House Leadership Lays Down a Marker to White House in IRS Scandal
In a memo going out from House GOP leaders to rank and file members today, the White House has been put on notice that it must cooperate with future information requests in the growing IRS scandal.
Congress has a responsibility to determine
not only who is responsible for this outrage, but also how it was allowed to continue despite repeated concerns and inquires raised by Congress. In addition, answers are needed as to why senior IRS officials did not correct the record after learning of the problem.
The House investigation enters a new phase now that the allegations of political bias, denied for two years, have been revealed to be true. On Wednesday, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller submitted his resignation at the request of the White House and the Department of the Treasury.
Whether or not the Administration is sincere in its condemnation of these actions will quickly be revealed by its willingness to cooperate with Congress, turn over requested documents, and make officials available for interviews with congressional investigators. A failure to swiftly and fully comply with congressional requests will speak louder than any words of apology or condemnation could.
The memo is address to all House members, from Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, and House Government Oversight and Reform Chairman Darrell Issa.
Miller's testimony earlier today was consistently uninformative. When asked for specific information and names of individuals involved in the abuse, Miller tended answer with variations of "I don't know."
Attorney General Eric Holder followed a similar pattern earlier in the week when he testified about the Department of Justice's sweep of Associated Press phone records.
When he was asked about his knowledge of the IRS scandal at the White House Thursday, President Barack Obama likewise refused to answer directly, and instead offered a lawyerly reply that did not answer the question at all.
Today's memo suggests that going forward, the House will expect the White House to stop claiming that it finds the IRS' actions outrageous, and just comply with any investigations demanding information, witnesses and answers.
The memo also offers a comprehensive timeline of the major events in the IRS abuse scandal.