Senator Sheldon Whitehouse attacked the second day of the Loretta Lynch hearings for examining the record of Eric Holder. Holder’s Justice Department is one of the most political in history and we have only scratched the surface of what may be going on during his tenure. It seems relevant to examine if Lynch has the ability and desire to address these many serious and deep problems. As Chairman Grassley responded:
And the Department of Justice under its current leadership has failed – failed – to meet some of its most basic responsibilities. Every single one of these witnesses – every single one of them – speaks directly to Ms. Lynch’s nomination. And the question is whether she takes these issues seriously. Will she work to fix them?And I’d note that it wasn’t too long ago that Democrats agreed it was perfectly appropriate to call witnesses to address what they viewed as problems at the Department. I’d note to the naysayer on the other side, it wasn’t beneath the dignity of the Committee when they were in charge. So why would it be now?
Chairman Grassley went on to cite one specific area.
So, for instance, maybe it doesn’t bother you that the IRS targeted conservatives, and the Department doesn’t seem to have taken the issue seriously. But it bothers me a great deal. And I want to know if Ms. Lynch is committed to tackling this problem, and a range of others.
Ironically this is an area where Senator Whitehouse was involved. Briefly:
[Disgraced former IRS Commissioner Lois] Lerner’s agenda was clear. Days after the meeting with Pilger, she addressed the Citizens United decision in a talk at Duke University. “They want the IRS to fix the problem,” Lerner said. “So everybody is screaming at us right now: ‘Fix it before the [2010 midterm] election. Can’t you see how much these people are spending?’”. . .
Three years later, [DOJ’s] Pilger and Lerner were still at it. In a May 2013 e-mail uncovered by Judicial Watch, Lerner discussed with a colleague a call from Pilger on the thoughts of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) about building “false-statement cases” against tax-exempt groups. Whitehouse’s “idea,” Lerner wrote, was “that DoJ could piece together false-statement cases about applicants who ‘lied’ on their [tax-exempt applications].” She added, “DoJ is feeling like it needs to respond.”
Senator Whitehouse’s complaints are seemingly at a minimum hypocritical considering past Democrat actions and may be efforts to protect himself from his own ties from one of DOJ’s scandals.