In an attempt to stop the bleeding a do damage control, yesterday the Anointed One announced the resignation of acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who was are already going to step down anyway. In other words, Obama did the minimum in order to try and please the drive-bys. While he claimed in his statement late yesterday that those responsible would be held accountable and changes would be made to ensure that this never happens again … gee, that sounds familiar. Where have I heard that before?
As the days progress, we learn more and more surrounding this IRS scandal. Here are a few examples.
- Despite the claim that this was an isolated incident involving a few low-level employees, we now know that this practice of targeting conservatives branched all the way into the DC office of the IRS and affected as many as 500 organizations.
- According to reporting by NRO's Eliana Johnson, the director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements – which is the office under which tax-exempt organizations would be reviewed – is a Democrat who donated to Obama's campaign. Now, that's not to say that civil servants can't separate their work from their personal political views, but now that at least has to come into question. In fact, open records should that IRS agency employees as a whole donated big-time to Barack Obama.
- We are coming to learn that pro-life groups may have also been targeted for more intense scrutiny after refusing to say they wouldn't oppose Planned Parenthood. Some groups were asked about their religious activities.
- One conservative group has come forward to tell their story. After waiting over a year for the IRS to approve their application to start a watchdog group to monitor media and government called Media Trackers, they tried a different approach. They decided to re-apply for tax-exempt status using a different, more liberal sounding name: Greenhouse Solutions. It's status was coincidentally approved in three weeks.
- While now-former acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller called out two “rogue” Cincinnati employees for conducting the targeted inquiries, there are some reports that there may have been as many as four employees involved in the practice. These workers are claiming that "they simply did what their bosses ordered."
- According to the Washington Examiner, “Lois Lerner, the senior executive in charge of the IRS tax exemption department and the federal employee at the center of the exploding scandal over the IRS targeting of conservative, evangelical and pro-Israel non-profits, was given $42,531 in bonuses between 2009 and 2011.” We've also come to learn that Lerner's husband's law firm has strong ties to Obama.
Earlier today there was a press conference with tea party group members and members of Congress expressing collective outrage and calling for an IRS audit. One tea party member claimed that the IRS asked for 3 years worth of private emails. The ACLJ apparently has 17 clients who are ready to sue IRS.
Also earlier today, Obama was asked about the IRS scandal. He reiterated that he himself did not know anything about the IG report before it appeared in the press. While that seems hard to believe, the question remains: Did anyone in the White House know about the IRS targeting of conservative groups before the IG report was officially given to the White House a few weeks ago? Obama also told us today that he believes that there is no reason for a special counsel probe of the IRS.
Marco Rubio is right in pointing out that this IRS story wreaks of a culture of intimidation that has been promoted by the Obama administration. While he doesn't have to explicitly give orders to target tea party groups, when he goes out there and says “we're going to punish our enemies and reward our friends who stand with us,” what kind of message does that send? As Rubio says, and I agree, this administration is all about politics all the time. We are in a never-ending campaign, which leads to targeting our enemies for political gain rather than leading our nation.