Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

I like the Fifth Amendment.

I took it myself in 2007 when Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson was witch-hunting with his grand jury. My attorney advised that I had more to fear from innocently misstating something and being vindictively charged with perjury than from the ridiculous indictments the AG would file against the “Oklahoma 3” — and then dismiss.

The Fifth Amendment protects the individual from government fishing expeditions, from browbeating by big, bad prosecutors — which includes congressional committees acting as such.

I don’t want to diminish our Fifth Amendment rights in any way, for any citizen.

Even when Citizen Lois Lerner asserts her Fifth Amendment privilege while the acting director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division. And yes, even in yesterday’s repeat performance — having since retired with a pension — she still avoids congressional questions about official actions that appear to violate fundamental civil rights.

The House committee may charge Lerner with contempt (I already do). Admittedly, without her testimony, we may never know the full extent of the official campaign against certain political groups.

But we do know enough to take action.

Free and democratic participation in society requires a better system. Each non-profit group that forms must file a tax return, so there is transparency and oversight. The time has come to shut down the IRS Exempt Organizations Division approval process for non-profit groups and end the current prior restraint on participating in public policy.

We don’t need the Internal Revenue Service to stand as a censor bureaucratically or politically approving or dawdling to decide whether certain groups are permitted to organize.

A free society cannot tolerate it.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Ken says:

    There’s one easy way around the 5th amendment, grant complete immunity to Lois Lerner. With no self-incrimination possible she can be compelled to testify and we’ll learn the whole truth – and discover for certain exactly how high the corruption went in this case.

  2. Kenneth H. Fleischer says:

    Happy birthday, Paul!

    My comment regarding Ken’s comment, above: The reason that the House won’t grant her immunity is that the pols don’t want this source of power to be revealed and thus diminished. They like arbitrary power.

  3. R Miller says:

    Mr. Jacob,
    I usually agree with your assessment and application of common sense. I feel compelled to take exception to your current missive where you speak to the 5th Amendment rights of Lois Lerner. I have no desire to compromise the rights defined by the 5th Amendment in the course of criminal investigations. In the case of Ms. Lerner, the Congress was specifically inquiring as to her official activities as a public servant and employee of the federal government, a matter in which the Congress has a responsibility to answer to citizens. By the very act of invoking the 5th Amendment, Ms. Lerner places the issue in the context of a criminal act relating to her official duties.
    So, rather than compromise the meaning and intent of the 5th Amendment, there is a logical presumption of guilt at some level when Ms. Lerner felt compelled to avoid answering questions relating to her official duties, for which she is compensated by U.S. citizens. At that point, all pay and benefits, including future benefits, should have been forfeited. If I had an employee that failed to answer for their paid duties, they would be fired forthwith. The Congress should do the same. Likewise if I ever failed to answer for my paid duties as a government employee, I would expect some kind of adverse action, and frankly, it would never occur to me to invoke the 5th Amendment as to my acts in an official capacity.

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