Lois Lerner demands secrecy in tea party targeting lawsuit testimony
The IRS manager most directly responsible for the targeting of tea party groups has demanded that her deposition for an upcoiming class action lawsuit related to the scandal be kept secret.
Lois Lerner, former head of the tax exempt department at the IRS, claims that she has received death threats in the past and fears that publicity surrounding her deposition will lead to similar threats.
Mr. Lerner and Holly Paz, another figure from the IRS tea party targeting, told the judge they’ve already faced “harassment and death threats” before, and said they fear another media firestorm if their version of events from the tea party targeting were to become public.
The two women said they are willing to testify, but said they could be putting “their lives in serious jeopardy.”
“Mss. Lerner and Paz have demonstrated that the public dissemination of their deposition testimony would expose them and their families to harassment and a credible risk of violence and physical harm,” they said in documents submitted by their lawyer to Judge Michael R. Barrett.
The two women submitted secret evidence to the judge that they said backed up the death threat claim. They said the threats they’ve already gotten contained “graphic, profane and disturbing language” that they said has caused them embarrassment.
The groups suing the IRS in the class action lawsuit have objected to the secrecy order, leaving the matter to Judge Barrett to decide.
The women want that past deposition and their future testimony to remain hidden from the public and only available to the lawyers involved in the case. They asked that the seal be permanent.
Ms. Lerner has refused to talk in public about her role in the targeting, famously engaging in a showdown with the House Oversight Committee after she appeared, delivered a statement of innocence and then balked at answering any questions.
The House eventually voted to hold her in contempt, but an Obama administration prosecutor — acting just hours before his resignation became effective — announced the Justice Department wouldn’t pursue the case.
In other words, she realized the scandal was about to become public and tried to minimize the damage and her role in it.
House Republicans sent a letter earlier this week to the Justice Department asking that Lerner be investigated for her role in the targeting. She was perfectly willing to answer questions from Eric Holder's DoJ but somehow, the cat got her tongue when she appeared before the House oversight committee and pled the 5th.
There can be no greater transgression against individual liberty and our political system than a president who uses the IRS for partisan political purposes. The people have a right to an explanation for the targeting. The judge should totally reject Lerner's request and immediately release any previous testimony she has made.