IRS Lawyer Says Scandal Was Overseen by D.C.


"Top IRS officials in Washington, D.C. planned and oversaw the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups, according to the 72-year old retiring IRS lawyer who will testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee," the Daily Caller reports:

Retiring IRS lawyer Carter C. Hull implicated the IRS Chief Counsel’s office, headed by Obama appointee William J. Wilkins, and Lois Lerner, the embattled head of the IRS’ exempt organizations office, in the IRS targeting scandal and made clear that the targeting started in Washington, according to leaked interviews that Hull granted to the Oversight Committee in advance of Thursday’s hearing.

Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George will return to Republican chairman Darrell Issa’s committee Thursday along with two central characters in the IRS saga: Hull and Cincinnati-based IRS employee Elizabeth Hofacre, who previously gave Hull’s name to congressional investigators, fingering him as her Washington-based supervisor.

Hull is naming names.

“In April 2010, Mr. Hull was instructed to scrutinize certain Tea Party applications by one of his superiors in Washington. According to Mr. Hull, these applications were used as ‘test’ cases and assigned to him because of his expertise and because IRS leadership in Washington was ‘trying to find out how [the IRS] should approach these organizations, and how [the IRS] should handle them,’” according to Oversight Committee documents.

“According to Hull’s testimony, Ms. Lerner…gave an atypical instruction that the Tea Party applications undergo special scrutiny that included an uncommon multi-layer review that involved a top advisor to Lerner as well as the Chief Counsel’s office,” according to Oversight Committee documents.

Much more, right after the page break.

As Ace noted last week, "Lerner Embraces Theory That The Process Is The Punishment" -- and does so quite publicly and cavalierly:

Patterico found an important Lerner quote from 2011:

1 March, 2010 – IRS officials start targeting organizations with “tea party”, “patriot”, and “9-12;" in their names.27 June, 2011 – Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Operations, learns of the inappropriate targeting. She initiates an audit of the office involved, but the targeting continues.

17 November, 2011 – Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Operations, tells Businessweek that receiving a thick questionnaire from the IRS is a “behavior changer.”

Incredible. Patterico is taken with the fact that she admits this to a magazine; if this is the sort of thinking she brags about to a national news magazine, one can only tremble at what she's holding back.

In America -- in any free country -- you are supposed to be free from punishment and compulsion unless you are found guilty of some misbehavior through Due Process.

But Lois Lerner doesn't like that idea. Instead, she embraces the notion that people can and should be punished and compelled into acting the way she prefers, not after Due Process has found them blameworthy, but before anyone even thinks to file charges.

She's decided that the process itself can and should be a tool of state coercion. She doesn't need a finding from a legal tribunal to impose burdens on freedoms and to compel what she considers "correct" behavior -- she'll serve as judge and jury herself, and impose the punishment of a "thick questionnaire" as a tool of "behavior change."

For Lerner, trying to cohesively strong arm others into changing their "behavior" is a pattern that dates back at least into the previous decade:

Under the direction of Lois Lerner, the Federal Election Commission sued the Christian Coalition in the 1990s. She harassed the Christian Coalition for three election cycles. Eventually, she lost her case. At one point Lerner even asked a conservative if Pat Robertson prayed over him. (Sound familiar?)

Then there’s this…

Lois Lerner made this offer to Republican Senate candidate Al Salvi in 1996, “Promise me you will never run for office again, and we’ll drop this case.”

Tomorrow (Thursday) should be fun if this report plays out:

FOX News reporter Carl Cameron told Bill O'Reilly tonight that on Thursday House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has information that will move the IRS scandal up into the White House. "What he said to me today was make sure to watch tomorrow's hearing because he's going to present the evidence to prove it.... That he can get it right up all the way into the White House before it was all revealed."

And just as a reminder, in 2009 President Obama “joked” about siccing the IRS on his enemies.