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What a Difference a Scandal Switch Makes: Oversight Dems on Fire vs. ex-IRS Chief

Warning of a special prosecutor, hard grilling over the target list, threatening there will be "hell to pay": Will the comity last?

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 22, 2013 - 7:03 pm
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“It’s simply not good enough, Mr. Shulman,” Cummings said. “…You personally knew there was a target list. You knew it said ‘tea party’ on it. You put new processes in place, and you took personnel actions. You reassigned at least one individual back in 2012. Come on Mr. Shulman. I mean we – help us help the taxpayers.”

Several members on the committee noted that the panel was more unified than it’s been in a long time, and Cummings’ increasingly heated exchange with Shulman revealed comity with chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that was nonexistent during the Benghazi hearing.

Under questioning from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Shulman claimed he only got two notices from members of Congress concerned about targeting instead of the 132 letters actually sent to him.

“Do you take responsibility for what happened in the Cincinnati office?” Speier asked.

“Being done? You know, I don’t take personal responsibility for there being a list with criteria put on it, but I do accept the fact that this did happen on my watch,” Shulman said.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) asked what Shulman will actually take responsibility for.

“I wouldn’t go down a long list. I was the leader of the IRS at the time that this happened. I accept the fact that this happened on my watch, and I’m very sorry that this happened while I was at the IRS,” he responded.

“Mr. Shulman, do you accept responsibility for Ms. Lerner’s failures as your employee?” Duckworth continued. Lois Lerner, head of the tax-exempt division, refused to answer questions early in the hearing after declaring in a statement that she’s innocent of all wrongdoing.

“I have the same answer. This happened on my watch. I do not accept responsibilities for all of the actions taken by all of the people outlined in the report,” he said.

Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in the Iraq War, chided Shulman that “you’re always responsible for the performance, the training, the actions of the men and women under you.”

“I am deeply disappointed in your answer because right now in forward operating bases in Afghanistan, all over the world we have 25-year-old buck sergeants and second lieutenants who know you can delegate authority, you can never delegate responsibility,” she said.

On Shulman’s part, the former head of the IRS wasn’t projecting an attitude today that would win him many friends.

Least of all Lynch.

“My understanding was the conservative groups were not the only ones getting these questions. That was my memory,” Shulman said.

“Now you’re saying that they weren’t being targeted because other groups were also being targeted for their political views. Is that what you’re saying?” Lynch asked.

“No, that’s not –”

“Well, that’s interesting, because that’s just what I heard.”

“Well, I’d love to explain it to you, Congressman,” Shulman said. “At no time, to the best of my memory, that — was I ever given the impression that these were only being asked of conservative groups.”

“After telling Congress that no — absolutely no one is being targeted, you learn that there’s a list, a list of people being targeted, tea party, patriots, people who are critical of how the government is being run, and — and what did you do after that point?” Lynch said. “You did nothing. You did nothing to straighten out the impression that you had left by your testimony before Congress. Sir, you misled Congress. You misled Congress. Make no question about it. You told us one thing. When you learned — when you learned that our suspicions were true, when you learned that there was a list, you did nothing. You did nothing.”

Shulman carefully framed his words throughout the hearing, saying he “was dismayed and saddened to read the inspector general’s conclusions that actions had been taken creating the appearance that the service was not acting as it should have.”

Democrats on the panel lauded Issa’s announcement that he’ll summon the new acting IRS chief, White House budget official Daniel Werfel, “to come before us so that we can perhaps see in advance whether the management skills are there.”

“I thank you because I think that’s a major move,” Cummings told Issa.

Freshman Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) noted “the inept, inexcusable actions of the IRS have done more to unify Democrats and Republicans than I’ve seen in my five months here so far.”

“So that’s what I’m going with. I’m going to try to work off of that,” Pocan added.

“I’d use it until we lose it, and hopefully we won’t,” Issa said.

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Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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118 times in 2 years?!? Lessee, 22 working days a month, 264 per year, 528 in 2 years, so that means about one in five days, he was at the WH, or once per week. More often, if you discount holidays and the Prez's frequent vacations. But, basically, every week, and sometimes twice a week.

Now, why would the Prez need to meet so often with the head of the IRS, a sub-cabinet level position, unless it was political. I bet he did not meet so often with some of his cabinet heads. Obama seems uninterested in actual governance, but he is that interested in the collection of taxes? Yep, I'm sure it was all about efficiency in tax collections. Yep, Obama, the Tax-Collector-in-Chief. Just doing his job.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dems are also on this, because this one is one which the voters can get. They need to stop the hemorrhaging. This is a politically-life-threatening wound. They need triage, stat! If it were not for this spurting wound, the other wounds might be readily bandaged and covered with clothing.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
seems that democRATs are realizing that a scandal against the IRS is not something that they can circle the wagons and support the president on this one.

Not if they want to stay in their cushy jobs, with all the perks
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Personally, I think the Democrats on the committees are trying desperately to get this to the "Independent" prosecutor stage ASAP so that it can be made as secret as possible. I think the last thing they want is to have Congress continue to do this investigation publicly.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
To believe that Obama knew nothing of this during the years it was going on we have to believe he is Sqt. Schultz and the Three Monkeys of Oblivion and edging very close to a potted plant.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
A legacy of debt, dishonesty and deception, what else would you expect from a Chicago street corner hustler and his henchmen. This pig really can fly.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Glassjim like your comment, my moniker for the current usurper in chief, is obozo, our clown in Thief, the UNPATRIOTIC, IRRESPONSIBLE, chicago thug lying FAILURE.

But seems we are on the same page with this
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Internal polls must be showing that Democrats are losing support...and...they can target the IRS...because nobody ever got fired for attacking the IRS.

This way...the can keep the heat off the White House. They can APPEAR to care about the abuse of political foes. Sorry, but concern trolls only lose their "troll-ness", if they attack ALL the conspirators. Including the ones in the White House.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
dems are on this because they know that they can't circle the wagons on this issue to protect their leader, and they know that FAIR Americans won't tolerate these abuses.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The likely fall guys and gals at the IRS are not players on the Democrat Team. They can join in the outrage because it really doesn't hurt them politically unless the knowledge is traced to political appointees, and it might deflect attention from Benghazi and the journalists' phone record flap.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
you think that the so called rogue agents, weren't democrats, reporting to other democrats, with the final link going in the front door of the White House, some 100+ times as former head of IRS was reported to have done
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bingo. There will go after the spokes of the wheel, but never the hub they all radiate out of, Herr Obama.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is rare in the coarse of human events in which so few have caused so much damage. We used to be entertained from time to time from the occasional scandal. But it appears that there is something systemically wrong here. Very wrong. And on a very large across-the-board scale.

We have met the enemy, and in this case it is not us...

It is the government of the USA.

For those keeping score at home, this is well over the 100th scandal of this administration. Again, systemic.

For those of us who actually did our research on Obama, this kind of crap was not only expected, it was pretty much guaranteed. It is simply the nature of his being. Corrupt to the core.

The fool in the WH has left a trail of dysfunction his entire life. There are no exceptions. Not one.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Release the Kraken!
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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