Lerner and Paz want testimony in IRS targeting case sealed forever

  • 23 November 2017
  • NormanL

Former IRS bureaucrat Lois Lerner and her one-time aid Holly Paz are asking a federal court to permanently seal the testimony they gave in a proceedings from a class action suit  brought over their role in targeting tea party and liberty groups during the Obama administration. Their reason for the request:

...members of her family, including “young children,” face death threats and a real risk of physical harm if her explanation of the tea party targeting scandal becomes public.

That's provocative -- it immediately leads to a suspicion there's something unsavory in what they had to say. But Lerner and Paz argue that since the government settled the lawsuit, there's no reason for their already sealed testimony to be made public:

“The voluminous record of harassment and physical threats to Mss. Lerner and Paz and their families during the pendency of this litigation provides a compelling reason to seal the materials,” the women’s attorneys said.

They particularly blamed Mark Meckler, a tea party leader whose organization helped fund the class-action lawsuit, saying he helped stoke the threats against them by calling IRS agents “criminal thugs.”

“These words matter. They have created a fertile environment where threats and harassment against Mss. Lerner and Paz have flourished,” the lawyers said.

Mr. Meckler laughed when he learned about the filing.

“Four years of harassing innocent American citizens for their political beliefs, and she’s scared of a guy in a cowboy hat talking to a bunch of little old ladies at a tea party event?” he said, recounting the speech where he called IRS agents “thugs.”

He said if the depositions didn’t show any bad action on her part, then Ms. Lerner should have nothing to fear from their release to the public.

“The reality is because she knows she is guilty as the day is long and she doesn’t want people to know what she actually did,” he said.

“It’s hard to have any sympathy for the women. And frankly, I don’t believe she’s genuinely scared,” Mr. Meckler said.

The Trump administration is in favor of making the testimony public. Good. While there may have been sound legal reasons to keep the testimony sealed during the trail, putting it off limits forever does not serve the public interest in knowing exactly what happened, and why. 

So it never happens again.