The IRS Paints it Black
If the IRS scandal is "phony" as President Obama claims it is, then why is the agency redacting the documents that it is sending to Congress like this?
That's among the questions that Rep. Jim Jordan is asking. Jordan sits on the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the IRS' abuse of conservative groups -- abuse to which it confessed on May 10.
Jordan says that many of the 13,000 pages that the IRS sent the committee look like the ones above. Which are totally blacked out.
"How do you get to the truth, when this is the kind of information we're getting from the IRS?" Jordan asked rhetorically on Greta Van Sustern's show last night.
It's a good question. The IRS would bring the hammer down on any American who responded to an IRS audit similarly. That American would be facing jail and mountains of fines and a ruined life.
"After the president said he wants to get to the bottom of this, this is important, you know we have this, we have the FBI director who couldn't tell us who's heading the investigation, how many agents have been assigned to the investigation, have they talked to any of the victims groups? And on and on it goes," Jordan said. Jordan noted that the IRS scandal started from a planted question and IRS official Lois Lerner blaming "two rogue agents in Cincinnati."
Those two "rogue agents" must have a huge budget for black printer ink. Full page after full page of it.
President Obama set the tone for this contemptuous response by calling the scandal "phony." He thumbed his nose at the thousands of Americans whom the IRS abused, and now the IRS itself is thumbing its nose at Congress as it attempts to conduct oversight of government actions -- which is Congress' job.
The "rogue agents" claim fell apart quickly, and now multiple IRS offices have been shown to have been involved in the scandal, which reaches into the IRS counsel's office in Washington, at least. It may also have reached into the Federal Elections Commission, which would strongly indicate that the scandal itself originates above either agency, but within the executive branch. The White House, in other words.
"Here's the part that scares me," Jordan said. " We now think it goes broader than this. We think maybe groups that already had tax-exempt status were being harassed and targeted via the audit process." Jordan said that one conservative group had not been audited since 1995, but was audited by the IRS in 2011 and 2012. He also described the harassment -- and that's what it was -- that Catherine Engelbrecht suffered at the hands of multiple executive branch agencies after she founded True the Vote, which advocates for election integrity.
Van Susteren noted that it's a crime to obstruct justice, as the IRS appears to be doing by releasing reams of blacked out pages.
But there's a clock running on this scandal, and if the FBI and IRS are both actively and even aggressively failing to investigate, what are the odds that any obstructers will ever get caught? The president and his spokesman say the scandal is "phony," after all. That sent word out to everyone involved that the president's May 15 claim that he was outraged by the scandal was, itself, phony. So you don't have to tell Congress a thing.
"There's no indication that they [Obama, new IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, whose agency sent the black pages to Congress] give a damn," Van Susteren said.
Indeed. Or, they know exactly where the scandal will lead, and are downplaying it and mocking Congress to play for time.