Last week, appearing before the House Oversight Committee, Lois Lerner told the elected officials that she had done nothing wrong.
I believe her.
Let me rephrase that. I believe that she believes she's done nothing wrong.
Because, it turns out, what she was doing from 2010 through sometime in 2012 and possibly continuing even today if some of the reporting is to be believed (and at this point, who wouldn't believe it?), is the same thing she's been doing for decades.
Back in the '90s, Lerner was employed at the FEC and was investigating Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition. Here's a transcript of a deposition where Lerner questioned Lt. Col. Oliver North.
Q: (reading from a letter from Oliver North to Pat Robertson) “‘Betsy and I thank you for your kind regards and prayers.’ The next paragraph is, ‘Please give our love to Dede and I hope to see you in the near future.’ Who is Dede?”
A: “That is Mrs. Robertson.”
Q: “What did you mean in paragraph 2, about thanking -you and your wife thanking Pat Robertson for kind regards?”
A: “Last time I checked in America, prayers were still legal. I am sure that Pat had said he was praying for my family and me in some correspondence or phone call.”
Q: “Would that be something that Pat Robertson was doing for you?”
A: “I hope a lot of people were praying for me, Holly.”
Q: “But you knew that Pat Robertson was?”
A: “Well, apparently at that time I was reﬂecting something that Pat had either, as I said, had told me or conveyed to me in some fashion, and it is my habit to thank people for things like that.”
Q: “During the time that you knew Pat Robertson, was it your impression that he had – he was praying for you?”
O: “I object. There is no allegation that praying creates a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act and there is no such allegation in the complaint. This is completely irrelevant and intrusive on the religious beliefs of this witness.”
O: “It is a very strange line of questioning. You have got to be kidding, really. What are you thinking of, to ask questions like that? I mean, really. I have been to some strange depositions, but I don’t think I have ever had anybody inquire into somebody’s prayers. I think that is really just outrageous. And if you want to ask some questions regarding political activities, please do and then we can get over this very quickly. But if you want to ask about somebody’s religious activities, that is outrageous.”
Q: “I am allowed to make-’’
O: “We are allowed not to answer and if you think the Commission is going to permit you to go forward with a question about somebody’s prayers, I just don’t believe that. I just don’t for a moment believe that. I ﬁnd that the most outrageous line of questioning. I am going to instruct my witness not to answer.”
Q: “On what grounds?”
O: “We are not going to let you inquire about people’s religious beliefs or activities, period. If you want to ask about someone’s prayers-Jeez, I don’t know what we are thinking of. But the answer is, no, people are not going to respond to questions about people’s prayers, no.”
Q: “Will you take that, at the first break, take it up- we will do whatever we have to do.”
O: “You do whatever you think you have to do to get them to answer questions about what people are praying about.”
Q: “I did not ask Mr. North what people were praying about I am allowed to inquire about the relationship between-’’
O: “Absolutely, but you have asked the question repeatedly. If you move on to a question other than about prayer, be my guest.”
Q: “I have been asking you a series of questions about your relationship with Pat Robertson, the Christian Coalition. . . . It is relevant to this inquiry what relationship you had with Pat Robertson and I have asked you whether Pat Robertson had indicated to you that he was praying for you.”
O: “If that is a question, I will further object. It is an intrusion upon the religious beliefs and activities of Dr. Robertson. And how that could – how the Federal Government can be asking about an individual’s personal religious practices in the context of an alleged investigation under the Federal Election Campaign Act, I am just at a complete loss to see the
relevance or potential relevance, and I consider that to be also intrusive.”
Q: “Was Pat Robertson praying for you in 1991?”
O: “Same objection.”
A: “I hope so. I hope he still is.”
Today, another of Lerner's past targets came forward with a similarly disturbing story of the way Lerner comported herself as an FEC lawyer.
In 1996 Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the harassment of Tea Party groups seeking tax exempt status, was head of the enforcement division of the Federal Elections Commission(FEC). That year Al Salvi was the Republican nominee for the US Senate from Illinois, his Democrat opponent was then congressman Dick Durbin.
During the final weeks of the campaign Salvi loaned himself over a million dollars to buy ads in the Chicago media market. This in turn prompted the Democrat party’s campaign arms to file complaints with the FEC and in kind the FEC, specifically Lois Lerner, filed charges against Al Salvi.
That is when Mr. Salvi contends Lois Lerner made him the following offer, “Promise me you will never run for office again, and we’ll drop this case.”
Al Salvi refused that offer and would fight the FEC complaint against him for several more years before a Judge tossed out the complaint.
Lois Lerner has been getting away with questionable behavior for the better part of 20 years. Why wouldn't she believe that she'd done nothing wrong?