IRS Commissioner: Yeah, we staged that Lerner apology

posted at 12:41 pm on May 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

As the New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman said 90 minutes into the hearing, this was one of the few really interesting revelations at today’s grilling of IRS Commissioner Steve Miller.  Remember the impromptu, extemporaneous apology given by Lois Lerner a week ago at a law conference for the targeting of conservative groups, an apology that at the same time tried to minimize the scope of the violations?  Yeah, that was no accident:

Rep Nunes asked, “Was her question to Ms. Lerner about targeting certain groups planned in advance?”

Miller replied, “I believe we talked about that, yes.”

In other words, the IRS knew full well what the IG report would say about targeting conservative groups looking for tax-exempt status, and wanted to shape the media battlefield ahead of time.  Just how did they know that?  The IG could have shared that data with them, perhaps to check for accuracy; that could be part of the process.  However, even if leadership only learned of these issues during some kind of check, Lerner’s apology was incredibly dishonest considering the scope of the findings in the IG report, and now we have confirmation that it was planned in advance — and set up to look extemporaneous, to boot.

What does that say about IRS leadership’s honesty and credibility?

That’s not to say that there weren’t lighter moments.  Miller’s big concern?  Customer service (via Twitchy and the Washington Examiner):

Er …

Also, Miller is very concerned about the use of the term “targeting” (via NRO’s Eliana Johnson):

Acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller took issue with the use of the word “targeting” as it relates to the IRS’s singling out of Tea Party and other conservative groups, calling it a “loaded term.”

In an exchange with Republican representative Kevin Brady, Miller said, “I’m going to take exception to the concept of targeting, because it’s a loaded term,” and one that “describes something that didn’t exist here.”

All evidence to the contrary.


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The foxes are guarding the fox house. I don’t think there are any hens left.

The Rogue Tomato on May 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM

shawked

phatfawzi on May 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM

It explains why the new acting commissioner was coincidentally promoted a few days before: he was their fall guy.

blammm on May 17, 2013 at 12:40 PM

This is NOT a good or decent person.

Jabberwock on May 17, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Is Miller a tax cheat also?

docflash on May 17, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Wait… If they staged it they knew the internal report and decided to damage control it…

That had to come from above and the one person who had the lost at stake said he didn’t know about it because the report wasn’t released yet…

Skywise on May 17, 2013 at 12:43 PM

so if i get this right? the department that makes sure were all honest LIED? OK i get it. Just wanted to make sure.

phatfawzi on May 17, 2013 at 12:43 PM

In an exchange with Republican representative Kevin Brady, Miller said, “I’m going to take exception to the concept of targeting, because it’s a loaded term,” and one that “describes something that didn’t exist here.”

“Targeting, Congressman Brady, is what right wing whackos like Sarah Palin does, with pictures of targets and all, and we didn’t use any pictures.”

TXUS on May 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Terp Mole on May 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Great reference. I’ll take it farther: Government has arranged to kidnap its own “wife”- and taxpayers are father-in-law Wade, who’s expected to come up with the ransom money.

Bat Chain Puller on May 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Horrible Customer Service

Bwahahahahahahaha

TAKE’n from a man’s labor … no different from slavery..

tooo bad them slave owners n da south didn’t practice “good customer service”

roflmmfao

donabernathy on May 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM

These people (liberals in charge) have no conscience. They believe government is the answer, and therefore only have to answer to themselves. It’s all a big party, complete with hats and hooters.

kirkill on May 17, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Man it is hard to not go on a profanity laced rant in these comments.

CycloneCDB on May 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Every American citizen should watch this hearing to see who will be in charge of their most personal medical information…!!!!!!!!!!!!

d1carter on May 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM

It’s a pipe dream, but Congress should reciprocate the contempt the IRS commissioner showed Congress today and completely defund the entire IRS organization! That would hopefully get their attention…

geojed on May 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Is the government throttling our comments here at HA…? Slow down…!

d1carter on May 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Taxpayers aren’t the ‘customers’ of the IRS. They are the EMPLOYERS of the IRS.

Resist We Much on May 17, 2013 at 12:48 PM

This guy is really restoring my faith in big government!

/sarc

I can’t wait to find out what “bad customer service” looks like under ObamaCare.

gwelf on May 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

So your faking this from top to bottom, and we’re supposed to trust you to be completely honest and forthright from now on?

On a sidenote, except for a few brief appearances by libfree to yap about a black church being burned down in 1802, this week has been low-troll. Curious.

Bishop on May 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

On a sidenote, except for a few brief appearances by libfree to yap about a black church being burned down in 1802, this week has been low-troll. Curious.

Bishop on May 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Can’t wait.

Who’s The Racist? The Most Racist Countries In The World And The Answers Will Surprise Only The Race-Mongers

Resist We Much on May 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Is everyone testifying about the IRS being put under oath?

slickwillie2001 on May 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

What does that say about IRS leadership’s honesty and credibility?

WHAT ‘HONESTY’ AND ‘CREDIBILITY’?

GarandFan on May 17, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Rep Mike Kelly just finished up…..the gallery erupted in applause.

CoffeeLover on May 17, 2013 at 12:50 PM

No retirement – jail. No pension, no healthcare plan, just fines and imprisonment. For a *shitload* of IRS people, damnit.

Midas on May 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Miller’s big concern? Customer service.

Democrats’ solution: We should outsource this to phone operators in Mexico. And any phone operator and every remote family member can have U.S. citizenship.

BuckeyeSam on May 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

In a just world this guy would be led from the hearing in handcuffs…

d1carter on May 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

The House GOP, if they had any balls at all (yeah, I know) need to do a few things immediately.

Voting to repeal ObamaCare is fun and all, but we know it goes nowhere in the Senate (at least for now).

DEFUND it. Starve the beast.

And we’d better start having some serious discussions about a total revamping of the tax code- eliminate the income tax, and start de-funding the IRS while you’re at it.

Enough already.

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on May 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM

No retirement – jail. No pension, no healthcare plan, just fines and imprisonment. For a *shitload* of IRS people, damnit.

Midas on May 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

This.

Let’s see how many of them howl and scream their way to the top of the problem when faced with real punishment.

VibrioCocci on May 17, 2013 at 12:56 PM

The Conservative customer is always WRONG …

- IRS motto

ShainS on May 17, 2013 at 12:56 PM

The Tea Party weren’t “Targeted”.

They were just zeroed in on for IRS harassment.

portlandon on May 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I grew up hearing stories from my grandparents about the communist Russia that they escaped as German Russians, but today’s hearings brought tears to my eyes. I can’t believe this is my country and the country my grandparents were so proud to become citizens of and my father fought for in WWII. Please, someone tell me we can be saved.

lea on May 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Even though it’s risible in the context, I’d give the IRS Commish a break on “horrible customer service.” Given the nature of all large organizations — with their mission statements and accompanying objectives to service “customers” and other stakeholders — that’s much how IRS leadership undoubtedly sees it.

But sadly, it just shows how out of touch managers in large organizations can be.

bobs1196 on May 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM

On a sidenote, except for a few brief appearances by libfree to yap about a black church being burned down in 1802, this week has been low-troll. Curious.

Bishop on May 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

yeah, but what a fire it was!

I think sesquapredictable mentioned something about being out of pickled baby’s feet.

kirkill on May 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

These poor IRS people are just doing the jobs that “normal” Americans won’t do.

kirkill on May 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Not mentioned here is this is the fellow Hillary brought in to arrange for the IRS audits of the Clinton women and enemies. Remember? And here he was, back at the IRS and that did not raise suspicion?

pat on May 17, 2013 at 1:05 PM

This charlatan was promised his great pension, and all the bennies, in exchange for all the lies.

How does any sane person believe a single word from these thugs?

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM

On a sidenote, except for a few brief appearances by libfree to yap about a black church being burned down in 1802, this week has been low-troll. Curious.
 
Bishop on May 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

 
I missed that one. I remember something about shrubbery and reading up on Korean pickled cabbages, though.

rogerb on May 17, 2013 at 1:07 PM

>>Customer service

Please don’t taze audit me bro

bbordwell on May 17, 2013 at 1:07 PM

“I want to give unelected bureaucrats like Steve Miller more power and more authority over my life, and especially my children’s lives! Big Government FTW!” -Average Dem voter

visions on May 17, 2013 at 1:07 PM

I’d have to check my notes – Miller

You have notes on that?

Ummm…No – Miller

You just said you have notes on that meeting…Now you’re saying you don’t have notes?

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:08 PM

On a sidenote, except for a few brief appearances by libfree to yap about a black church being burned down in 1802, this week has been low-troll. Curious.

Bishop on May 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

1. In re-ed

2. Intoxicated from all the crap

3. Working harder…’cause sugah daddy’s in trouble

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Please detail the contents of your prayers – IRS

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Carnac the magnificent holds the envelope to his head.

“How did the man working on his rain gutter fall down?”

Could be the latter…

selderane on May 17, 2013 at 1:15 PM

The Rogue Tomato on May 17, 2013 at 1:11 PM

The Conservative customer is always WRONG …

- IRS motto

ShainS on May 17, 2013 at 12:56 PM

It’s Rush Limbaugh’s Fault

Democratic Caucus & Il Duce’s motto

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:12 PM

It’s mealy-mouthed bureaucrats like this that make me wish I was serving on this committee. It would give me perverse pleasure to reduce this guy to tears with the worst dressing-down he’s ever gotten.

CurtZHP on May 17, 2013 at 1:12 PM

IRS…Your Shadow Government at Work

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Carnac the Magnificent holds the envelope to his head.

“When should Obama resign?”

NOW.

Chris of Rights on May 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

The Rogue Tomato on May 17, 2013 at 1:14 PM

PLEASE make Kelly’s statements and applause available, HA !
Didn’t record it, and hubby needs to see/hear it !!!

pambi on May 17, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Having dealt with the IRS about back taxes, I can affirm that it does indeed have horrible customer services. You will never get the same answer from different phone reps about the same question. You often get contradictory answers, in fact. But each time they’ll insist the current answer is Gospel truth.

I remember I had a payment agreement setup that I was running late on. “Submit payment by X date or the agreement will be canceled,” they said. Now, it costs over $100 to set one of those things up (don’t ask me why) so I really didn’t want to have to do it again. So I went online and submitted my payment before X date. However, it didn’t post to their system until after X date. They said the agreement was canceled.

“No,” I said, “As you can see I submitted the payment on time. There shouldn’t be a new agreement.”

“The system canceled your agreement, so you need a new one,” they replied.

“But I paid on time. I paid before the deadline. I shouldn’t have to do this.”

And on and on it went for weeks. Finally, they re-instituted the original agreement. But, my God… I almost feel bad for the people working there. It’s like critical thought has been beaten out of them. That or the IRS simply hires people who don’t think.

Could be the latter…

selderane on May 17, 2013 at 1:15 PM

This is much worse than Watergate as potentially millions of voters were denied by the IRS the truth about this administration.

bucknut on May 17, 2013 at 1:16 PM

pat

at 1:05

Do you have where you got the info that Miller did a audits of Clinton women for Hillbeast.

If so there is a possible this is the Clintons depth charge they let go on Obama, after they figured Obama was going to blame her for Benzazie…..

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

So…ummm…

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/report-irs-deliberately-chose-not-fess-scandal-election_724711.html

I’m going to say it again. Shut. It. Down.

NOW.

Chris of Rights on May 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

The concept that citizens are the “customers” of the IRS is strange. The IRS is not a business with customers.

Is there any business in the private sector that could jail you and seize your private property for not using their services and giving them money?

visions on May 17, 2013 at 1:19 PM

When Obama prances around the country shouting to businesses…You didn’t build that…

It’s not so strange.

Miller and likely most of the IRS crew are leftists.

The Dept. of Treasury has their own Union…and they contribute mostly to the DNC and democrats…

In 2012 Union membership gave $1,000 to republicans and over $100,000 to democrats.

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:18 PM

“Fundamentally change America”…we’re going to have to take apart this government one Fascist/Socialist/Commie at at time.
It will take years to overcome the effect Dear Leader has had on our country and its media.

d1carter on May 17, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Please, someone tell me we can be saved.

lea on May 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Yes, but it requires speaking out when you least want to and be willing to endure the consequences of speaking out.

darwin on May 17, 2013 at 1:18 PM

I sense Jarrett’s fingerprints in this mess. Lerner has to go, and Sarch Hall Ingram needs to be re-assigned or fired. Will not stand letting her oversee the Obamacare agenda. Cannot be trusted.

Amazingoly on May 17, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Well the IRS just ought to update their phone system to do the following:

If you are a member of a conservative group, Press 1.

If you are a associated with a Jewish group, Press 2.

If you plan to protest Planned Parenthood, Press 3.

If you plan to oppose Green Energy, Press 4.

If you plan to protest Obamacare, Press 5.

And the recording upon pressing those options simply ought to state, you are now being transferred to Homeland Security. I mean the IRS leaders talk about poor customer service and the reason they targeted conservative groups was to be more efficient. I mean, lets provide some solutions here and cut out the middle man. /

rsherwd65 on May 17, 2013 at 1:19 PM

The concept that citizens are the “customers” of the IRS is strange. The IRS is not a business with customers.

Is there any business in the private sector that could jail you and seize your private property for not using their services and giving them money?

visions on May 17, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Is Congress permitted to Waterboard witnesses to get a truthful answer to the question asked?

meci on May 17, 2013 at 1:20 PM

A customer is someone who voluntarily comes to you for a mutual exchange of good or valuable consideration. The IRS seizes property at the point of a gun. I’m not your damn customer, pal, and I want you to be a federal prisoner.

RadClown on May 17, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Really, the “customer service” term says all you need to know.

We really and truly have lost the concept of government of and by the people. I totally agree with shutting it down. This is insane.

ORconservative on May 17, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Time for decimination of the IRS (yes, in the military sense)

One out of ten employees from the division are fired at random. Only those that come clean will be spared.

blammm on May 17, 2013 at 1:28 PM

You want to know how deeply the IRS lies? They send people to prison who figure out that filing tax returns are completely voluntary according to Treasury Department regulations and the IRS Manual. In fact, the IRS does more than lie. They ruin honest peoples’ lives. THAT’s what they do. The good news: if you know how to fight ‘em, they back off. Trust me.

HiJack on May 17, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller took issue with the use of the word “targeting” as it relates to the IRS’s singling out of Tea Party and other conservative groups, calling it a “loaded term.”

Like when Sarah Palin talked about some House Democrats “targeted” for defeat.

But unlike Sarah Palin, whose political opinions are well-known, the IRS is supposed to be a politically neutral agency which collects taxes according to the laws voted by Congress.

Since the Tea Party, Patriot, and other conservative groups supported Republicans over Democrats, weren’t they “targeted” in the Sarah Palin sense?

IRS Commissioner at hearing: “We provided horrible customer service here. I will admit that. Horrible customer service.”

Customer service? A customer is a person who buys something of value from a seller. What has the IRS ever sold to us for our taxes? If the IRS wasn’t a government agency with the power to collect taxes, no one would buy anything from the IRS!!!

This is not “horrible customer service”. This is coercive use of government power for political purposes.

Exit question for Steven Miller: Who told you and the IRS to do this?

Steve Z on May 17, 2013 at 1:32 PM

OK,

So, this Miller was the goong the Clintons sent to audit Judical Watch back in the 1980′s.

So, I smell revenge on Obama on this by the Clintons.

If true, this would be huge imnsho.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 17, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Gotta wonder: was Jim Crow just a matter of horrible customer service?

matt curtis on May 17, 2013 at 1:33 PM

dictatorship
secret police
state controlled media
and more

who the hell will stand up for The United States?

losarkos on May 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM

What a day for HA to be broken…

d1carter on May 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Is it still America?

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Washington Examiner May 14, 2013 by Paul Bedard

Deja vu: IRS boss of Tea Party probes targeted anti-Clinton groups in 1990′s..

connections

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 17, 2013 at 1:38 PM

The concept that citizens are the “customers” of the IRS is strange. The IRS is not a business with customers.

Is there any business in the private sector that could jail you and seize your private property for not using their services and giving them money?

visions on May 17, 2013 at 1:19 PM

This is the Orwellian Newspeak of the Obama Administration. Like taxpayer subsidies to the Solyndras and Fisker Karmas of the world are “investments” in clean, green energy. With a rate of return of negative 100%.

If we the “customers” of the IRS are the coerced “investors” in Solyndra et al. and Obama’s wonderful windmills and choo-choo trains, WE DEMAND OUR DIVIDENDS!!! NOW!!!

Steve Z on May 17, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Is it still America?

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM

I guess it depends on our definition of “America”, but as far as I’m concerned it hasn’t been America for a long…long…time.

HiJack on May 17, 2013 at 1:43 PM

So who was the plant at the ABA conference, that asked Lerner about targeting certain groups?

Was this a member of the media – willing to play along? Or some political hack, that just slipped in to ask the question?

Hill60 on May 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I grew up hearing stories from my grandparents about the communist Russia that they escaped as German Russians, but today’s hearings brought tears to my eyes. I can’t believe this is my country and the country my grandparents were so proud to become citizens of and my father fought for in WWII. Please, someone tell me we can be saved.

lea on May 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM

This might sound familiar to you: Back in the USSR

What we have now discovered about Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s America, if we didn’t already know it, is that any belief in a benign and decent government in this country is absolute horseshit. Liberalism has been revealed as a fascist joke.

slickwillie2001 on May 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

http://washingtonexaminer.com/irs-boss-of-tea-party-probes-targeted-anti-clinton-group-in-1990s/article/2529533

I asked FNC to check it out since the hearning didn’t address it.

amr on May 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Lighter moment???!!! Yous gotta be kidding me. False analogy.

CUSTOMERS, in this case, do not have a choice of not patronizing their provided service.

Sir Napsalot on May 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

I’ve been a government employee before. This is a failure of management. Rank-and-file IRS agents know exactly what they’re supposed to do and not supposed to do. They would not have done this without directives, I don’t care what the numbers say about party affiliation. This rot goes deep.

alwaysfiredup on May 17, 2013 at 2:51 PM

NYT: Official Says Treasury Dept. Knew of I.R.S. Inquiry in 2012

The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was investigating allegations that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted conservative groups, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.

Resist We Much on May 17, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Every time I see a photo of Steve Miller I always think about this episode form the Three Stooges (hint: tarantula)

OxyCon on May 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM

You know who else had bad customer service?

Kermit Gosnell.

myiq2xu on May 17, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Tea Party

Just thought I would use fowl words on the internet….

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 17, 2013 at 5:26 PM

More “horrible customer service” from Democrats.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on May 18, 2013 at 1:10 AM