House Republicans Vote to Hold Lerner In Contempt; Eric Holder’s Thoughts Are Elsewhere

Yesterday Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee referred Lois Lerner to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Today, the House Oversight Committee voted 21-12 to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. It was a straight party line vote, indicating that Democrats have no problem with the Obama administration’s corruption of the IRS to serve its political purposes.

Presumably the full House will next vote to hold Lerner in contempt. This will be the 12th time in the last 35 years that such action has been taken, according to Politico. So this is a relatively well-trodden path; nevertheless, I don’t know what comes next.

If it depends on Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, the answer is: nothing. It is blindingly obvious that Lerner and others at the IRS committed crimes, but the Wall Street Journal says that “Justice [is] leaning toward closing the investigation having found no smoking gun.” It is depressing to contemplate what it would take for Mr. Magoo Holder to notice a smoking gun, if the consequences would be adverse to the Obama administration. Apparently Ms. Lerner’s taking the Fifth didn’t arouse his suspicions.

Democrats on the Oversight Committee feigned outrage at today’s vote to hold Lerner in contempt. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said that today’s action was reminiscent of Joe McCarthy:

“I’m not defending the action (of) Lois Lerner but rather the protections guaranteed by the Constitution to every American,” said top panel Democrat Elijah Cummings. “I cannot cast a vote that will place me on the same page of history books with McCarthy.”

Sure, that’s Elijah Cummings, constitutional scholar. Actually, it is Elijah Cummings, possible co-conspirator. Scott wrote this morning about the release of emails showing that Cummings’ Democrat staff had contacts with Lerner and others at the IRS about True the Vote, an anti-voter fraud organization that the Democrats naturally wanted to drive out of business. The emails produced so far are too fragmentary to be conclusive, but they unequivocally show the potentially illicit communications about True the Vote, and they suggest an answer to the question: why were the requests made of True the Vote by Cummings and by the IRS so similar? And what information did the IRS send to Cummings’ staff in response to their inquiries? We don’t know. This is one of many reasons why Lerner’s testimony is so vital to the investigation.

Actually, my favorite Democrat response to today’s House action came not from Cummings but from Carolyn McCarthy:

“Ms. Lerner has invoked her Fifth Amendment right, and that’s it. The end!” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

Translation: She’s a Democrat, damn it! She is entitled to get away with a cover-up! We all do!

How matters proceed from here depends in part on Attorney General Eric Holder, which means that prospects are not promising. Holder is both the most partisan Attorney General in history, and the most self-pitying–an odd combination. Yesterday he appeared before an Al Sharpton gathering to complain about his treatment by the House of Representatives. ABC tells us that Holder is “fed up.”

During a speech to the National Action Network in New York on Wednesday….

ABC doesn’t mention that the National Action Network is Al Sharpton.

…lauding the organization’s effort to advance racial equality, a heated Holder went a little off-script.

The idea that Sharpton has ever done anything to promote racial equality is laughable.

“Forget about me [specifically]. Look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee,” Holder told the crowd. “What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

Umm…how about Alberto Gonzales, who was accused of perjury by Senate Democrats?

“What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

You might think Holder is kidding, but no: he apparently has forgotten the George W. Bush administration.

Needless to say, Holder’s whining about being asked questions by Congressmen–how dare they!–doesn’t bode well for those who might be counting on him to conduct an honest IRS investigation. But there is more to the Holder scandal than that. Holder may be the ultimate talentless political hack of his generation–remember the Marc Rich pardon?–but the whole truth is much worse. Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of a little history:

[W]asn’t Holder making his allegations of unprofessionalism while speaking before the demagogic Mr. Sharpton’s group? This is the same Al Sharpton who is on record inflaming the Crown Heights riots, provoking violence at the fatal Freddie Fashion Mart riot, helping to invent the Tawana Brawley caper, defaming and attempting to destroy the career of Duchess County prosecutor Steven Pagones, and with a long history of racist outbursts and threats (“white interloper,” “white folks was in caves . . .”, “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house”), homophobic outbursts (“We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it”), and religious bigotry (“As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don’t worry about that; that’s a temporary situation”).

That Holder made these allegations at Sharpton’s invitation and at a time when Sharpton is back in the news as a former FBI informant offering information about Mafia criminals, and whose relationship with both the Mafia and the FBI is still unclear, is, well, again divisive and, to quote Holder yet again, ugly.

Barack Obama’s administration has been the most divisive and the most politically cynical in modern American history, and Eric Holder, having thoroughly politicized the Department of Justice, has been a key participant. The idea that the House of Representatives is forced to importune Holder to take some action with regard to Lois Lerner, who obviously was doing the bidding of Obama and Holder in trying to suppress conservative organizations so as to advance the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects, shows how far the Obama administration has wandered from the republic that was envisioned by the Founders.