tenure at the federal elections commission that showed that. i would like to place into the record an article outlining such of these instances. >> without objection, they are ordered. >> we have documents with phrase like i'm really thinking we need o do a c-4 project next year and we need to have a plan and isneed to be cautious so it not a political project. we know that ms. lerner sent official i.r.s. emails to her own official email account which is a violation of i.r.s. rules and we also know she may have broken federal law by disclosing sensitive tax return information. she wanted to avoid litigation because as she put it, if it goes to litigation, all details are public. no guessing needed.
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so it seems ms. lerner wished to stay away from litigation of of to avoid having all these issues from becoming public. this could be the same motive she used when withholding information from congress. we also know she lied or misled this committee on numerous accounts. we asked whether the criteria tax exception had changed. she said it hasn't but it has. it was not out of the ordinary in may, that also was refuted. in fact, the 48-year-old veteran of the i.r.s. said he never once had seen such application go to the chief counsel's office. former i.r.s. acting commissioner steve miller told us that the i.r.s. was under "tremendous pressure from senator carl levin to implement new
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regulations." why dering all of this, would the committee cease the efforts to get to the truth? why should it? our job to get the american people answers. without ms. lerner use full cooperation and without immunity, neither this committee nor the american public will have the answers it needs from its government. the ways and means committee has voted to ask the justice department to take her to court for targeting these groups and disclosing taxpayer obligations, which is a felony. after going over these steps and the facts, i would like to ask my colleagues across the aisle o tell me how it is that you can argue that we conclude this investigation? is it because the president says so? is it because ranking member cummings says so? how about attorney generic -- general eric holder?
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is it because there is a piece of evidence absolves her? if this is a waste of time, prove it to us and we can move on to other important oversight matters. until then, i recommend to my friends across the aisle quite crying foul. when we get to the bottom of this, i hope there will be no one on the other side of the dace. i do not find pleasure of holding eric holder in contempt. i do not enjoy holding any federal official in ontempt. doing so means we have a government run amok. the situation a lose-lose situation for all citizen, regardless of political beliefs. it uncomfortable as it may be, is our job to proceed. actions have consequences. i'm simply a believer in the rule of law and specifically this oversight committee to ensure that the federal government operate ns a manner that the public sees fit. our government and in this case, the i.r.s. and the justice
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department are in a sad state of affairs. this should be a turningpoint to restore justice and accountability. institutions granted authority by the people to serve and protect people. not abuse them. support the chairman in his pursuit of justice and accountable government. i support the resolution holding ms. lerner in contempt. i yield back. >> we have been advised the next round of votes will be together to vote. therefore i will continue the hearing as long as possible. recess in order for people to make both votes and then return immediately following the second vote if they call two votes. with that, the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. tierney is called. >> thank you, plch. mr. chairman, this is wrong on so many levels here today. we're debating the credibility of this committee. somehow, we turned a very
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unsympathetic figure to somebody who has become the focal point as to whether or not her constitutional rights have been violated. everybody on this committee wanted to hear her testimony and get to the bottom of the facts in this matter. now at best we're going to get delayed and maybe prevented from getting that information at all. that is an injustice done to this committee and the people who count on this committee to run those investigations in an impartial manner. like my colleague, i suspect if the chairman is not a lawyer, he cannot be held responsible for knowing how these legal matters are set up. the time was not after the fact when the house counsel was put in the position of defending who is going to be their client down the road. when it looked like these things were going to become an issue nd if that is case, we would have known that numerous impartial experts the tell us
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she did not waive her fifth amendment rights. beyond that, it is clear that after chairman issa failed to follow the minimal procedure safeguards required by the foreme court as a requizite safeguards, we're now this situation. the experts are clear. at no point was the witness directed to answer and accordingly. no prosecution -- so that is a sad situation. worse than that is having botched the process. early on also botched an opportunity to get a proffer what she would have said if she were granted immunity. i know that was raised last may. after doing that, the ranking members said wait a minute, let's talk to proffer and see whether or not granting immunity would make sense before we deprive this committee of all of ts responsibilities here and all of its evidence on that and then that was botched. now we're into this indefinite delay and problem that we have. if this committee is once again
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put into the public light of not acting professionally and responsibly on that basis. all the the mentions that you heard of mccarthyism were not out of thin air. unfortunately, that has become a public perception. that is unfortunate. we are on this committee because we believe the work can be done and we get to the bottom of the facts regardless of who is in the white house. it is our job as congress to make sure that every agency and department carries out the law. sfends money it has been appropriated in the manner intended by congress. we should be protecting congress. the people's house and making sure those things are done. let me just tell you what the public perception is out there as an example of some of the publications. without putting too fine a point on the promise -- on the premise, issa's attitude seems mccarthy's
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to prove that he had to congress and president eisenhower's state department. if there is a white house link let's see it before insisting it is there. that is the chicago tribune. there is a lot quoting that i'm ven on the record. the transcripts would give the public an idea of what is going on. mr. issa's investigation resemble's joseph mccarthy's red aiting to support his personal mission, to stop people he thinks are destroying democracy. he has accused people of not having conclusive facts. he is trying to let only his views be voiced in the committee. another quote to do a campaign of innuendo and half truths. he has smeared one of the world's most efficient tax agencies. since that time, he has conducted a series of hearings, a witch hunt of
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i.r.s. employees which has not been seen since mccarthy in the 1950's. the s selectively released ortions that suggest cover-up but has not released the portions that rebut that flawed theory. the g.o.p's chief congressional investigator into internal ref knew abuses cherry picked evidence and overstated his case. do you hear history's echo? senator joe mccarthy with his list of 205 names. issa should note the difference between investigation and witch-hunt. too often the former has turned into the latter. he now that is whip in his hand and the investigative power, as we have so many times in american history seen it can be grossly abused. i have more. >> if you had more time, i'm sure you would use it. we now go to the gentleman from pennsylvania.
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> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i have consistently listened to the representations of my colleagues on the other side invoking mccarthy. i want to be clear. mccarthy was acting in a manner in which he was challenging the beliefs of other people. here, we are not challenging the belief s of other people. we are challenging the actions, the alleged actions of lois lerner in which she used the forces of her governmental agency to impact the civil rights and beliefs of american citizens and that is a distinction. the issue here is really quite simple. apart from all the politics. we are making fundamental legal analysis. the question isn't whether it has been invoked many times whether she is being denied her right to the fifth amendment. the question is whether she
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waived that right. i submit, the answer is unambiguous. this is not an unsophisticated woman. she testified she herself is an attorney who came before this committee with very learned counsel. she chose to make an opening statement which among other things, she proclaims she had done nothing wrong. she had broken no laws. not violated any i.r.s. rules or regulations. not provided false testimony or information before any other congressional committee. she waived her fifth amendment privilege by providing voluntary opening statements in which she testified to matters before this committee. it is that simple. and that is the question we are asking. she submitted to a lengthy interview at the department of justice without immunity.
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but will not testify before this committee because as my colleague, mr. meadows pointed out, her attorney asserts she is fearful of being vilified. that is not a standard which allows one to refuse to come before this committee. third, there is a line of questions being raised by my learned friends on the other side who are suggesting the quinn case stands somehow for the principle that she has been denied a right before this committee. the simple principle of the quinn case is clear. it relates to whether a witness has been clearly apprised that this committee was demanding answers, not withstanding the witness' objections. whether she these determine and make a choice about what the committee is requesting of her. that is the quinn case and the trilogy that follow it.
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but in this case, there is no ambiguity. lerner wasn't forced to guess what the committee's ruling was. she was left to -- left us to guess at nothing. her own attorney acknowledged that she understood the committee voted that she had waived her rights. the quinn case is entirely unrelated to this issue. therefore, simple conclusions can be drawn. there is no constitutional impediment to this committee resolution this recommends the full house hold ms. lerner in contempt. i conclude by stating the simple facts before us. mrs. lerner refused to comply with a congressional ubpoena. second, her testimony is vital to this committee's investigation into this very legitimate matter.
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third, she offered a voluntary statement in appearances before this committee. fourth, this committee determined that she waived her fifth amendment privilege. fifth, ms. lerner was clearly informed of this decision and still ms. lerner continues to refuse to testify before this committee. i submit to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. all constitutional impediments have been removed. it is a clear, simple question before us. the committee should recommend to the house that ms. lerner should be held in contempt for failure to comply ith subpoenas issued to her. i recommend that my colleagues on both sides of the committee will vote accordingly. >> i thank the gentleman. we go to the gentlelady from new mexico. >> thank you, mr. chairman and
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i'm going to yield my time to the ranking member. >> i want to thank young lady for yielding. mr. chairman, i would like to put into the record two letters. over the last week, i received two letters from the chairman making allegations against me that were unsubstantiated. the first sent last friday, i insisting on as immunity for ms. lerner when in fact i was trying to obtain a proffer. and that i conspired with the i.r.s. and the documents showed that we were requesting public information. i ask unanimous consent to place into the record my true responses of those letters regarding to the vote and the one i sent this morning. >> without objection both the letters to you and both the letters from you will be placed in the record. >> i yield to the gentleman. >> thank you.
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>> the gentlelady yield to the gentleman from nevada? >> mr. chairman, i do. thank you. >> gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i oppose this resolution by chairman issa. you know what? i have tried to listen every day. we have had a hearing on this to my colleague the other side. i have listened to the witnesses who came forward to offer testimony with an empathetic ear because they feel that they were affected by the targeting of the i.r.s., but my colleagues on the other side, i think you may have misplaced the blame here. the only reason we haven't been able to get the truth from lois lerner is because of one person. and that is our chairman. the chairman has refused for ore than nine months to hold
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any hearings with any legal experts to discuss these issues. demonstrating that he simply does not want to hear from anyone who disagrees with his position. the chairman has refused to hear from any democratic members of this committee and even cut off the mic of the ranking member and abruptly ended the hearing. the chairman refused to let ms. lerner's attorney speak as a proffer for her. the chairman failed to grant seven additional days to her attorney, which he requested to prepare his client. nstead the chairman scuttled that offer from ms. lerner and now we're dealing with the situation where she invoked her fifth amendment. like many of you, i want to hear from lois lerner. i want to get the facts. but because of the manner in which the investigation has been handled by our chairman, we
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can't get those facts. so if my colleagues want to hold someone in contempt, maybe they should look to the person holding the gavel. since it is poor handling of this investigation that has resulted in why we can't get the truth that the people deserve. this resolution does nothing to get the truth for those who feel that they were targeted or the public who deserves an oversight committee to act in a fair and impartial and professional manner. unfortunately this has not been the case since day one of this investigation and i regrets it -- regret it because the american people deserve better. the committee has interviewed 39 witnesses, reviewed more than 50,000 pages of documents and the i.r.s. has spent at least $14 million so far and there is absolutely zero evidence to support the chairman's
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accusations that ms. lerner orchestrated any i.r.s. targeting and some of the questions that my colleagues and i would like her to answer can't be answered because of the manner in which the chairman ran his investigation. i don't like the fact that ms. lerner invoked her fifth amendment rights. but we as a committee must respect the constitutional rights of all citizens, including those of ms. lerner. so i would hope that my colleagues would understand that there are those of us who want to get to the truth. we just expect the leadership of this committee, the chairman, to allow us to do that in a, fair, impartial, professional
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manner and that didn't happen in this case. >> we now go to the gentleman from tennessee. before you begin, there are 8:55 left on the vote. i will intend to do one more if there is anyone on the minority side before recessing. we will come back immediately following the second vote. gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. folks, this investigation is about much more than punishing those who have done wrong at the i.r.s. and frankly, it is much more about scrutiny that those conservative groups received from a government agency. this investigation is about preserving our democracy. the integrity of our democratic election system and the first amendment of the united states onstitution. imagine just for a moment that a president and an administration in this nation that utilizes systematic power through an agency or department to suppress its political opposition.
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imagine that such actions altered an election. such an occurrence should be extremely unsettling no matter what party is in power. e problem is without ms. lerner's testimony, this committee and this investigation cannot uncover the whole truth which at this point resembles these aforementioned acts. the focal point of this investigation is to prohibit, given the appearance to have i.r.s. political suppression from ever occurring again. just for a moment, i would like to reread the mission statement that chairman issa does at the beginning of every hearing. because i believe it is vitaly important as to how we conduct our business. we exist to secure to fundamental principles. first americans have to right to know that the money washington takes from them is well spent and second, americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them. our duty on the oversight government reform committee is to protect these rights.
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our solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to taxpayers because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their government. we will work tirelessly to deliver the facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. without lois lerner's testimony, this committee and this investigation are at a standstill. the american people are unable to ascertain their right to know what they have gotten from their government. many questions still remain. ms. lerner claims she has done no wrong and she claims if she testifies she will not incriminate herself. here is the question weather -- whether she waived her fifth amendment rights when she first
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appeared before the committee. i believe, like my colleague, mr. duncan can, her action is set. if every dependent claimed innocence and then proceeded to plead the fifth, investigations and testimony would never be able to proceed. every defendant would follow such action and our judicial process would come to a standstill. i hope that this committee and every single member will do everything in its power to seek the truth. ms. lerner's testimony is essential to this end and believable the this committee has given her and her counsel ample opportunity to come forward and avoid contempt charges. yet, she still refuses to do so. if not, we have no choice but to hold her in contempt so this investigation can give american people what they want, the truth, and for the sake of this republic, i hope we give them just that. yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. since we have no further individuals asking for recognition at this time, but i understand there will be some
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returning, ms. lummis, do you wish to be heard at this time? >> i wish to be awarded my time and choose to yield it to another member. >> so then we will recess until approximately five minutes after the second vote. not after it ends. after it begins. e stand in recess. >> the committee will come to order. >> the chair now recognizes the entleman from vermont. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from vermont. is it a different state? does the gentleman seek
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recognition? >> i don't, but i'll take it. >> it is always good to be here. >> if you want to move the previous question. you're welcome. would the gentleman like to reserve? >> i will yield. >> the gentleman yields to a ranking member. >> thank you. i appreciate the effort, mr. hairman. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. you know, we have heard a lot of iscussion today. about -- ms. lerner and i was listening to mr. duncan, who i have a tremendous amount of respect for. and as he talked about the whole idea of someone coming in and making a statement and then
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asserting their rights under the fifth amendment. and you know, i don't think the founding fathers were about the business of a gotcha type of situation. rights are very special things. they are, as the chairman said when he began this hearing, i have a respect for him saying it. that this situation should not be taken lightly. and i think that, you know, every time i sit in hearings like this, i have to try and make sure that i get past the olitics and try to figure out, number one, what is right and i also think about how we will be viewed. >> there has been a lot of
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discussion about all of the wrong that ms. lerner did. the alleged wrong. i want to be clear. i would love to hear her testimony. i would love to hear even some of the answers to the things that my good friend mr. gowdy presented. because they are legitimate questions. they are questions that will allow this committee to do its work most effectively. and, i think we all deserve to hear those answers. but there comes a point in time when certain things prompt other hings. n this instance, the idea that there are rights that one has, i
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-- can assert, not to incriminate herself, i think we have to deal with that first. s i said in my opening statement, it is not about what is bigger than us. it is bigger than this moment. it is bigger than ms. lerner. it is about generations yet nborn. i think somebody, i think it was asked a ly who question. people laughed. it was a serious question. people come before this committee in the future, will we have to read them their rights? will we have to give them a miranda warning? will we have to tell them that any syllable that is said may be used against them?
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i think we really have to be careful in the precedent we are setting. there will be disagreements with regard to the law. i have been practicing over 20 years. i had disagreements with lawyers. i remember in law school we would argue cases in the court read one person will look at the same facts and have one opinion and another would look at them and have another. no matter how you look at the facts, the things that must prevail are the rights of the american people. that is what this is about. the rights. as mr. duncan spoke, i thought of the criminals i have come across. rough people. they still have rights. they will still americans. that is the wonderful thing about this country.
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i will close with this and remind all of us that this is our watch. we're on the earth today and i think it is so important that we pass on a democracy to our children and our children's children. that is just as strong as the one that existed the day we were born. with that, i yield back. >> i think the gentleman. we go to the gentleman from south carolina. mr. gowdy? >> thank you. when mr. cummings talks about rights, i listen. he was a very good attorney. i will listen because i'm familiar with his personal narrative. hile he was talking, i scribbled down you have a right to confront your witness. that is the same document. you have a right to cross-examine witnesses. i think it is important for us to spend a minute on why our framers thought it was so important you be able to
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confront and cross-examine witnesses. it is the single best way to elicit the truth. you have a right to remain silent. you have a right to a jury trial. it is waived every day across this country. when you plead guilty, that is your waiver of your right to a jury trial. you have a right to counsel in felony cases. people waive it all the time and representingtake of themselves. when we talk about rights, let's talk about all the rights, including the right to confront witnesses and cross-examine witnesses. it is important industry and why we were given those rights. ms. lerner is an attorney. she is not like the folks mr. cummings represented, or the folks i have prosecuted. he is an attorney. she had an attorney sitting behind her. some of my colleagues on the
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other side, they say we need another hearing where we can bring in experts. let me take out all of the drama from what that hearing would be like. we would pick three that said she waived, they would pick one that said she didn't. i hate to do a spoiler, but that is how that hearing would go. we would find three that said she waived and you would find one that said she didn't. we would be back where we are now. with us having to make the decision. or we can go to the language of the supreme court. which is the ultimate expert, i would argue. it is well-established a witness in a single proceeding may not testify on terror really about a subject and then invoke the privilege against self-incrimination when questioned about details. the supreme court continued in such a case. the privilege is waived to -- for matters in which the witness testifies and the scope
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-- the scope of .he cross what that says is you do have a right to remain silent. when you talk, not a resentation of words which you should have done. but when you wave by testifying, you subject yourself to cross examination. that is true for every client mr. cummings had. it is true for every sexual assault victim that i had to call as a witness. they couldn't give their version of what happened and then not stand for cross-examination. that is not the way the system is set up. it is not set up that way because the purpose is to elicit the truth. mr. chairman, i'm going to simply ask this. this is what she said when she came before our committee.
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17 separate factual assertions. if this is not testimony, can someone on the other side please tell me what is? does it have to be 20 factual assertions? 25? what constitutes testimony to you? if what she said, and the pervasiveness of fish testimony, 17 separate assertions, if that is not testimony, tell me what s. if that is not waiver, then tell me what is. mr. chairman, there've been a lot of conversations about rights. most the conversations have been about ms. lerner's rights, but that same document gives you the right to free speech, and the right to petition your government for redress. while ms. lerner may have waived her right, our fellow citizens did not.
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the only way we're going to find out what happened is if she answers our questions. not just that i did nothing wrong, but answer the question that all of you agree are egitimate questions. if this is not waiver, tell me what is, and if that wasn't testimony, please explain to me what would constitute it in your ind. >> the gentleman yields back. who seeks recognition? >> the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you very much, plch. i just want to remind the viewers of this committee, and the members of this committee, of a few occurrences that occurred in and around this issue we are covering today. chairman issa would not and did ot accept a one-week extension
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request from american citizen lerner. also, chairman issa chose to go on national television and began to misrepresent facts about what occurred in the irs. one thing i do agree on, 298 applications were not handled roperly. overly scrutinized. but yet, 96 of those applications were considered applications ilk or e of a tea party to the right, or what have you. yet, chairman issa chose to hold a hearing that only wanted to look at or consider those applications that were either mishandled or overanalyzed, or delayed beyond reason.
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he only wanted to have hearings about one out of three applications. 6 applications out of 298. with that in mind, ladies and gentlemen, american citizen lerner had much reason to be concerned that coming to this hearing, this committee of the united states congress was not a hearing that was going to be fair, or a hearing interested n the truth. but a hearing that was interested in playing up politics on national television and in this formal committee. lois lerner is an american who is being treated in a way that no american should ever be treated by any authority. much less the united states ongress. i just wanted to say for the record i am proud to be a united states congressman, elected by the people of my district, and to do the business of moving
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this country forward. i believe this committee, on this day, is going in the wrong direction. this is a sad day. for the united states congress and it is a sad day for the united states of america when an american citizens rights are being trampled. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. >> we go to the gentleman from washington. mr. hastings. before you begin, upon completion of those who feel they must speak on this, we're going to encourage a previous question. i've been informed there will be a unanimous consent. do not feel you have a need to speak more unless you have something you believe you want to say. everyone will be given that opportunity. >> thank you. let me broaden this argument. our country was founded on the principle that citizens would not be persecuted by the government for their beliefs or olitical affiliations.
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that is why when concerns were raised in early 2012 the i.r.s. was targeting conservative groups applying for tax exempt status, several members of the house of representatives asked questions and investigated those allegations. unfortunately when lois lerner testified before this committee, she refused to answer questions that would give us, members of congress, the necessary information to evaluate the degree of wroingdoing at the i.r.s. mr. chairman, congress has a lear duty. congress is exercising oversight authority as the earliest days of our nation dating back to as early as 1792. a committee was established to examine the arm's defeat at the attle of wabash. robust congressional oversight
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has exposed waste in government and abuses in power by administration officials and presidents. it is it is through congress asking tough questions that allow americans to hold their government and elected officials accountable. i am disappointed this administration appear so willing to jeopardize the public's trust in their government that they have want been more forthcome with information related to this investigation and others. as chairman of the committee of natural resources i have overseen numerous investigations into this administration. i can tell you firsthand that it has failed to live up to its promise of being the most open and transparent administration in history. in the course of our ministration, the ministration low swalked numerous requests. when documents are provided, they are often copies of what re


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