What happens to bureaucrats? What takes them over like body snatchers and leads them to check their common sense, sense of duty, and patriotism at the door?
When the IRS scandal first broke, and few details were known, this page gave the agency all the benefit of the doubt. Much more so than an auditor might give you.
“To her great credit,” we wrote May 13, “Lois Lerner, chief of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, has acknowledged and even apologized for the offenses, which she said were carried out by low-level employees in Cincinnati. ...
“We appreciate her uncommon candor. And we certainly understand that, in a huge bureaucracy, there may be some rogue actors who act arbitrarily and contrary to rules and laws.”
As it turns out, we gave her far too much credit.
First off, we now know she knew about her agency’s atrocity for quite some time. We also now know she made the startling admission in a self-serving effort to get out in front of an Inspector General’s report she knew was going to reveal the scandal the following week. She was even more disingenuous than that: Her revelation was made in answer to an audience question that the IRS itself had planted.
Talk about conniving and manipulative!
And then on Wednesday, armed with her intimate knowledge and given the opportunity to shed light on perhaps the most ignoble and un-American scandal in memory, she pleads the fifth.
You think you could get away with that yourself when the IRS comes calling?
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was forced to respect her decision.
The rest of us are not.
For our part, we find her acts to be some of the most craven, despicable and egocentric in the checkered ranks of government bureaucrat history.
She’s a coward, and who knows what else. How dare she. She has thrown this country under the bus to protect herself – and perhaps those for whom she works.
As one congressman noted after her hasty exit from the committee hearing, she did a pretty good job invoking her own rights while the rest of ours were put into the shredder right under her nose.
Quite a patriot, she!
You know, in the movies it doesn’t happen this way. In Hollywood fantasies, the government insider who is privy to wrongdoing among her colleagues is brought before Congress or the courts and courageously tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And she does so at great peril, knowing her career may be over and that the stinging retribution of the powerful may be at hand. She ends up being a hero – someone who does the right thing and acts for the greater good at severe risk to self.
This is not Lois Lerner. And, sadly enough, this is not the typical bureaucrat of 21st century America. Exactly the opposite. These folks gladly take our money and invoke their right to save their own rear ends, and we’re supposed to respect it?
No, thanks. Words cannot express our contempt for what this woman has done, and any other taxpayer-supported sniveling poltroons who silently go along with blatant corruption in order to save their own hides. They are selling us down the river, and selling their own souls at a steep discount.
They have the legal right to be protected against self-incrimination.
Self-immolation is their own doing.