One of President Obama’s statements to Bill O’Reilly in the pre-Super Bowl interview was that when it came to the IRS controversy, that was another Fox News phony scandal, and there wasn’t even a “smidgen of corruption” in his administration. But we have shown in numerous articles how this has, in reality, been a serious abuse of power. After all, using the IRS to go after its political enemies nearly got Richard Nixon impeached, and would have if he hadn’t resigned first.
We have shown how the President’s narrative, and that of his spokesmen, has “evolved.” Originally, the story went that it was rogue agents in the Cincinnati office of the IRS that had begun the persecution of conservative groups back in 2010, but that Obama had only learned about it in the media in May 2013, when everyone else heard about it.
Then it turned out that not only had Lois Lerner, the director of the tax exempt division of the IRS, known about it, but so did two White House officials a month prior to the May announcement: White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and White House Chief Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. These two implausibly argued that they did not warn the President. But still, the controversy was contained as much as possible in the Cincinnati office—until once again, we learned that Washington, D.C. staffer Holly Paz reviewed 20 to 30 applications from non-profit applicants who were caught in this quagmire. She testified before Congress that the Tea Party label was “like calling soda ‘Coke’ or, you know, tissue ‘Kleenex.’” It was “Just sort of a shorthand reference,” she said. Are you sensing a pattern yet?
Yet throughout this saga, no one was held accountable for lying to the President. Lerner pled the Fifth Amendment, was placed on administrative leave, and then retired. She collected $42,000 in bonuses since 2009. As AIM reported earlier, an American Center for Law and Justice complaint cites Lerner—and her comrades Douglas Shulman, Sarah Hall Ingram, Nikole Flax, and Judith Kindell—for “repeatedly us[ing] nonofficial, unsecure, personal email accounts to conduct official IRS business, including sending tax return information and official classified documents to non-agency email addresses, and that Defendant Lerner alone accumulated more than 1,600 pages of emails and documents related to official IRS business in a nonofficial, unsecure, personal email account, including almost 30 pages of confidential taxpayer information.”
In addition, Sarah Hall Ingram “made 155 visits to the White House to meet with a top Obama White House official with whom she exchanged confidential taxpayer information over email,” according to a report in The Daily Caller. Ingram headed up the IRS office that oversaw tax-exempt organizations, between 2009 and 2012, when she left to take over the IRS office in charge of implementing Obamacare.
And Douglas Shulman, the former IRS Commissioner who stepped down in November 2012 from that position, told a Senate panel in May of 2013 that he was “dismayed” and “saddened” after learning from the IRS inspector general’s report that, according to Politico, “concluded agency employees wrongly targeted conservative groups seeking a tax exemption.” Shulman told the Senate Finance Committee that “The actions outlined in that report have justifiably led to questions about the fairness of the approach taken here.”
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