Why did the IRS keep the scandal quiet until after the election? Update: Treasury Dep’t knew last year

posted at 2:01 pm on May 17, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via the Standard, let’s approach the question this way: If it wasn’t the prospect of Precious losing the election that kept the lid on this until November had safely come and gone, what was it? As Lisa Myers notes below, lots of people knew that something smelly was going on and yet no one said a word. Not a single whistleblower could muster the courage to go to the media with this in 2012, despite (or because of) the fact that tea-party complaints had proliferated last spring to the point where Republican congressmen had gotten involved. There was visible smoke, but no one from the agency itself would confirm the existence of a fire until last week. Why?

Three possibilities. One: They were holding their breath in hopes that the IG’s report wouldn’t be that bad. Only last week, after discovering that it would indeed be pretty harsh, was it finally in their interest to pretend to be stand-up guys by apologizing. Why cop to wrongdoing before you know for a fact that you’re in trouble? Such is the ass-covering mindset of the fine, civic-minded employees at the IRS, apparently. Two: They wanted time to undo what they’d done, in order to make themselves appear contrite when the IG’s bombshell finally dropped. That’s super if true, but according to the IG’s timeline, less partisan criteria for processing 501(c)(4) orgs were instituted last May. They could have spent three months trying to clean up their mess and still come clean long before election day. There’s no obvious reason to wait until November, let alone May 2013. Three: It’s just what it looks like. The IRS’s higher-ups were all in the tank for another term of Hopenchange. There’s circumstantial evidence to believe that’s true, but if you’re feeling slightly more charitable, you might conclude that it wasn’t Obama himself that they were invested in so much as their own careers. If they blew the whistle on what was happening and O ended up winning the election anyway, then they’re in deep trouble for having tried, but failed, to derail their boss’s chance at history. Not a happy place to be if you’re a time-serving tax apparatchik. So they kept quiet to stay on Obama’s good side. If that’s what happened, it tells you a lot about what they think of their superiors’ capacity for politically-motivated retaliation.

Update: The NYT sees a very bad narrative developing…

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.

At the first Congressional hearing into the I.R.S. scandal, J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel of his investigation on June 4, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly thereafter.” The new information came as part of a routine briefing of the investigations that the inspector general would be conducting in the coming year, and he did not tell the officials of his conclusions that the targeting had been improper, he said.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

I don’t believe that they would ask any progressive groups what the content of their prayers were.

crosspatch on May 17, 2013 at 11:38 PM

Because everyone already knows.

Praise and save Obama and punish the evil right wingers, amen.”

profitsbeard on May 18, 2013 at 3:43 AM

This is a disgusting and diabolical use of a government agency for nefarious ends. Honest Americans in both parties should be appalled and scared by such abuse.

Random targeting of groups due to their political beliefs is more the product of thought police than a republican democracy. Whoever is involved used the auspices of government, a government we own and finance, to despotically and illegally destroy her citizens. That is not only “chilling” but destructive to the very freedoms upon which our country operates.

There is no question this was carried out by Democratic Party operatives and is therefore political in premise. Tax exempt groups applying at the same time received no similar scrutiny and in fact moved swiftly through the process. So the only question I have is who knew what and when? What were their motives?

The President has stated he found out about this last week. Yet last year, before the election this was fairly common knowledge. In fact senior officials in his administration, including Neil Wolin, were directly briefed. Again, who knew what and when? Why was this not disclosed by those who knew- especially given the criminal nature of this activity, which apparently then continued through the election? Did this not rise to something of importance to Mr. Obama either as President or a candidate? Surely such as scandal would be notable in some regard.

This entire sordid mess stinks and not simply as a matter of politics. It undercuts the very premise of our democracy by destroying a voters right to participate in free and fair elections. It adds an element of fear to freely voicing one’s political choices. That’s not just chilling, it has no place in our country and should be punished in the most punitive way to send a signal of zero tolerance for such criminal behavior.

Thus far, President Pedestrian is still sitting on the sidelines muttering how he “looked away” when the parade passed and wants to know what he missed. One begins to wonder who running our country.

Marcus Traianus on May 18, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Apparently a secret can be kept in DC, especially if it involves keeping your highly paid no show job. No one with a govt job ever gets fired, they get promoted.

Kissmygrits on May 18, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Wait, so the IRS discovered these wrongdoings, independently put a stop to them and briefed the Treasury department, AND authorized an IG investigation which then they leaked to the public. But we’re mad because they chose not to make it a campaign issues considering it has nothing to do with Obama’s governance? *yawn*

libfreeordie on May 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Why? Do you have to be that stupid to ask that?

watertown on May 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM

re:
verbaluce . . ad nauseum . .
He who argues with a fool (tool?) is an even greater fool.

barton on May 17, 2013 at 6:34 PM

As I recall, Solomon had that figured out almost 3,000 years ago. LOL

yesiamapirate on May 18, 2013 at 11:28 AM

libfreeordie on May 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Ann Barnhardt has a couple of good pieces up about you people.

tom daschle concerned on May 18, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Three: It’s just what it looks like. The IRS’s higher-ups were all in the tank for another term of Hopenchange. There’s circumstantial evidence to believe that’s true, but if you’re feeling slightly more charitable, you might conclude that it wasn’t Obama himself that they were invested in so much as their own careers. If they blew the whistle on what was happening and O ended up winning the election anyway, then they’re in deep trouble for having tried, but failed, to derail their boss’s chance at history. Not a happy place to be if you’re a time-serving tax apparatchik. So they kept quiet to stay on Obama’s good side.

I go with option Three, above.

Lourdes on May 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM

The goal was to cripple the fund raising of these groups for the 2012 election — and they succeeded.

TarheelBen on May 17, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Also correct, almost certainly, as goal.

Anyone who thinks Axelrod, Obama, Jarrett, Holder, Hillary, etc. are nice people is out of their mind.

Lourdes on May 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

“I was not told of this problem at any time before the election … Even if I was told of it, it was an on-going investigation that I couldn’t comment on … When actual evidence was developed that this problem existed, and that laws, regulations, and rules were violated, we couldn’t comment until hearing both sides … Who you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

Another Drew on May 18, 2013 at 12:11 PM

With the acquisition of power, Obama was able to substitute the IRS, and other government agencies, for the thugs at ACORN who enabled his 2008 election.

Another Drew on May 18, 2013 at 12:13 PM

The question is – “who benefits”?

The answer is – Obama personally (his re-election), the Democrats and their big govt. liberal agenda.

It is laughable to think this was being done without their knowledge. It’s like thinking all the traffic lights you’ve come to recently are now magically changing “green” just as you arrive by sheer luck. The fix was in. And even if you didn’t order it, it gets NOTICED.

Saltyron on May 18, 2013 at 12:44 PM

From the NY Times article:

In that context, he said, the screening of Tea Party groups for special scrutiny was not the scandal itself but “just the latest example of a culture of cover-ups — and political intimidation — in this administration.”

Here the NY Times is trying to limit the damage to the Obama Administration but these are career bureaucrats that have been working there long before Obama was elected in many cases. This is a culture of coverups and political intimidation that penetrates the entire “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party. The NY Times here is trying to limit the scope and blame only Obama. But we see the same sort of coverup and dishonesty in the New York state government and the government in New York City.

This is a systemic problem with the entire Democratic Party and it needs to be portrayed in that way.

crosspatch on May 18, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Why did the IRS keep the scandal quiet until after the election?

Simple answer; it probably would have made the difference in our last election.

The idea of reforming the tax code is nothing new, with 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney among the most recent to try by proposing a more across-the-board or “flatter” tax rate with fewer deductions and loopholes.

Romney was riding high in popularity on this issue and loathing for the IRS is fairly ubiquitous across the political spectrum. So combined with the first debate, could Obama’s second campaign withstood a wide-ranging scandal which got extensive coverage on an important economic issue? Or is the real scandal in covering up the fact they knew and were deeply involved in this issue? That’s hard to say and speculative. But it sure became a non-factor with no impact- which was ultimately the Obama Campaign’s intent.

As to the cover up, I suspect we are about to find more people close to the president who had very intimate knowledge of what was going on. Anyone heard from Jim Messina lately?

Marcus Traianus on May 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM

And let us not forget the leaking that the IRS did to ProPublica… funded in part by Soros… it isn’t just the rectal exam level of information, down to prayers conducted by organizations… but the ‘inadvertant release’ of such information to political groups.

Also the IRS getting its hands on your healthcare info. Isn’t that sweet? Can’t yo just wait until THAT INFORMATION gets leaked by the IRS? Because the same lady who headed up the political rectal exam unit is now heading up the Obamacare enforcement unit.

ajacksonian on May 18, 2013 at 3:54 PM

The clinton’s used the IRS as a weapon when they were in the White House and I imagine many more did the same thing with the FBI when J. Edgar Hoover was at the helm. After his death they found he had files on tons of people.

mixplix on May 18, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Asking a question like that equates to the intelligence of a snail.

mixplix on May 18, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Very simple. These guys are smart. Once the election is safely stolen, as 2012 was stolen by the Democrats, it does not matter if Obama’s henchmen (and in this case, henchwoman) broke the law. Since their side has control of the Government, no one will be prosecuted and the regime remains in power and the election remains stolen.

The IRS was instrumental in stealing the election and the election will stay stolen no matter what happens. That is all that these totalitarianists care about.

Rogervzv on May 19, 2013 at 11:01 AM

I’m really not surprised, it’s time to leave this place.
Not sure where to go, but it’s time.

mmcnamer1 on May 19, 2013 at 11:19 AM

I go with the option that most public employees vote Democrat. As an observation. Dems are risk averse – not all, but definitely the majority – “Let someone else tell me what to do; when I’m in power, I’ll tell others what to do.” They think alike – just as most secure university positions are held by Dems, so are most government positions. Rs are in the minority. (Guess we’re too busy creating real jobs, working two jobs to stay off the gov’t welfare, coaching, heaving forbid – going to church or a gun range, etc.”

Stolen election or not, this crew will stay in power – no one will impeach a minority president or a woman.

MN J on May 19, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Now the IRS is like the labor unions.
Basically they are political organizations that force you to donate to them.

esnap on May 19, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Why did the IRS keep the scandal quiet until after the election?

SERIOUSLY? You are THAT stupid that you have to ask?!

easyt65 on May 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Why did the IRS keep the scandal quiet until after the election?

Every time the main page of Hot Air loads, I see this question, and think, “That must be a rhetorical question!”

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Why did the IRS keep the scandal quiet until after the election?

Every time the main page of Hot Air loads, I see this question, and think, “That must be a rhetorical question!”

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Then again, you have Exhibit A for why you sometimes need to ask rhetorical questions…..

Wait, so the IRS discovered these wrongdoings, independently put a stop to them and briefed the Treasury department, AND authorized an IG investigation which then they leaked to the public. But we’re mad because they chose not to make it a campaign issues considering it has nothing to do with Obama’s governance? *yawn*

libfreeordie on May 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

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