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Question of the Day: Should Lois Lerner be Arrested or Should She Be Given Immunity?

It becomes very simple. It is EXTREMELY evident that Lois Lerner broke the law. It is also clear that she waived her 5th Amendment rights when she read a statement to the House Oversight Committee (Her lawyer should have read her statement, and there would be no issue with her 5th Amendment rights).

So should she be arrested for the crimes she has committed, or should she be granted immunity so she can testify freely? And do we then trust that what she proffers is EVERYTHING?

What say you?


The minority is upset that Rep. Darrell Issa did not want to waste an entire day of having the witness for the hearing first hear each member make a “full of hot air” opening statement, instead asking that each member supply their opening statement for the record, within 7 days:

At the start of the hearing, chairman Rep. Darrell Issa announced the committee members would waive their opening statements and instead would have seven days to place them into the record.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s ranking Democrat, immediately fought back questioning this deviation in traditional procedure, but Issa held his ground.

“I recognize that tradition is we hold the members, the witnesses here for sometimes an hour through opening statements.  That is a tradition that I intend to break,” Issa said.  “That doesn’t mean there won’t be opening statements in the future.”

Issa’s decision to omit opening statements at the hearing stems from his desire to hear from the witnesses, Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for TARP, and Tim Massad, a Treasury official, first instead of from the committee members.

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     Rep. Elijah Cummings had no problem with the unfettered subpoena power the House Oversight committee had while the Democrats were in the majority, but now, as the tides have turned, he is threatening Rep. Darrell Issa with an attempt to put limits on Issa’s subpoena powers:

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the combative foil to top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa, is making his first significant power move to cut Issa down to size, demanding authority to stop Issa from issuing congressional subpoenas “unilaterally.”

In a Jan. 24 letter, Cummings claims Issa vowed to him privately to aggressively use his subpoena power “more expansively” than past oversight committee chairmen. Congressional subpoena power gives Issa almost unlimited authority to demand documents and compel testimony from the Obama administration.

Now, Cummings is pushing to give Democrats input on which subpoenas Issa issues and force a committee vote on any he disagrees with.
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But, give Sharfstein some credit. He has superb political instincts and understands precisely when it is time to go. Just after the new Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Darrel Issa, announced that he intended to call hearings to examine some of the dodgy decisions at the FDA, Josh Sharfstein headed for the door. Could be a coincidence, or maybe there was no way he could justify the strange and often disastrous decision-making at the FDA that has so badly compromised a once-proud agency. Better by far, Sharfstein seems to have decided, to slip out the back door and let someone else take the heat for all the misdeeds.

Ironically, Sharfstein has now accepted a top public health job in the State of Maryland where he will be forced to deal with a huge number of small biotech companies working on a number of novel medical breakthroughs, but face impending insolvency because of an inability to navigate the increasingly complex myriad regulatory gauntlet at the FDA that has been erected. Good luck with that. Most likely, Sharfstein will get an earful, and, perhaps for the first time, learn the painful truth about the full costs of his misguided policies.

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The action on all these fronts in the days before the 112th Congress opens shows that oversight has suddenly become a hot topic in Washington, and it’s forcing the White House, House Democrats and the influence industry to take notice.

Republicans have begun to lay out their hearing schedule, which will include investigations into how regulation affects job creation; inquiries into Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the foreclosure crisis; and an examination of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s failure to come to agreement on the cause of the crisis. Issa also wants to investigate WikiLeaks disclosures.
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Reuters) – A leading Democrat in the House of Representatives who has rebuffed Republican efforts to subpoena records of a mortgage program for favored borrowers at Countrywide Financial Corp got home loans from that lender, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Representative Edolphus Towns, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, obtained two loans from Countrywide, which was bought last year by Bank of America, the newspaper said, citing information from the lawmaker’s mortgage documents.

Towns has turned down calls from the committee’s ranking Republican, Darrell Issa, for the panel to subpoena mortgage records showing who received loans through Countrywide’s VIP program, the journal said.

The program offered loans to politically influential figures and other favored borrowers at more attractive terms than were available to the general public.

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