7 Times Obama Administration Officials 'Plead The Fifth' In High Profile Scandals


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The media is abuzz with news today about Paul Combetta, an employee of the IT firm that maintained Clinton's email servers.

Why? Combetta pled the fifth to Congress last week when asked to testify about Clinton's email scandal. Yet we've since learned that, the day after Congress demanded Clinton's emails in July 2013, Combetta anonymously went online to Reddit, under the pseudonym “StoneTear,” and asked for help on how to strip out email addresses from archived emails.

Of course, we may never figure out exactly why Combetta was in such a rush to bleach Clinton's archived emails, since the FBI granted him immunity in exchange for his cooperation with their investigation. His constitutional right to “plead the fifth” and protect himself from self-incrimination has effectively blocked Congress from retrieving any information either.

Such a strategy has worked for past Obama officials who have come under scrutiny for scandal and corruption and wind up narrowly dodging the law. Here's a short list.

1. Jeff Neely, the former Pacific Rim regional commissioner for the General Services Administration, pled the fifth on April 16, 2012 when Congress asked him to testify about overly-lavish spending on GSA conferences. He was eventually sentenced to prison for fraud anyway.

2. John Beale, a former official at the EPA, pled the fifth on October 1, 2013 when Congress probed into Beale's theft of nearly $900,000 worth of salaries and bonuses from his own agency.

3. John Sepulveda, a former VA official, pled the fifth on October 30, 2013 after Congress subpoenaed him to testify as to why the department spent $6 million on conferences in Florida.

4. Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves, two senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs, each pled the fifth before Congress on November 2, 2015 when asked to testify about $400,000 they had allegedly milked out of a VA relocation expense program. They were eventually given back their jobs.

5. Greg Roseman, a deputy director of the IRS, pled the fifth on June 26, 2013, after Congress asked him to testify about why the largest contract in IRS history was awarded to a close friend of his.

6. Patrick Cunningham, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, pled the fifth when Congress asked him to testify about Operation Fast and Furious, which trafficked more than 2,000 guns along the U.S.-Mexico border.

7. Lois Lerner, an IRS director in charge of tax-exemptions, pled the fifth numerous times during Congress' investigation into the IRS' targeting of conservative groups.

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