The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Archive for May 2013

Is There a Pattern Here? – The Lois Lerner Saga Begins

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Lois Lerner defiantly sat before congressional representatives Wednesday, made a statement regarding her integrity, then abruptly invoked her 5th amendment right not to self-incriminate avoiding any additional questioning regarding IRS targeting of conservative, religious and political groups and individuals from 2010 to 2012.  Lerner was the head of the IRS Tax Exempt department during this time period.

As more groups and individuals come forward with details about their experience with Lerner’s department, a pattern seems to be emerging.

Many of the people claiming to have been targeted for special treatment have also claimed they were asked inappropriate questions regarding their political affiliation, religious affiliation, and other personal matters.  Some were even asked to divulge the content of their personal “prayers”.

Well, it appears this isn’t the first time such odd questions have been asked of political or religious conservatives by Ms. Lerner’s “people” during her years of government service.

As you read the following report from TheBlaze consider this: Lois Lerner is now in charge of the IRS department that will oversee the enforcement of the  “tax element” of Obamacare.

Chew on that for a bit.


  • Lois Lerner, the embattled director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS, served as head of the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) enforcement division from 1986 until 2001.
  • While there, the FEC sued the Christian Coalition for allegedly conspiring with political candidates.
  • During the case, representatives for the FEC asked intrusive questions on religion of several people involved, including Lt. Col. Oliver North.
  • At one point, a representative demanded to know details regarding Pat Robertson praying for North after reading a letter from North to Robertson indicating as much.
  • The group’s attorney also noted that during the investigation third parties were required to comply with “burdensome FEC document requests,” reminiscent of the IRS/Tea Party requests.
  • The Christian Coalition’s attorneys adamantly objected, and the group eventually rebuffed the charges.


New questions are being raised today about Lois Lerner and the attitude she’s taken in the past regarding conservative and Christian groups.  The Weekly Standard is pointing to the questioning of people related to the Christian Coalition in the 1990s when Lerner was the head of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In short: the FEC was investigating if the Christian Coalition was “coordinating issue advocacy expenditures with a number of candidates for office,” the Weekly Standard explains, and the questions they were asking became ridiculously intrusive — especially about faith and prayer.

The Christian Coalition successfully fought off the allegations, but not before investigators took nearly 100 depositions.

“We felt we were being singled out, because when you handle a case with 81 depositions you have a pretty good argument you’re getting special treatment,” the Christian Coalition’s attorney at the time, James Bopp, Jr., told the Weekly Standard. “Eighty-one depositions! Eighty-one! From Ralph Reed’s former part-time secretary to George H.W. Bush. It was mind blowing.”

And “mind blowing” may be the only way to describe what he detailed in a 2003 testimony before the United States Committee on House Administration [emphasis added]:

FEC attorneys continued their intrusion into religious activities by prying into what occurs at Coalition staff prayer meetings, and even who attends the prayer meetings held at the Coalition. This line of questioning was pursued several times. Deponents were also asked to explain what the positions of “intercessory prayer” and “prayer warrior” entailed, what churches specific people belonged, and the church and its location at which a deponent met Dr. Reed.

One of the most shocking and startling examples of this irrelevant and intrusive questioning by FEC attorneys into private political associations of citizens occurred during the administrative depositions of three pastors from South Carolina. Each pastor, only one of whom had only the slightest connection with the Coalition, was asked not only about their federal, state and local political activities, including party affiliations, but about political activities that, as one FEC attorney described as “personal,” and outside of the jurisdiction of the FECA [Federal Election Campaign Act]. They were also continually asked about the associations and activities of the members of their congregations, and even other pastors.

But it doesn’t end there. Bopp’s testimony includes a transcript of questioning between the FEC and Lt. Col. Oliver North to illustrate Bopp’s point. In that transcript, the FEC representative started prying into why the Lt. Col. thanked Pat Robertson for prayers in a letter. See it below (Q stands for the FEC rep, A denotes North’s response, and O is the objection raised by Christian Coalition attorneys), and note the questioner’s befuddlement at the objections raised to the line of questioning [emphasis added]:

Q: (reading from a letter from Oliver North to Pat Robertson) “‘Betsy and I thank you for your kind regards and prayers.’ The next paragraph is, ‘Please give our love to Dede and I hope to see you in the near future.’ Who is Dede?”

A: “That is Mrs. Robertson.”

Q: “What did you mean in paragraph 2, about thanking -you and your wife thanking Pat Robertson for kind regards?”

A: “Last time I checked in America, prayers were still legal. I am sure that Pat had said he was praying for my family and me in some correspondence or phone call.”

Q: “Would that be something that Pat Robertson was doing for you?”

A: “I hope a lot of people were praying for me, Holly.”

Q: “But you knew that Pat Robertson was?”

A: “Well, apparently at that time I was reflecting something that Pat had either, as I said, had told me or conveyed to me in some fashion, and it is my habit to thank people for things like that.”

Q: “During the time that you knew Pat Robertson, was it your impression that he had – he was praying for you?”

O: “I object. There is no allegation that praying creates a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act and there is no such allegation in the complaint. This is completely irrelevant and intrusive on the religious beliefs of this witness.”

O: “It is a very strange line of questioning. You have got to be kidding, really. What are you thinking of, to ask questions like that? I mean, really. I have been to some strange depositions, but I don’t think I have ever had anybody inquire into somebody’s prayers. I think that is really just outrageous. And if you want to ask some questions regarding political activities, please do and then we can get over this very quickly. But if you want to ask about somebody’s religious activities, that is outrageous.”

Q: “I am allowed to make-’’

O: “We are allowed not to answer and if you think the Commission is going to permit you to go forward with a question about somebody’s prayers, I just don’t believe that. I just don’t for a moment believe that. I find that the most outrageous line of questioning. I am going to instruct my witness not to answer.”

Q: “On what grounds?”

O: “We are not going to let you inquire about people’s religious beliefs or activities, period. If you want to ask about someone’s prayers-Jeez, I don’t know what we are thinking of. But the answer is, no, people are not going to respond to questions about people’s prayers, no.”

Q: “Will you take that, at the first break, take it up- we will do whatever we have to do.”

O: “You do whatever you think you have to do to get them to answer questions about what people are praying about.”

Q: “I did not ask Mr. North what people were praying about I am allowed to inquire about the relationship between-’’

O: “Absolutely, but you have asked the question repeatedly. If you move on to a question other than about prayer, be my guest.”

Q: “I have been asking you a series of questions about your relationship with Pat Robertson, the Christian Coalition. . . . It is relevant to this inquiry what relationship you had with Pat Robertson and I have asked you whether Pat Robertson had indicated to you that he was praying for you.”

O: “If that is a question, I will further object. It is an intrusion upon the religious beliefs and activities of Dr. Robertson. And how that could – how the Federal Government can be asking about an individual’s personal religious practices in the context of an alleged investigation under the Federal Election Campaign Act, I am just at a complete loss to see the
relevance or potential relevance, and I consider that to be also intrusive.”

Q: “Was Pat Robertson praying for you in 1991?”

O: “Same objection.”

A: “I hope so. I hope he still is.”