The PJ Tatler

The Fix Is In in the IRS Abuse Scandal

The FBI says criminal charges in the IRS abuse scandal aren’t likely.

The officials said investigators didn’t find the kind of political bias or “enemy hunting” that would amount to a violation of criminal law. Instead, what emerged during the probe was evidence of a mismanaged bureaucracy enforcing rules about tax-exemption applications it didn’t understand, according to the law-enforcement officials.

That’s bogus. President Obama himself at least set the tone that led to the abuse of conservative, Christian and Tea Party groups by calling for them to be investigated in several of his public comments. He may have done a whole lot more than just set the tone. Obama placed William Wilkins into the IRS counsel’s office, and that office was responsible for developing the IRS guidelines that led to the targeting of the president’s opponents. IRS chief counsel Wilkins met with President Obama just two days before his office handed out the guidelines that agents used to target the president’s opponents. A day after that, the head of the IRS workers union also met with President Obama. Either of these meetings looks bad, but both together look terrible. Also, then IRS commissioner Doug Shulman attended 118 meetings in the White House across the time of the abuse.

The IRS is a unionized government bureaucracy. If you want the lower-level functionaries in a unionized bureaucracy to do anything, you have to get buy-in from those above them in the bureaucracy. The BS has to roll downhill — unionized bureaucrats do not act on their own initiative, ever. Circumstantially, there’s evidence in the two meetings noted above for the BS to have been set on its path downhill to the IRS office in Cincinnati that functioned as the center of the abuse, by the president himself. President Obama has never explained what those meetings were for, if they weren’t for the purpose of starting the IRS off on its assignment to target his enemies and slow them down ahead of the 2012 election.

The White House counsel is also a politically appointed office that answers to the president. The White House counsel had developed a “careful plan” to roll out the scandal before the IRS’ Lois Lerner upset that plan with her own managed rollout.

That strongly suggests states plainly that the White House counsel — political appointee Kathryn Ruemmler at the time — knew about the abuse before it was known to the public. That’s because it did: The White House counsel knew of the targeting very early on.

The IRS targeted more than just groups formed to oppose the president. It went after individuals, too, including Christine O’Donnell and Catherine Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht, founder of the election integrity King Street Patriots group, has had to fend off an alphabet soup of federal executive branch agencies. Who has the power to coordinate the activities of all those agencies, and send them after someone doing something that the president, by suing states that enact voter ID, has made clear that he does not like? The power to make all those agencies jump rests in the White House. Nowhere else.

Unlike Chris Christie’s Bridgegate, which hardly anyone cares about, a majority of the American people have consistently believed that the IRS targeting was deliberate and political. Obama himself said it “outraged” him, before he fake-fired the interim IRS chief and put the fix in place by appointing one of his own political contributors, Barbara Bosserman, to “investigate” it. Now his political contributor says “Nothing to see here, move along.” His Treasury secretary, Jack Lew, calls the abuse a “fake scandal.” So much for the president’s alleged outrage.

Across all these revelations, just 10 of the 41 groups that the American Center for Law and Justice is representing in the IRS abuse case have even been contacted by the FBI. Just 10. Ever.

That’s not an investigation, but it was never intended to be an investigation. The fix was always in on this thing.

We had a good run as a republic, but if this stands and no one responsible is punished, then the Internal Revenue Service will be a tool of partisan politics for the foreseeable future. No one who criticizes a sitting president will be safe from harassment and abuse from a federal agency that can absolutely destroy lives.