Rep. Gerry Connolly Doesn’t Want to Touch IRS, FBI, ATF Abuses But Defends Lois Lerner

Leave it to haranguing Democrat Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA) to rush to the aid of Lois Lerner during the time that witnesses have to present to Congress, the

Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner

abuses of the IRS against them and their businesses. The video is not complete, but from prior statements by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), he feels Lois Lerner forfeited her right to her Fifth Amendment right by coming before Congress in sworn testimony and making a statement declaring herself to be innocent, and then, invoking the Fifth Amendment. I believe Gowdy and others have indicated there is to be no testimony when invoking the Fifth. Connolly spoke of the “enshrined” “sacred” principle of the Fifth Amendment available to us because of “the experience of the Founders with the British.” That’s a hoot! Nevermind that Lois Lerner was a high-level official of the IRS, and swore as follows:

“I _______ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” This section does not affect other oaths required by law. 5 U.S. Code § 3331

Only the Almighty knows the extent of Lois Lerner’s wrath against conservatives, but beyond that, she has the right to plead the Fifth, but maybe she does not have the right to make a statement of innocence and then plead the Fifth, so Connolly should stow it until he can meet and resolve the accusations others have made to the contrary. Nothing about the IRS targeting is “sacred” to Lois Lerner other than the amusing shutting-out and shutting-down of the public conversation of conservatives. Notice also that when Connolly eventually gets to it, he is concerned only with the OSHA visits to Catherine Engelbrecht. He doesn’t want to go near the FBI visits, the ATF visits and the “many” IRS audits.

But before Connolly speaks about Lerner, the video opens with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) stating that 13 people are assigned to the IRS targeting case, and none have yet interviewed the witnesses in the House that day.

The crux of the abuse comes out when Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) questions Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote and King Street Patriots. The short story is that since filing for 501(c)(3) status for her non-profits, in a two or three-year period she had “many” IRS audits, 6 visits from the FBI, an OSHA fine of $20,000, and multiple audits by the ATF.

Attorneys Jay Sekulow and Cleta Mitchell were also at the hearing, but their testimonies are not in this video. You can find Cleta Mitchell’s testimony here.

Begin transcript:

GOWDY: Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, I believe the ranking subcommittee member

Trey Gowdy

Trey Gowdy

said that there are 13 people assigned to this investigation, I heard correctly. Thirteen people in six months have not had time to interview a single, solitary one of Mr. Sekulow’s clients. Thirteen people in six months, have not had time to interview either of these two witnesses, and yet the Chief Executive, the President of the United States has already pre-judged the outcome of this investigation, so either it’s ongoing or it’s not. Either he’s wrong or Eric Holder is wrong. In either case, it is time for Special Counsel, Mr. Chairman.

CONNOLLY: Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you for this intriguing hearing. I

Gerry Connolly

Gerry Connolly

will say at the outset, my friend from South Carolina, of whom I have great regard — we don’t agree on much, but we have mutual respect — but I will say, it ought to trouble a TEA Party panel and a lawyer who represented the ACLU, that this committee took upon itself a unique task in voting that a U.S. citizen, irrespective of her views, or what you think she did or did not say, to protect herself from self-incrimination, a very sacred principle enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, and it was enshrined in there because of the experience of our Founders with the British. It’s a very real right. This committee took upon itself, every member on that side, including my friend from South Carolina, voted unilaterally, to decide she dispensed with, waived her Fifth Amendment right. And if we can do that with her, we can do it with you. Everyone of us, on this side of the aisle, voted not to do that, because irrespective what one may decide on the substance of Ms. Lois Lerner’s behavior, testimony whatever, we think American citizens are entitled to constitutional protections and that the Congress, a committee of Congress does not have the unilateral ability to decide on it’s own, that you waive that right, and listening to the testimony and the concerns here about a government that’s overreaching, I would think you might be concerned about this committee overreaching, but it wasn’t this side, Ms. Mitchell, that did it….

Ms Engelbrecht, your written testimony states you believe various run-ins with the government were prompted by your applications for your tax exempt status with the IRS. Is that correct?

ENGELBRECHT: Yes sir.

CONNOLLY: One of the federal agents you mentioned is with OSHA, the Occupational, Safety, Health Administration. You complained specifically that in 2012 OSHA inspected your company, Englebrecht Manufacturing, which manufactures fabricated metal products and you state that OSHA, and I quote “nothing serious or significant and nonetheless, OSHA issued fines in excess of $20,000.” Is that correct?

ENGELBRECHT: Yes sir.

CONNOLLY: OSHA’s inspection report shows that it identified ten violations at your manufacturing company, all of which it classified as “serious.” These violations included the “failure to provide employees with appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards, flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids, caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors or potentially injurious light radiation.” And Mr. Chairman, I would ask that the inspection report go into the record, at this point. Now, is it your contention that those findings were politically motivated because of your seeking a tax exempt status, for another entity? Those violations in fact were trivial or none serious, in your view?

ENGELBRECHT: When OSHA came to our shop, they came under a false SIC

Catherine Engelbrecht

Catherine Engelbrecht

classification. They came when neither my husband nor I were there, and proceeded to interview employees and I would very much welcome everything that OSHA…

CONNOLLY: But my question, Ms. Engelbrecht…

ENGELBRECHT: …be included…

CONNOLLY: MS. Engelbrecht…

ENGELBRECHT:…because the cover letter of OSHA clearly states…

CONNELLY: Ms. Engelbrecht…

ENGELBRECHT: …that they found nothing…

CONNOLLY: (interrupts again)

ENGELBRECHT:…no sir, let me finish my…

CONNOLLY: No ma’am, I am going to control this questioning, and I’m asking you a simple question. You are going to have press conference later. You can speak to your heart’s content there. I only have five minutes. Were these or were these not a serious matter? I thought your testimony said they were not serious.

ENGELBRECHT: In my opinion, and in the opinion in the cover letter, stated opinion of OSHA, they were not serious.

CONNOLLY: You complained that you and you husband were not there. Is it not the case that it is OSHA’s practice not to give advance warning, that’s the whole point of an inspection, to determine if a facility in fact is safe, whether there are violations or not. To tell you, we’re coming next Thursday is obviously to give you a heads-up to clean up whatever yo might think is a violation. Isn’t that their normal practice?

ENGELBRECHT: Sir, I don’t know what their normal practice is. We complied as we did with every agency that came over these last three years.

CONNOLLY: If it’s your testimony now, under oath, that you don’t know their normal practice, how are you able, nonetheless, to conclude that it’s politically motivated and has something to do with your seeking a tax exempt status to punish you for that as opposed to their normal practice of looking at a manufacturing facility to make sure it’s safe for the workers?

ENGELBRECHT: Because in the past three years, after nearly 20 years of being in business and no agency coming to visit with us, the succession of agencies that have now come to us, for all manner of things, begs the question, the statistical probabilities of what happened to me happening, without political motivation, is just staggering.

CONNOLLY: Well, I would just note for the record Ms. Engelbrecht and Mr. Sekulow, because we’re so concerned about the law here, making sure there are no violations of the law, are you aware of the fact that it is actually illegal for the Department of Labor’s OSHA to give notice when they do inspections? That’s actually a matter of law.

ENGELBRECHT: I was not aware of that, but I’m not contending that they should have given us notice, I’m only observing…

CONNOLLY: You complained about it. You complained that you didn’t get advanced notice and you just said that you were concerned that neither you nor your husband — I understand the concern, but you understand that they can’t check in advance to see if you’ll be there?

ENGLEBRECHT: Nor did we try to do anything to discourage that process, even though we weren’t on premise.

CONNOLLY: I absolutely take that at face value, but, it’s a huge leap then, given that, to conclude that someone is out to get you, Ms. Engelbrecht, that there’s any political motivation, whatsoever. OSHA was following standard operating procedure.

SEKULOW: But Mr. Connolly, you are aware that the information from the IRS…

CONNOLLY: Mr. Sekulow, Mr. Sekulow, I didn’t ask you a question.

JORDAN: The gentleman’s time has expired.

Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan

JORDAN: Ms. Engelbrecht, in the first 20 years did OSHA ever visit your place of visit?

ENGELBRECHT: No sir.

JORDAN: Never once?

ENGELBRECHT: No sir.

JORDAN: When you filed the application, OSHA visited then, right?

ENGELBRECHT: Yes Sir.

JORDAN: In the first 20 years of business, did the ATF ever come to visit?

ENGELBRECHT: No sir.

JORDAN: Okay. And they came a couple of times after filing your application?

ENGELBRECHT: Yes sir.

JORDAN: And your first 20 years of business, did the IRS ever audit you?

ENGELBRECHT: No sir.

JORDAN: But once you filed your application, did they audit you?

ENGELBRECHT: Many times.

JORDAN: Okay, and in your first 20 years of business, did the FBI ever visit you?

ENGELBRECHT: No sir.

JORDAN: But once you filed your application, did they visit you?

ENGELBRECHT: Six times.

JORDAN: And Mr. Connolly want us to believe that’s a coincidence?

[Connolly says something inaudible]

JORDAN: I was just pointing out that in 20 years of business, OSHA never came to Ms. Engelbrecht’s place of business.

(Connolly says something inaudible)

JORDAN: Yes, I was. In 20 years of business, OSHA never visited, FBI never visited…

(Connolly says something like “you’re invoking my name, Mr. Chairman)

JORDAN: You can respond. I gave you extra time. I’ll give you some more. The gentleman is recognized for one minute.

CONNOLLY: So where is the proof though, other than you are connecting dots that may or may not be connected, that OSHA was politically motivated?

JORDAN: I didn’t say proof. I’m just saying you want us all to believe it’s a coincidence.

CONNOLLY: And you want us all to believe by innuendo there must be something…

JORDAN: Fifteen times In a two year time frame, four different federal agencies visit this lady’s place of business, audited her personal and business records…and you expect us to believe that that just …

CONNOLLY: I don’t expect you to believe anything. You can believe anything you choose.

JORDAN: Well you can believe it’s all a coincidence. I…

CONNOLLY: No, I didn’t say that either.

JORDAN: FBI, ATF and was audited by the IRS. That happened.

CONNOLLY: I should say you, Mr. Chairman, should be on the panel, given your views.

SEKULOW: Mr. Chairman, will you yield…

End of video – view it at Viewpoints of a Sagittarian

Related and Background:

Catherine Engelbrecht’s Congressional Testimony Transcript: IRS Targeting of True the Vote, King Street Patriots & Personally

Cleta Mitchell Testifying on IRS Scandal: Lies Upon Lies, Not BoneHeaded Bureaucrats, It’s Not Over

Text of Elijah Cummings’ Letter to Catherine Engelbrecht: Good Gried! Intimidation? Absolutely!

Catherine Engelbrecht: Can Elijah Cummings Be Responsible for IRS Targeting Her? Files Formal Ethics Complaint Against Cummings 

Linked at Grumpy Opinions – read a great article the National Prayer Breakfast and what Obama believes to be the ‘ultimate betrayal of God’s will.’

Linked at BadBlue - uncensored news 24/7. Read it here.

Linked at Doug Ross and Larwyn’s Linx in The Renegade Jesse Myerson edition. Find pertinent news here.

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  • Linda

    Connolly and Cummings both represent border states with DC.(You know, the counties with the highest personal income thanks to big government) They both have huge federal government constituents. And they both have very safe congressional districts. They have no regard for the constitution or ordinary taxpayers. They only care about getting re-elected and the more out spoken they are in protecting big government the more news coverage they get in their liberal districts (Fairfax,VA and Baltimore, MD) . I wish government agencies were dispersed into several states, examples; Agriculture Dept to Nebraska or Iowa, Energy Dept to Texas or Oklahoma. Imagine the lobbyists having to live outside the beltway?

    • http://maggiesnotebook.com Maggie

      Linda, can you imagine government giving Energy to the reviled Texas or Oklahoma, but it is a worthwhile idea that should be seriously looked at, along with term limits which would solve problems on both sides of the aisles.

      Your point about having a “safe” congressional district, leading to total disregard of the Constitution is a pertinent point. I wish more people, including those in Congress would do the right thing and give us term limits. Like tort reform, term limits would do much to correct so much that is wrong in this country.

  • http://grumpyelder.com/ Grumpy

    Just a hunch, but I’d almost bet a close look at Connolly’s campaign finances would reveal ties to Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center aka the Northern Virginia Terrorist Mosque..

    He has appeared there in the past.. the Mosque has been tied to several schemes to launder money for Hamas, An Attempt to kill George Bush, A possible attempt to sabotage the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, The Fort Hood Killer, the 1994 World Trade Center Bombing and 9-11-2001 among other things

    • http://maggiesnotebook.com Maggie

      Grumpy, that’s worth looking into. I remember in 2007 when I went through all FEC donations looking for Muslims donating to him. I bet if I went through some of those names again today, we’d find some on terrorist watch lists. In fact, I didn’t even get close to publishing all the names. That raised a ruckus. I didn’t care then and I don’t care now.

  • http://blurbrain.com Whoopie

    I said early on that they should grant Lerner immunity so that she can be compelled to testify.

    Either she testifies or goes to prison like Susan McDougal who had immunity but refused to say what she knew about Hillary.

    If Lerner testifies but lies, she goes to prison for a really, really long time.

    Let’s face it, under this regime there is no way Lerner will ever go to prison for her role in this scandal. Putting her in a cell for contempt or perjury is the only way it will ever happen.

    Also, thanks to her resigning, she no longer enjoys the regime’s protection as she did when she was an IRS employee.

    Will she spill her guts or throw herself under the bus to save others?

    • http://maggiesnotebook.com Maggie

      Whoopie, I had forgotten about McDougal. I need to refresh on that story. Good point that Lerner no longer works for the government, but she probably will be called back. They call them all back, with a promotion, after a few months out of the public eye.

      I agree that immunity is the way to go on this one. We cannot just let the targeting go unpunished or unstopped, but they are trying, and unfortunately, will probably win. Republicans, with all their hearings, are totally impotent. Whomever is in the Oval Office next must clean-up Justice, IRS and State.

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  • http://www.maggiesnotebook.com/2014/02/rep-gerry-connolly-doesnt-want-to-touch-irs-fbi-atf-abuses-but-defends-lois-lerner/ Dawn

    Wonder if Connelly has info on Maliks organization in Virgina that Lerner fast tracked illegally. The physical address listed is a UPS store. The IRS filing address is a drug and alcohol treatment center. Lerner has some explaining to do.

    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderprofile.asp?fndid=5420&category=79