A new bipartisan investigative report on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) harassment of conservative groups was released by the U.S. Senate yesterday, and it contains some shocking e-mails sent by Lois Lerner, the former IRS non-profit director at the center of the scandal.
The report, which was prepared by the Senate Finance Committee, reviewed over 1.5 million pages of documents, many of which were e-mails sent by Lois Lerner herself. In one e-mail she sent to a friend who was bashing Texas, Lerner responded that in her opinion, Abraham Lincoln was the worst of all American presidents.
“As you can see, the Lone Star State is just pathetic as far as political attitudes are concerned,” Lerner’s friend Mark Tornwall wrote in 2014.
“Look my view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best,” Lerner responded, according to USA Today. “He should’ve let the south go. We really do seem to have 2 totally different mindsets.”
Lerner’s comments seem to suggest that Lincoln, who is regularly pegged by large percentages of Americans as the country’s greatest president, should have allowed the South to secede and retain its slavery regime, rather than fighting to keep the South in the U.S. and end slavery. Had Lincoln pursued Lerner’s advised course of action, it is unclear when — or even if — the U.S. would have been able to eradicate slavery and free the millions of African-Americans from that institution’s bondage. It is also unclear why Lois Lerner thinks America or the world would be better off had the South been allowed to secede and retain slavery.
Lerner also asked in the 2014 e-mail about Texas politics why former Gov. Rick Perry wasn’t running for re-election.
“Can you only do one term in Texas?” she asked. Perry, who was elected to three full terms, had been governor of Texas for nearly 14 years when Lerner sent that e-mail.
Lois Lerner, who refused to testify before Congress, also took the time to explain her legal strategy regarding the congressional investigation of her plan to target conservative non-profits. She specifically explained why she pleaded the 5th Amendment instead of testifying.
“They called me back to testify on the IRS ‘scandal,’ and I took the 5th again because they had been so evil and dishonest in my lawyer’s dealings with them,” Lerner wrote.
While the 5th Amendment gives individuals the right to not incriminate themselves in testimony, there appears to be little justification for refusing to testify on the basis that one’s interrogators are “evil.”
In a 2012 e-mail to Tornwall, Lerner also took the time to comment on Citizens United, a Supreme Court case that affirmed the right of associations of individuals to spend money on campaigns and elections.
“Citizens United is by far the worst thing that has ever happened to this country,” Lerner declared. “More on that later.”
“We are witnessing the end of ‘America,'” she concluded in a follow-up e-mail.
In keeping with her apparent view that President Abraham Lincoln should’ve allowed the South to secede and keep slavery, it makes a certain amount of sense that Lerner might view a 21st century court case about campaign financing as somehow being worse than slavery, segregation, or race-based internment camps.
The full Senate report, including appendices, can be found here.