Video: IRS scapegoats not exactly taking it lying down

posted at 8:01 am on May 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Last night, Barack Obama tried to take control of the narrative on one of the scandals that have rocked his administration by announcing that IRS Commissioner Steve Miller had resigned by request of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.  As it turns out, Miller was leaving in a month anyway, but the outgoing IRS chief took the time to note that the wrongdoing was limited to two IRS employees in the Cincinnati office, who had already been “disciplined” — which directly contradicts the Inspector General’s report, which shows managerial involvement since March 2010 at least, and coordination between multiple offices and units.  The report also notes that at least 300 applications got improperly obstructed, and the number is likely much higher than that.

Fox 19 in Cincinnati reports that the number doubled yesterday evening to four IRS employees, and that they’re not terribly interested in martyrdom (via Twitchy):

FOX19 has exclusively learned that as many as four people may be the first Cincinnati Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees to face disciplinary action, and possibly even criminal charges, for allegedly targeting Tea Party and Liberty groups applying for non-profit status.

On Wednesday, the IRS announced that it had pinpointed two employees at the agency’s Cincinnati office for being ‘primarily’ responsible. …

One of FOX19’s two sources went on say that these four IRS workers claim “they simply did what their bosses ordered.” FOX19 reported on Tuesday that the report by the Office of Inspector General states that senior IRS officials knew agents were targeting Tea Party groups as early as 2011.

In fact, according to that report, Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax exempt organizations, was told on June 29, 2011 that groups with ‘Tea Party’, ‘Patriot’ or ‘9/12 Project’ in their names were being flagged for additional, and often burdensome, scrutiny.

Did I say 300 organizations? According to the report, Reps. Jim Jordan and Darrell Issa now put that number closer to 500.  If it was just these four agents, they’d have to have been rather, er, productive.  Besides, if it was just four agents in one office, Lerner wouldn’t have spent two years trying to massage the process to make it look less partisan — she would have told the four to knock it off in 2011, and the IRS chief counsel would have insisted on it when notified in August 2011.

Why might Lerner have been motivated to let the harassment continue? Maybe the connections at her husband’s law firm might provide an answer:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official who apologized for targeting conservative nonprofit groups for extra scrutiny is married to an attorney whose firm hosted a voter registration organizing event for the 2012 Obama re-election campaign, praised President Obama’s policy work, and had one of its partners appointed by Obama to a key ambassadorship.

IRS Exempt Organizations Division director Lois G. Lerner, who has been described as “apolitical” in mainstream press coverage of the IRS scandal, is married to tax attorney Michael R. Miles, a partner at the law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. The firm is based in Atlanta but has a number of offices including in Washington, D.C., where Miles works.

The 400-attorney firm hosted an organizing meeting at its Atlanta office for people interested in helping with voter registration for the Obama re-election campaign.

This is not the first of Lerner’s connections to the president to surface. Earlier this week The Daily Caller reported that Lerner personally signed the tax-exemption approval for a shady charity run by Obama’s half-brother, after an inexplicably brief one-month application process.

The reason Miller claimed that the two-maybe-four employees had already been disciplined was to head off potential criminal charges.  That step would get them talking about who ordered the targeting of conservative groups.  Two of the employees in that office — who may or may not be among that supposedly rogue group — will testify to Congress on Monday, and that may give us a more credible account than two IRS agents wreaking havoc for three years — with management aware of the problem for two of those years — without being reined in until after the election.


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