Contempt of Congress by Any Other Name

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By: Frank Salvato

Initially I was going to start with the line, “It is stunning to think,” but then I remembered I was opining about the Obama Administration, of which I have come to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to nefarious doings meant to advance his agenda. To be certain, all of the actions (and inactions) taken (and not taken) by this administration – without exception – have been executed to advance his ideological agenda, chief among them the handling of the IRS’s targeting of the administration’s political adversaries.

TheHill.com reports that Ronald Machen, the US attorney for the District of Columbia –an Obama appointee – has not acted on a Contempt of Congress charge for former IRS official Lois Lerner even though the contempt citation has been in his hands since May of 2014. Manchen is set to step down next month.

Search the mainstream media headlines and you find this item far down the list if, in fact, you find it at all. Yet the issue is no less important than that of the Constitution’s First Amendment guaranteed rights themselves; to both “peaceably assemble” and to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

There is now no defense, nor believable denial in ignorance, for the illegal actions taken by the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service under Lois Lerner. The facts present as undeniable. Under her direction, applications for organizations with political ideologies antithetical to those of the Obama Administration were treated as politically adversarial, receiving excessive scrutiny and myriad unreasonable demands for discovery; treatment not experienced by organizations whose ideologies were symbiotic with the administration’s. Succinctly, Ms. Lerner executed a political attack on a large faction of the American people for their support of a political ideology anathema to that of the President’s.

Ironically, Ms. Lerner’s claim to have learned of the illegal targeting through the news media failed to afford her the popular cover that has served President Obama well through several sensitive issues; cover that is now beginning to expose the disingenuousness of the claim, much to his chagrin. Ms. Lerner’s refusal to cooperate with the House Oversight Committee in its examination of these events – including her intentional denial of the existence of emails pertaining to her actions – rightfully garnered a Contempt of Congress charge.

But what is the worth of a Contempt of Congress charge if the authority tasked with bringing the weight of that charge to bear abdicates the responsibility of doing so? What punishment is there for transgression in a simple designation?

Citizens in the United States have been guaranteed the right to redress government; to be openly critical of the government’s policies and actions. Further, these defined rights allow them to openly oppose any and all elected officials, regardless of station, in an effort to affect change in political offices under which the people are represented.

So, too, are citizens guaranteed the right to peaceably assemble for political purposes; to create groups and organizations – especially under the banner of educating the public – that enjoy all the rights and privileges afforded under the law, including tax-exempt status, should the qualifying criteria exist.

Ms. Lerner’s action usurped these guaranteed rights, and her refusal to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee not only aggravated that usurpation, but proved – beyond reasonable doubt – that she holds the value of her politics above the rights of the People, and above the guaranteed Rights in our Constitution. Yet, when tasked with executing a Grand Jury referral mandated by a Contempt of Congress charge, Mr. Machen saw fit to prioritize the routine prosecution of dozens of district court financial fraud and local public corruption cases, as if to intentionally ignore the contempt citation. This leads to this question. If the police officer is corrupt – or intentionally abdicates his sworn duty, who do the innocent turn to for justice?

Article II, Section 1, of the House Judiciary Committee’s Articles of Impeachment against Pres. Richard M. Nixon (R) states:

“He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to…cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”

If the use of the IRS to target political enemies was enough to bring about impeachment charges that would eventually see the first resignation of a sitting President, how does the exact same criminal act not warrant – at the very least – a referral to a Grand Jury for examination?

The Obama Administration claims the mantle of the most transparent in the history of the United States. In the non-execution of the Contempt of Congress charge against Lois Lerner they are transparent in their tyranny against the American people. Case closed…with prejudice.

Frank Salvato is the Executive Director of BasicsProject.org a grassroots, non-partisan, research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy, and internal and external threats facing Western Civilization. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His opinion and analysis have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, The Jewish World Review, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, Townhall.com and are syndicated nationally. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is the author of six books examining Islamofascism and Progressivism, including “Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam”. Mr. Salvato’s personal writing can be found at FrankJSalvato.com.

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