Obama and The IRS Walk Into A Bar...Illegality Ensues
Ok, it's not a bar, but there was a meeting between the White House and IRS union boss Colleen Kelley back in 2010. The American Spectator and Breitbart have reported that President Obama met with Kelley the day before the IRS began its campaign against conservative groups. Jeffrey Lord over at the Spectator found this information perusing the White House logs, which he posted on May 20.
According to the White House Visitors Log, provided here in searchable form by U.S. News and World Report, the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st.
The White House lists the IRS union leader’s visit this way:
Kelley, Colleen Potus 03/31/2010 12:30
The very next day after her White House meeting with the President, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General’s Report, IRS employees — the same employees who belong to the NTEU — set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America. The IG report wrote it up this way:
April 1-2, 2010: The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.
In short: the very day after the president of the quite publicly anti-Tea Party labor union — the union for IRS employees — met with President Obama, the manager of the IRS “Determinations Unit Program agreed” to open a “Sensitive Case report on the Tea party cases.” As stated by the IG report.
The NTEU is the 150,000 member union that represents IRS employees along with 30 other separate government agencies. Kelley herself is a 14-year IRS veteran agent. The union’s PAC endorsed President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles to anti-Tea Party candidates.
Something that may be missing from the IG report, according to Lord, is the fact that they didn't review any of the White House's emails, calls, or visitor logs. Additionally, Lord noticed another visit in 2009, where the NTEU was given more authority concerning the "day-to-day" operations of the IRS following the meeting.
Kelley is recorded as visiting the White House over a year earlier, listed in this fashion:
Kelley, Colleen Potus/Flotus 12/03/2009 18:30
The inclusion of “FLOTUS” — First Lady Michelle Obama — and the 6:30 pm time of the December event on this entry in the Visitors Log indicates this was the White House Christmas Party held that evening and written up here in the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times focused on party guests from the President’s home state of Illinois and did not mention Kelley. Notably, the Illinois guests, who are reported to have attended the same party as Kelley, included what the paper described as four labor “activists”: Dennis Gannon of the Chicago Federation of Labor, Tom Balanoff of the Service Employees International Union, Henry Tamarin of UNITE, and Ron Powell of the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Six days following Kelley’s attendance at the White House Christmas party with labor activists like herself, the President issued Executive Order 13522 (text found here, with an explanation here). The Executive Order, titled: “Creating Labor-Management Forums To Improve Delivery of Government Services” applied across the federal government and included the IRS. The directive was designed to:
Allow employees and unions to have pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters….
With the revelation of the IRS' alleged illegal activity, Kelley has sprinted into the bunker, and has been quiet about this fiasco since the story broke. Wynton Hall at Breitbart, who cited Lord's story, wrote on May 20 that all that Kelley has said about his scandal is that:
"NTEU is working to get the facts but does not have any specifics at this time...moreover, IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases. We cannot comment further at this time."
So, who's digging around with this lead, besides the Spectator? It's Bloomberg News.
Last Thursday at the President’s press conference with the Turkish prime minister, Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg News asked the following question, bold print for emphasis:
“Mr. President, I want to ask you about the IRS. Can you assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew about the agency’s actions before your Counsel’s Office found out on April 22nd? And when they did find out, do you think that you should have learned about it before you learned about it from news reports as you said last Friday? And also, are you opposed to there being a special counsel appointed to lead the Justice Department investigation?”
The President’s response? (Again bold print emphasis.)
“But let me make sure that I answer your specific question. I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked through the press.”
Take note: Goldman’s question was:
“Can you assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew about the agency’s actions before your Counsel’s Office found out on April 22nd?”
Two meetings that ended with more power given to the NTEU, which precipitated the targeting of conservative groups – and the president doesn't know anything? Additionally, while the president may or may not have know, his Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, knew last month before the story broke. So, while the Obama administration can admit to the incompetence of their most senior official on the White House staff not relaying this information to the president, questions still surround whether Obama "didn't know anything about the IG report" since those two meetings with Kelley seem to be the epicenter of the malfeasance that engulfed the IRS.
This is starting to become the opening of a very bad joke.