The IRS tax fiasco has most in a frenzy. Some Democrats say the scandal reeks of Nixon. On a lighter note, Obama is keeping pace with most second term presidents, regarding political scandals and poor economic performance. This is just one of five scandals which are plaguing this administration. So much for “hope and change,” huh? This could dominate the remainder of Obama’s second term, especially as the president’s Benghazi narrative seems to be crumbling all around him. With the IRS scandal, it’s the same situation.
At the time, now-ex IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, on more than one occasion, told Congress that the targeting of conservative groups wasn’t happening back in March of 2012. Well, as the Washington Post reported on May 13, his successor, Steve Miller, was informed that the agency was executing this protocol in May of 2012.
As Ed Morrissey of Hot Air reported on May 13:
The current commissioner knew for a full year that the agency was targeting Tea Party groups and other opposition organization for aggressive auditing? And in the middle of an election year, no less? And yet, today Barack Obama insists that he knew nothing of this practice until last Friday.
This is either the most incompetent administration ever, or one of the least honest. I don’t think there’s a third option any longer, especially in this scandal.
Who told him to keep quiet? That will certainly be one of the questions. At the same time, this poses a fresh set of problems for Shulman, too. It will be very difficult to argue that he didn’t know anything about the practice in March 2012 when his chief counsel knew about it in August 2011, but that Miller came up to speed on it just after his departure. And both men will have to answer whether and when they briefed the White House on this — or whether the White House briefed them to put the practice in place.
Yet, the IRS also released confidential documents from conservative groups. According to Kim Barker and Justin Elliott at ProPublica, they received applications for non-profits by the IRS before they were made public.
The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year.
The IRS did not respond to requests Monday following up about that release, and whether it had determined how the applications were sent to ProPublica.
For Obama, the notion that he heard about this from the newspapers seems to be a lie since the White House Counsel’s office knew about the IRS’ operations in April.
The White House counsel’s office was informed in April of an inspector general’s review of the Internal Revenue Service, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.
Carney told reporters that the counsel’s office was told of the examination into the targeting of conservative groups during the week of April 22, but not given details about the review’s findings. President Obama, Carney said, was not told about the review and learned of it only after news reports emerged Friday.
Though attention has turned to the IRS and Benghazi controversies, Carney said the president will stay focused on accomplishing his goals, since that’s what Americans want. “Broadly speaking, the American people want Washington to focus on the issues that matter most to them, and that generally means focusing on growing the economy, helping it create jobs, strengthening the middle class, expanding opportunity, expanding security for middle-class families and seniors,” he said. ” And that’s what the President will continue to focus on. “
Is that why Obama has spent only 3.6% of his presidency so far trying to fix the economy?