Cleta Mitchell: Arresting Lois Lerner Would Be 'a Bit Nutty'

Monday, 14 Jul 2014 03:39 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Texas Rep. Steve Stockman has filed a resolution to have former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was held in contempt of Congress in May, arrested, but lawyer Cleta Mitchell says that's not the way to solve the problem.

"The thing that we all have to remember is that the reason we are mad at Lois Lerner and the IRS is because they abandoned the rule of law, and I don't support an action like that," Mitchell told J.D. Hayworth and Miranda Khan on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Monday.

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"I don't think that's very useful, and I don't think that really accomplishes much," Mitchell explained. "I don't want to do anything in the way that she did things, which was to abandon the rule of law and to go after and to target political enemies."

Mitchell is representing the ActRight Legal Foundation and True the Vote, which are both conservative organizations that were allegedly targeted by the IRS for additional scrutiny while applying for non-profit status because of their political views.

Mitchell says True the Vote's "application was handled and screened and delayed for more than three years."

"What I want and what the American people want is the truth," she said.

Since the House committees that have filed subpoenas seeking documents and information related to the IRS targeting scandal have had problems getting the Justice Department to enforce those subpoenas, Mitchell says she would like to see "the House . . . hire its own council . . . and seek to enforce its own subpoenas."

"That's a good separation-of-powers argument — that Congress should have the power to enforce its own subpoenas," she explained.

"I wish that the House would take some more overt action like that, rather than something like arresting Lois Lerner, [which] is a bit nutty," the Washington lawyer added.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress in June that Lerner's emails that had been subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee were lost and that her hard drive had been destroyed. 

Mitchell says her law firm has filed a request with a federal court in Washington to "allow an independent forensics investigating team to come in and see about what has happened with these emails."

The judge, she said, has given the IRS until Friday "to file a declaration under oath by someone who has direct knowledge of the forensic investigation into the loss of Lois Lerner's emails."

That person is supposed "to testify about what their qualifications were to find those emails . . . to identify the serial number and the log that shows the disposition of the hard drive of Lois Lerner's computer and where it is, and why those emails cannot be recovered from that hard drive," Mitchell added.

"It's going to be hard for the IRS and the Justice Department to come up with one person who can testify to all these things," she said.

"There are multiple assertions that they've made, and I don't think one person is going to have the knowledge," Mitchell explained. "And so, they're going to have to find the person who's willing to testify, and it's going to be interesting if we get to Friday and they say, 'Well, we can't find anybody who knows what happened.'"


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