July 12, 2014

Bring Lois Lerner Fishing Next Time

Henchperson Lois Lerner and six other IRS officials have mysteriously lost years' worth of emails near -- perhaps during -- an active investigation and most definitely during an ongoing court case.

I don't know anybody who believes that story yet I am still not certain who if anybody will be held liable. Ms. Lerner will likely continue to enjoy her retirement pension, kicking puppies and burning ants with a magnifying glass. I don't know.

What I do know, and Harvey Silverglate call your office, is that real people with a lot less mens rea are actually going to jail. Consider the unfortunate case of John Yates

While commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, John Yates had his catch inspected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for whether it complied with size restrictions. Finding some undersized fish, officials cited him for a civil violation and he was ordered to bring the undersized fish back to the docks. Instead, he threw them overboard. While he probably knew he would face a fine, what he could not have foreseen was his subsequent criminal prosecution under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act three-years later.
Now, on appeal to the Supreme Court, Mr. Yates asks the Court to overturn his conviction on the ground that he did not have fair notice that the destruction of fish would fall under Section 1519. We agree. In an amicus brief supporting Mr. Yates, Cato argues that well-established canons of statutory construction--that is, the rules that guide judges in interpreting statutesódo not allow Section 1519 to be reasonably interpreted to apply to fish. Those canons teach us that a word in a statute, such as "tangible," should be given more precise content based on its surrounding words, and that it should only be applied objects similar to the precise words preceding it. In short, the other words in the statute, such as "record" and "document," modify the term "tangible object" to include things like hard drives and diskettes, not fish.

Throw a fish off a boat, do time. Granted it is thirty days and not a Silverglate-esque multi-decadal sentence, but do you wanna go to prison for 30 days?

As for Ms. Lerner, is there not a way we can "go all Section 1519 on her ass?" On no, she works for the government -- not one of those evil corporations.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:50 AM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I read the title of the post and instantly thought of Fredo Corleone.

And then looked for the "Like" button.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 12, 2014 4:47 PM
But jk thinks:

As in "sleeps wit' da fishies?"

ThreeSources's dedication to due process precludes condoning such a suggestion. Though, were a special instance to be selected, Ms. Lerner . . .

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2014 12:08 PM

June 24, 2014

Vindication of the day

Nixon said in a May 1974 interview with a supporter that if he had followed the liberal policies that he thought the media preferred, "Watergate would have been a blip."

The media noted that most of the reporting turned out to be accurate and the competitive nature of the media guaranteed massive coverage of the political scandal.

From the Watergate Scandal Wikipedia page.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)

Your ThreeSources Word of the Day

"Exfoliation" of evidence.

UPDATE: Rep. Trey Gowdy tells a joke.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:51 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Tomorrow's word for the day: "defenestration" of bureaucrats.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 24, 2014 1:22 PM
But jk thinks:

We may hope...

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2014 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ummm, not merely pedantry here, the word is "spoliation."

The spoliation inference is a negative evidentiary inference that a finder of fact can draw from a party's destruction of a document or thing that is relevant to an ongoing or reasonably foreseeable civil or criminal proceeding: the finder of fact can review all evidence uncovered in as strong a light as possible against the spoliator and in favor of the opposing party.

The theory of the spoliation inference is that when a party destroys evidence, it may be reasonable to infer that the party had "consciousness of guilt" or other motivation to avoid the evidence.

In the spirit of fair play I will add that, while defenestration of bureaucrats is a good idea every day, in this specific case I would prefer incarceration of them. How much time did Dean and Haldeman do for Watergate?

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2014 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Will the present-day William Mark Felt please step forward.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2014 2:55 PM

One for our friends in the Storage Industry

Washington Examiner

Mild-mannered Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, pressed the IRS commissioner with pointed questions about why the agency didn't rescue Lerner's emails by using its existing backup system.

"It's actually a disaster recovery system," Koskinen said, "and it backs up for six months in case the entire system goes down ... That was the rule in 2011. Policy."

"Why didn't they just go to that six-month tape?" Chaffetz asked.

It's "a disaster recovery tape that has all of the emails on it, and is a very complicated tape to actually extract emails [from], but I have not seen any emails to explain why they didn't do it. So I -- It would be difficult, but I don't know why they didn't do it," the commissioner replied.

"But you said that the IRS was going to extraordinary lengths to give it to the recovery team, correct?" the Utah congressman said.

"That's correct."

"But it's backed up -- on tape?"

"For six months, yes."

"So," Chaffetz continued, "why didn't you get them off the backup?"

"All I know about that is that the backup tapes are disaster recovery tapes that put everything in one lump," the commissioner said, "and extracting individual emails out of that is very costly and difficult, and it was not the policy at the time."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

If Koskinen really knew what he was talking about his reply to "why didn't you get them off the backup" would have been, "Everyone knows that the restore function never works. IT staff just laughed at me when I asked them that."

Seriously though, "not the policy at the time?" Our disaster recovery policy has no provision for actual recovery? And since when has "very costly and difficult" ever stopped the federal government? Seriously? We - can't - afford - it? You expect anyone to believe that?

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2014 2:23 PM

June 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

The thing about dogs eating homework is, it could actually happen. This can't. -- Kyle Smith, NYPost
Part of a great column: imagine if Goldman Sachs had tried this defense... Hat-tip: Insty.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2014


Rather than grandstanding about terrorist atrocities in Iraq or even a flood of undocumented alien children across our southern border, every single Republican congressman or senator should be jointly focused like a period-full-stop laser beam on the most deadly serious threat to US civil society today: The likely use of federal government power to influence the outcome of an election, and the obvious cover up that attempts to obstruct investigation of the original crime. Harry Reid's hometown newspaper says it well:

This is not a partisan witchhunt. It is an inquiry to determine whether a federal agency conspired with elected members of a political party to influence the outcome of an election. And it already screams of a cover-up.

The full editorial is loaded with winks and eye rolling over the "accidents" which befell the evidence requested by congress. On any objective scale, Watergate was a misdemeanor compared to Obamagate. The only thing about the more recent of these two is the news media's curiosity.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:52 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The second article of impeachment was the misuse of the IRS to punish political enemies. And Rose Mary Woods only lost 18-1/2 minutes.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 5:07 PM