This is really quite the novel approach to the IRS targeting scandal by congressional Democrats.
Seeking to change the narrative in order to get on top of scandal, Democrats have hit upon the idea to blame the IRS Inspector General, Russell George, for the scandal getting out of hand.
How do they figure that? It appears that many Democrats were unhappy with Mr. George’s initial report on the scandal, believing it to be “misleading.” Mmmkay, whatever. But now they’ve got a mind to file an ethics complaint against George because they think he is conspiring with Darrell Issa’s oversight committee to make the Democrats look bad and the IRS scandal worse than it really is.
Just “connect the dots,” says Rep. Connolly.
Democrats have for months said that George, Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, crafted a flawed, misleading report that helped fan the flames of the IRS targeting controversy.
Now Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) are sharply criticizing George for agreeing to brief GOP staff at a late January meeting on the Affordable Care Act without Democrats in attendance.
Aides say they now know of multiple meetings of George with the staff of Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) from which Democrats were excluded.
Two Democratic members of that panel – Reps. Matt Cartwright (Pa.) and Connolly – lodged a complaint on Wednesday about George’s original report on the IRS targeting last year, questioning his “independence, ethics, competence, and quality control” with an oversight board for inspectors general.
“If you want to connect the dots, a reasonable observer could be expected to conclude that he colluded with Issa’s staff to limit his report and the path of his investigation,” Connolly told The Hill concerning George.
“They have a tainted IG doing their bidding for them and making sure that the line of investigation is limited to what they want,” Connolly added.
Um, no — a reasonable observer would conclude that George only scratched the surface of the scandal, given what has come out since his initial report. What began as a rogue office of IRS partisans has morphed into an agency-wide effort to target conservative groups.
And how many liberal groups were “targeted” like Tea Party groups? There were 20 liberal groups who applied for tax-exempt status during the period of time in question and only six were singled out for special treatment.
Meanwhile, all 292 conservative groups came in for special scrutiny.