Lois Lerner has set the standard for this, America’s most transparent Administration ever, by pleading the fifth on the ongoing IRS scandal, as opposed to providing testimony on the topic to the Congress.
Lerner did this after making a statement—or was it testimony?—saying she had done nothing wrong, told no lies, violated no rules or guidelines, nor committed any crimes.
The disconnect between Lerner’s statement and her actions don’t really make any sense. Cue the foreboding music.
The IRS scandal has shown that regulations—and the selective implementation of these regulations—is just as big a threat to freedom, and perhaps more, than mere idiotic legislation.
Proof comes from the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Ten Thousand Commandments which is subtitled An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State:
Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars annually over and above the official federal outlays that dominate policy debate.
… The Anti-Democracy Index, the ratio of regulations issued by agencies relative to laws passed by Congress and signed by the president, stood at 29 for 2012. Specifically, 127 laws were passed in calendar year 2012, whereas 3,708 rules were issued. This disparity highlights a substantial delegation of lawmaking power to unelected agency officials.
There’s far more. While It’s enlightening to read the whole thing; it’s essential to read the Executive Summary.
The IRS has gone silent. Surprised?
Isn’t it interesting the “don’t talk to the press” rules are invoked (and followed) when it’s convenient to the IRS while other rules and even laws (regarding discrimination and/or special treatment) are ignored when no one’s thought to be watching.
They’re no doubt trying to get their story straight, all the way, it seems, to the White House.
So far, the President has gone Sergeant Schultz. While that may carry the day for the all-in Obamaphiles, it may not have the desired effect on the rest of the traditional media. After all, this thing’s too big—and too serious—to ignore.
Unless you’re the IRS. Then you try and ignore it: don’t answer the mail, don’t pick up the phone, don’t open the door.
Even then, people will figure things out. And they are.
It seems the IRS, if they were truly innocent in their current targeting scandal, would be begging the Congress or even a special investigator to check things out: after, all, if innocent, such endeavors would provide the path for exoneration and closure.
It’s more realistic to expect the IRS will resist such efforts and as it regards a special investigator, with the President’s blessing.
The New York Times appears to be offering its media mitigation services to the Administration in an attempt to try and lessen the impact of the IRS scandal.
Why? Probably so as to allow the country to move on to more important Times’ topics like gun control, homosexual marriage, increased deficit spending, manmade global warming, and amnesty for illegals.
So here are the basic elements of the Times story: A solitary IRS “manager” provided ambiguous direction. (IRS workers don’t normally talk politics one “supervisor” said, implying apolitical thinking.) “Low-level” workers processed other 501(c)4 applications but the desk of a “lone specialist” piled up with Tea Party cases. Meanwhile, “midlevel” IRS managers had communications problems with their higher-ups. Even though 400 Tea Party/conservative group records were flagged, two-dozen “liberal-leaning” and perhaps “apolitical” organizations were also marked for this special treatment, so bias is clearly not evident. The IRS “struggled” with its growing caseload (even though the caseload surge didn’t happen until well after the targeting began). The Cincinnati office is a bit of a “backwater” and the work there is undesirable. Eventually, progress on the whole topic was made and by the way, the IRS Commissioner in place for much of this debacle was a George W. Bush appointee.
So there we have it… things are complicated, honest mistakes were made by a mere few who probably meant well, the IRS needs more workers, and a Bush appointee is complicit. Case closed, game over. With all that established, shouldn’t America just press on with the really important issues of the day?
The implied question is answered with a resounding Times, “Yes!”
Why? Because according to a former IRS lawyer, a “politically charged investigation might descend into a witch hunt that leaves low-level I.R.S. employees too intimidated to enforce the tax code.”
(Hmm. It looks more like the problem was that some IRS employees were not sufficiently intimidated by the law to enforce the tax code to begin with… )
And apparently, to the Times, unearthing the truth of the issue pales to the possibility of a “politically charged investigation,” even though the IRS scandal is clearly a bipartisan issue with numerous Democrats, including the President, offering their public outrage.
Meanwhile, the “politically charged” behavior of the IRS (did they display their own initiative on this or were they were merely doing the bidding of their superiors going as high up as… who knows?) is something, like Benghazi, we should move on from.
Or as Hillary might say, “What difference, at this point, does it make?!”
The New York Times tells us the Obama Administration knew, pre-2012 elections, the IRS had been targeting conservative groups for “special treatment.”
The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was investigating allegations that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted conservative groups, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.
Want more? The acting IRS Commissioner lied to Congress.
According to the inspector general’s report, [acting IRS Commissioner] Mr. [Steven T.] Miller was aware of the political targeting in March 2012, sending a team from I.R.S. headquarters in Washington to discuss it with the program’s leaders in Cincinnati. Yet a month later, Mr. Miller, then the deputy I.R.S. commissioner for enforcement, wrote a letter to Republican senators saying there was no targeting of conservative groups.
What, me lie?
Besides this steaming hot mess, there’s still more: the apparent criminal leaks of taxpayer records to the media in an attempt to benefit the President’s political purpose.
So to what strategy did Democrat’s turn to at this hearing, attempting to mitigate the damage? Old reliable.
… Democrats tried to keep the focus narrow and under the purview of an I.R.S. chief appointed by President George W. Bush.
Expect the Administration and other Democrats to try and use the same “narrow focus” (i.e., blame Bush/blame others) strategy with the media. And why not? We sure wouldn’t want bigger steaming hot messes—the truth—to emerge, would we? (Or in other words, for Democrats, It’s worked so far but we’re not out yet…)
Still, what about the scurrying of the cockroaches?
[Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T.] Miller [who has resigned]… was likely to step down in June anyway, unless nominated for the permanent position.
Joseph Grant, commissioner of the I.R.S.’s tax-exempt and government-entities division, announced Thursday that he, too, would be leaving in the next month.
When Republicans asked Mr. Miller whether the targeting of conservative groups was divulged to Obama administration officials outside the I.R.S., Mr. Miller said “that would be a violation of law.”
“I would be shocked” if that occurred, he said.
What’s causing the desperation? The desperados, of course: why don’t they come to their senses?
This desperation is seen in the response to the depth and breadth of the emerging Obama Administration scandals, which are merely the natural consequence of the President’s ideology and political methods. Like Col. Kurtz, some in the traditional media are starting to wonder if the President’s methods are… unsound.
Based on past practice, it seems unlikely the President’s sycophants and courtiers—that is, his closest advisors—will let him harbor any self-deprecating thoughts, let alone ponder the truth that he, like all of us, to include the rest of the political class, are highly flawed and far-fallen creatures. But just what sort of pap are the President’s more casual scribes, Pharisees, and fanboys pushing?
Emanuel “Leave it to” Cleaver (D-MO) offers the proposal that (contrary to all evidence) the President is doing God’s work and that anyone interested in the truth behind the Administration’s myriad scandals is into… wait for it… racism.
Robert Shrum says, “The animating principle of today’s GOP is relentless animus toward the president.” Crimes and misdemeanors? Scandals? Look, squirrel!
Alec MacGillis thinks none of this can be blamed on big government or bad government, only on… bad laws. (And laws, bad laws included—think Obamacare—come from where, Alec?) Also, as it regards Benghazi, MacGillis feels the government fail was because its power was insufficient (emphasis in original) when it mattered. Such thinking begs the question: just how much should we give to make the Leviathan bigger? They only answer: more.
The normal solution to government fails are calls for more government. In this case, the solution is more basic; an attempt to blame others. No matter how furiously the left may spin the Obama scandals, even America’s most highly (and willfully) ignorant citizens need to deal with the truth, including—especially—those in the White House.
From The New Yorker:
Washington’s scandal machinery, rusty from recent disuse, is cranking back up to speed due to the alleged targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service.
First, the IRS has already fessed up to the alleged targeting. (Unless a public mea culpa no longer counts for anything. Miranda rights or the likes?)
Next, why is the Washington scandal machinery rusty from disuse? It’s because the traditional media has managed to make the myriad scandals of the Obama Administration into non-events. But at the point when a scandal can no longer be ignored, root causes, analysis, and fault-finding are turned on their heads and are instead assigned to the character flaws projected by the media into the conservative mind.
What profound media-fail is next?
In light of this, it might be useful to ask: Did the I.R.S. actually do anything wrong?
No, it’s indeed common knowledge and self-evident that the IRS confessed it’s inappropriate behaviors and released its IG report because no sins were committed and all involved have been absolved. This is not the IRS scandal you’re looking for…
If we have no IRS scandal, why should everyone be so up in arms? Because of the real scandal!
So the scandal—the real scandal—is that 501(c)(4) groups have been engaged in political activity in such a sustained and open way.
Great catch. Criminal acts? Meh. Instead, people should be barred from having free association via 501(c)(4) groups and additionally, surrender their right to freedom of speech. And yet, others might ask, “Why do we even have these arbitrary and restrictive 501(c)(4) rules to begin with?”
We have these rules because government especially likes rules. They can punish their adversaries via rules and reward their followers by ignoring the same.
Finally, even though the Obama Administration is now starting to reap the whirlwind of their actions, none of this can be blamed on the President: after all, the government’s simply too large and far-flung for him to manage such an enterprise.
Given this Administration wants to ever-expand government’s power, the too big to manage thought puts a colorful bow on the left’s Costco-sized package of cognitive dissonance.
“The buck stops there,” is the underlying message President Obama’s myriad mouthpieces are pushing. Or translated into Biden-speak, “Yes, he don’t.”
The HHS fundraising scandal? An underling who didn’t first seek permission to shakedown industry.
Benghazi? Well, maybe mistakes were made… but not at the White House.
Tapping the AP’s phone lines? You’ll have to talk to Justice about that.
The IRS targeting conservative groups? An isolated event involving only a few people.
In Obamaland, with the President’s policy goal of all government all the time, the fish rots from the tail and not the head.
Besides telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (chance: nil), there is one other thing the President could do to keep the public from talking about his IRS and Benghazi scandals. He could release his sealed records.
Yes, the President, as an act of good faith with the public (and more importantly—to him—to change the subject), could finally release the following:
- College applications
- College loan and scholarship applications
- SAT/ACT/LSAT scores
- Selective service registration
- Medical records
- Illinois state Senate records
- Law client list
- Michelle Obama’s sealed records
But don’t hold your breathalyzer on this change of topics. After all, Obama will find it far easier to blame George W. Bush and/or Rush Limbaugh for his own death-by-a trillion-cuts-of-ineptness and the corresponding ethical failures.
And opening his sealed records would likely confirm the depth of duplicity of our President’s past.
But it would change the subject.