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Hard to Fire

by John Fund

Why Lois Lerner may linger

Lois Lerner, who is at the center of the IRS targeting scandal, is clearly not a model federal employee. But it is very difficult to fire her or anyone else associated with the scandal. As USA Today reported in 2011, federal employees enjoy so much job security, thanks to civil-service and union protection, that in many agencies they are more likely to die in a given year than to get laid off or fired.

As the IRS’s director of exempt organizations and government entities, Lois Lerner presided over the targeting of hundreds of conservative groups that applied for nonprofit status. Ridiculous and intrusive demands for information meant that most applicants couldn’t get going until after the 2012 election was safely past. She misled members of Congress, who asked her dozens of times about complaints linked to her office. The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” awarded her four Pinocchios, signifying “whoppers” for “misstatements and weasely wording.” She further undermined confidence in the IRS when she took the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions before a congressional committee.

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