Former IRS bosses Lois Lerner and Holly Paz want to forbid public access to their testimony in the IRS conservative group targeting case.
With Lerner as boss, during a three-year period from 2009 to 2012 only one conservative organization was able to obtain tax-exempt status. In 2010, the agency created a “Be on the Lookout List,” which advised agents to flag applications that referenced “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9/12 Project.” A report by the Senate Finance Committee on the scandal noted, “We found evidence that Lerner’s personal political views directly resulted in disparate treatment for applicants affiliated with Tea Party and other conservative causes.”
Now, Lerner and Paz are petitioning the court to keep their testimony secret from the public.
As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Lois Lerner and Holly Paz both have argued in recent court filings that the threat to their lives outweighs the public’s right to hear their testimony about how IRS employees in Cincinnati and Washington D.C. handled applications for tax-exempt status from tea party groups.
These claims by Lerner and her associates echo previous attempts on the part of the IRS to hide their involvement in the scandal. Previously, the IRS refused to release thousands of emails from Lerner’s server, used an instant messaging service to hide internal communications, and failed to search 5 of 6 possible sources of Lerner emails.
Conservatives will scarcely be surprised that, once again, Lerner is trying to keep her abuse of power quiet.
The public has a right to see the Lerner testimony. As noted by the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Edward Greim, an attorney for the tea party groups, said he’s not permitted to discuss the brief he filed under seal, but said the allegations against the IRS are serious and the public has a right to know what happened. The tea party groups expect Lerner and Paz to shed light on the issue when they testify in sworn depositions.
“Generally, our position is that this is a matter of great public interest and there is no legal basis for sealing the depositions or the arguments about whether the depositions should be sealed,” Greim said.
“Lois Lerner politicized her role as head of the IRS,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Now she wants to keep it a secret as the facts come out. Her cover-up should have been stopped before 2012. Much to do and the world should see it.”
Photo Credit: US House of Representatives Committee of Oversight & Government Reform