- - Thursday, August 27, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Hercules was the original man who gets things done. Tales of his 12 labors that included the slaying of monsters are the stuff of heroic legend. Cleaning out the Augean Stables is the stuff of heroic legend. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan can sympathize with Hercules.

He has a job as odious as the commission of Hercules. He must muck about in the email trash littering the trail of Hillary Clinton at the State Department and Lois Lerner at the Internal Revenue Service. This may be the dirtiest job in Washington. If he succeeds in getting to the bottom of it all, it could mean better times for the rest of us later.

Lawyers at the State Department and the IRS have been called to Judge Sullivan’s court to explain the evidence of email chicanery that violates government regulations if not federal law. In each case, the judge has labored to scrape away layers of secrecy and anonymity to discover who has been manipulating the levers of government authority. The Obama administration delays and distractions has stretched out the cases for years.

Stephen Dinan reported in this newspaper on Tuesday that Lois Lerner, who led the IRS targeting of tea party groups, had apparently used still another secret email account to conduct official IRS business. Responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch, Geoffrey Klimas, a lawyer for the IRS, told Judge Sullivan that an email account for one “Toby Miles” was actually that of Lois Lerner. This brings to three the number of accounts she used outside of her official IRS email. Whether “Toby Miles” is an actual person or a pseudonym is not yet known.

Playing games with email accounts is apparently the fashion in the federal bureaucracy. Lisa Jackson, as the director of the Environmental Protection Agency, disguised her identity in an earlier unrelated case by using an email account in the name of “Richard Windsor.” He was a fiction of Miss Jackson’s fertile imagination, but real enough to win an award for “outstanding service.”

The weeding of conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status prior to President Obama’s 2012 re-election had all the markings of abuse of power. The fact that three years later, judicial discovery is still producing new revelations about secret communications is ample evidence that the tax agency is delaying responses to escape culpability.

For her part, Ms. Lerner, or Mr. Windsor, or whatever she calls herself now, has yet to own up to her role in the scandal. The Justice Department declined to charge her with wrongdoing and she was enabled to retire on a government pension.

Judge Sullivan presides over lawsuits seeking access to Mrs. Clinton’s email records as secretary of state. He did not hide his annoyance with Hillary’s use of her personal server for her official email correspondence, a practice that has made her the target of an FBI investigation. “We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government policy,” he told State Department lawyers.

Judge Sullivan, who was appointed by Mrs. Clinton’s husband, has shown no deference to the Washington establishment. The judge, a graduate of Howard University Law School, has demonstrated a sense of justice beyond the gamesmanship of the Obama era. The digging into these games, fit only for the Washington stables, continues.

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