Former IRS Commissioner: I visited WH once in four years; Update: Did Shulman actually attend those meetings? Update: Daily Caller responds

posted at 1:21 pm on May 31, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House so often that he averaged one visit per week, far more than most if not all of Obama’s Cabinet members.  His successor, Steve Miller, visited about once a month, according to White House logs.  Shulman visited the West Wing three times more often than his boss, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in the same period.

What about Shulman’s predecessor?  Bill O’Reilly interviewed Mark Everson, whose 2003-7 tenure came directly before Shulman’s.  Everson had a slightly lower rate of White House visits as IRS Commissioner, averaging one per … lifetime:

Former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman’s 157 White House visits is an “unusual fact pattern,” according to another former commissioner of the agency.

“I only went over there, to my recollection, once on a policy matter,” Mark Everson, who served from 2003 to 2007, told Bill O’Reilly last night. (He explained that it was an interagency policy meeting on immigration reform.)

Although Everson said Shulman probably would have had more reasons to go to the White House because of the IRS’s role in implementing the Affordable Care Act, he still found the frequency of Shulman’s visits, from 2008 to 2012, surprising, especially given that it was even higher than the secretaries of state and defense. “That’s an unusual fact pattern,” Everson chuckled.

It is an unusual fact pattern, as Megan McArdle writes at The Daily Beast.  While McArdle doesn’t believe that it’s evidence of a conspiracy of wrongdoing, the White House and Shulman need to explain his near-constant presence in the West Wing nonetheless:

Last week, conservatives were saying that former IRS head Douglas Shulman had been to the White House 118 times, while his predecessor had visited the Bush era White House only once.  I didn’t write about it because I idly assumed that this reflected some underlying change in administration management style or legislative priorities; perhaps, for example, he’d been there talking about Obamacare implementation and changes in tax enforcement.

But the Daily Caller has now compiled a list of White House visits by various administration officials, and Shulman sure does seem to visit a lot more than other folks.

Shulman initially told Congress that he was needed to plan the implementation of ObamaCare. McArdle rejects that explantion for a reason that becomes obvious when one sees the graphic supplied by the Daily Caller. Kathleen Sebelius has by far the most responsibility for ObamaCare implementation, and as HHS Secretary is also an Obama Cabinet official who’s supposed to report directly to the White House, unlike an IRS Commissioner, who should be reporting to the Secretary of the Treasury (or more likely a Deputy Secretary).  However, Kathleen Sebelius visited the White House less than 50 times in the same period as Shulamn’s 157 visits, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had the same number as Sebelius.

McArdle sets up a rather simple and telling test for the Obama administration on transparency:

Nonetheless, I think the White House should explain this.  Maybe the Daily Caller has missed people who came to the White House more often, or otherwise made a mistake with the data.  Or maybe they haven’t.  But presumably the administration knows why Shulman was there–there will be day planning entries, memos, meeting notes, and so forth.  Since I presume that these meetings were innocent, they should release them.

And if they don’t, well, expect the House Oversight Committee to subpoena them.  If the White House claims executive privilege, perhaps McArdle’s presumption will change.

Investors Business Daily wants an explanation too — and is much more skeptical of why an IRS Commissioner got called to the West Wing on a weekly basis:

We are asked to believe that these visits, which included one Easter Egg roll, were merely to discuss the IRS’ role in enforcing ObamaCare with fees, taxes and penalties — a frightening-enough prospect — and that discussion of the IRS’ targeting of the Tea Party and letters from 132 members of Congress complaining about the abuse of federal power never came up.

We are also asked to believe that the IRS, the enforcement body of ObamaCare, on its own initiative, decided to harass and intimidate Tea Party groups that arose out of opposition to ObamaCare and dealt the administration a heavy blow by giving the GOP control of the House in 2010.

Some have said the IRS actions were prompted by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations, associations or labor unions. We would suggest another pivotal moment was Scott Brown’s election as Republican senator from Massachusetts after he campaigned as the 41st vote against ObamaCare.

What we do believe is that the IRS actions were politically motivated and organized at the highest levels of the Obama administration.

Let’s hope that a robust investigation of everyone involved will make it clear what was going on at the IRS and in Shulman’s regular visits to the White House.

Update: For a contrary opinion on this point, be sure to read Yuval Levin at The Corner:

I was a mid-level staffer in the Bush White House, working on HHS issues. If I or a colleague were to have a meeting with the Secretary of HHS, we would often go to him, since he was a cabinet secretary and we weren’t. He would come to the White House to meet with the president, chief of staff, or very senior advisors, which happens more rarely than staff-level meetings. But if we were going to meet with, say, the commissioner of the FDA rather than the secretary, he would be much more likely to come to the White House.

I suspect the IRS commissioner would do the same. He would probably attend deputies-level meetings, or maybe even PCC meetings (policy coordinating committee, one level below the deputies) at the White House on issues central to his agency. The sheer number of White House visits by Shulman is no doubt striking, but to me precisely that high number suggests a pattern of regular repeating meetings—like a regular weekly or biweekly meeting. In the course of an intense policy process around Obamacare implementation, for instance, it’s easy to imagine a regular deputies-level meeting, and you can be sure the commissioner of the IRS, which is central to that implementation, would be there.

That doesn’t mean Shulman didn’t tell White House officials about the agency’s targeting of conservative groups or coordinate with them, though it doesn’t mean he did. It’s certainly an extremely high volume of meetings, and it surely sheds a light on the problematic role of the IRS in Obamacare implementation, if nothing else. But I don’t see a necessary or even likely connection to the shocking misbehavior of the agency and its leaders toward conservative groups. Why would coordinating that behavior with the White House (if that’s what’s being implied) have required 157 meetings?

It would be helpful (and entirely appropriate) if the White House explained what these meetings were about. Deep suspicion of the IRS is very clearly warranted, and the White House should acknowledge that. But I think it’s a mistake for critics of the agency’s outrageous mistreatment of conservative groups to focus on this question of meetings. It’s a distraction from the very real and serious scandal here and so takes away from the attention and scrutiny the IRS should be getting, and it just doesn’t seem like much of a red flag.

I think Levin’s still making the McArdle case here, though, which is that this is unusual enough — especially with Everson’s testimony — that the White House needs to offer a clear and detailed explanation.  If they have one, fine.  If not, well …

Meanwhile, The Corner’s Jonah Goldberg has a more humorous take on it, and thinks there’s more going on here than Levin does:

“It’s like asking someone why you were at Hooters a hundred times last year, and all he says is ‘They have chicken wings!’”  Yes, that’s a keeper.

Update: The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta disputes the Daily Caller’s data:

And yet the public meeting schedules available for review to any media outlet show that very thing: Shulman was cleared primarily to meet with administration staffers involved in implementation of the health-care reform bill. He was cleared 40 times to meet with Obama’s director of the Office of Health Reform, and a further 80 times for the biweekly health reform deputies meetings and others set up by aides involved with the health-care law implementation efforts. That’s 76 percent of his planned White House visits just there, before you even add in all the meetings with Office of Management and Budget personnel also involved in health reform.

Complicating the picture is the fact that just because a meeting was scheduled and Shulman was cleared to attend it does not mean that he actually went. Routine events like the biweekly health-care deputies meeting would have had a standing list of people cleared to attend, people whose White House appointments would have been logged and forwarded to the check-in gate. But there is no time of arrival information in the records to confirm that Shulman actually signed in and went to these standing meetings.

Indeed, of the 157 events Shulman was cleared to attend, White House records only provide time of arrival information — confirming that he actually went to them — for 11 events over the 2009-2012 period, and time of departure information for only six appointments. According to the White House records, Shulman signed in twice in 2009, five times in 2010, twice in 2011, and twice in 2012. That does not mean that he did not go to other meetings, only that the White House records do not show he went to the 157 meetings he was granted Secret Service clearance to attend.

If the Daily Caller has an update, I’ll post it here.

Update: Vince Coglianese responds by pointing out that this is just another version of the incompetence defense:

The liberal Atlantic website published a piece Friday morning speculating that the number of Shulman’s actual White House visits could be as low as 11, despite widespread coverage of those revelations on Thursday.

“Complicating the picture is the fact that just because a meeting was scheduled and Shulman was cleared to attend it does not mean that he actually went,” wrote The Atlantic, suggesting that Shulman may have skipped out on up to 146 different White House meetings he was expected at — despite his name appearing on the visitors logs for those meetings.

The Atlantic offers no source for that claim, but Dan Pfeiffer — White House senior adviser to the president for strategy and communications — latched onto the article Friday morning on his official White House Twitter account. “Def Worth a Read,” Pfeiffer tweeted, marking the first time the White House has addressed Shulman’s unusually frequent visits.

The claim that White House visitor records might only show information about a visitor’s pre-clearance — and not an actual visit — is not something the White House reveals in its disclosure policy. Additionally, as TheDC has previously reported, not every visit by top administration officials requires that the official physically signs in.

Some visits by top officials are never even noted in the visitors logs. A comparison of the situation room photo from the night of the bin Laden raid — May 1, 2011 — to the visitor logs, for example, shows that several of the officials in the photo never appear in the public access records.

The White House voluntary disclosure policy does reveal that visitor names are often left off the logs for a variety of reasons — listed below — including personal visitors of the president and national security.

While the White House has fought to keep individuals who fall under those exceptions away from the public eye, Friday’s pushback against Shulman’s name appearing 157 times in the logs appears to mark the first time the White House has suggested that visitors who appear in the access records may not have visited at all.

The White House did not respond to The Daily Caller’s multiple requests for comment for clarification, for either this report or Thursday’s.

 

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He should be investigated for failing to support the Annual WH Easter Egg Race!

Snowblind on May 31, 2013 at 1:24 PM

That’s a lot of smoke!

ElectricPhase on May 31, 2013 at 1:26 PM

I’m sure the Postal Service visits the White House everyday too. Maybe they are in on this massive tin-foil conspiracy too.

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

“It’s like asking someone why you were at Hooters a hundred times last year, and all he says is ‘They have chicken wings!’” Yes, that’s a keeper.

I don’t think Obama has been at the WH 157 times….

So surely Obama wasn’t involved. – LSM

Electrongod on May 31, 2013 at 1:29 PM

I don’t think Obama has been at the WH 157 times….

So surely Obama wasn’t involved. – LSM

Electrongod on May 31, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Someone was suggesting that there needs to be a cross check of the time that Obama was at the WH against the time the IRS director was there.

davidk on May 31, 2013 at 1:31 PM

directer s/b commissioner (of course)

davidk on May 31, 2013 at 1:33 PM

1/157 ratio, that we know of.

Imagine how many times the thugs met, off the record.

Nixon has been redeemed by Obama, and then some.

The US has zero moral authority and decency left.

Obama destroyed all.

The collective world laughs.

Obama is illegitimate in his 2nd term. He ‘won’ as did Putin and Chavez.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 1:33 PM

The TEA party and all in 2014 should run to dissolve the IRS and exchange the taxes for a consumer tax.

Get rid of the La Cosa Nostra.

The producing citizens, mainly the middle class, deserve way better.

The gov’t is out of control, from the stupid House, to all others.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 1:34 PM

While McArdle doesn’t believe that it’s evidence of a conspiracy of wrongdoing, the White House and Shulman need to explain his near-constant presence in the West Wing nonetheless:

I think Levin’s still making the McArdle case here, though, which is that this is unusual enough — especially with Everson’s testimony — that the White House needs to offer a clear and detailed explanation. If they have one, fine. If not, well …

Show of hands who thinks that the WH has a “clear and detailed explanation.”

libfree, put that nasty thing down.

davidk on May 31, 2013 at 1:36 PM

And that Chicago newspaper that got Dear Liar’s US Senate opponent’s (Jack Ryan) divorce record unsealed, did so on its own too. Which resulted in so much intimidation that no other Illinois Republican stepped up to run, forcing the GOP to import Alan Keyes.

Lots of coincidences around Dear Liar.

rbj on May 31, 2013 at 1:39 PM

The Easter Egg Administration

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 1:41 PM

1/157 ratio, that we know of.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Yes and don’t forget all those “off the record, logs, etc.” meetings that are held across the street from the WH at the coffee stops. Remember how when O’s administration was caught doing this with K-street lobbyists in 2008-09, the Media went nuts? Ya, me neither.

Spit double spit.

can_con on May 31, 2013 at 1:41 PM

I’m sure the Postal Service visits the White House everyday too. Maybe they are in on this massive tin-foil conspiracy too.

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Thank you for your totally idiotic contribution.

katy the mean old lady on May 31, 2013 at 1:41 PM

I suspect the IRS commissioner would do the same. He would probably attend deputies-level meetings, or maybe even PCC meetings (policy coordinating committee, one level below the deputies) at the White House on issues central to his agency.

Then why didn’t he just say that when he was asked at the hearing? The suspicion isn’t simply the number of meetings, its that when he was asked about it, he was vague, evasive and acted like a total d*ck with that egg roll BS. Had he given the above answer, that would not have raised suspicions. So, if Shulman has nothing to hide, why is he acting like he’s hiding something?

rcpjr on May 31, 2013 at 1:42 PM

I think it’s pretty naive to think that he visited the White House that many times and the targeting of tea party (and other) groups wasn’t discussed. There probably won’t be any concrete proof coming out of Obama either directing or suggesting that it happen, but come on – it’s the Chicago way.

supernova on May 31, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Someone was suggesting that there needs to be a cross check of the time that Obama was at the WH against the time the IRS director was there.

davidk on May 31, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Ditto ValJar.

slickwillie2001 on May 31, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Someone was suggesting that there needs to be a cross check of the time that Obama was at the WH against the time the IRS director was there.

davidk on May 31, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Ditto ValJar.

slickwillie2001 on May 31, 2013 at 1:44 PM

I think you mean V Jarrett, not Obama.

can_con on May 31, 2013 at 1:46 PM

This shows that Obama views the IRS the most important arm of the government. THE most important arm of government. Forget about defense, state, education, etc.
Taking money from the private sector is job one!

LeftCoastRight on May 31, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Look at how few times the military, CIA/FBI brass met with the WH, compared to all the others.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 1:51 PM

and the Kenyan, election stealing, community organizer, communist, socialist, liar, goat banger, Chicago thug only learned about all of this from the newspapers just like us…

PatriotRider on May 31, 2013 at 1:52 PM

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Clueless fool, you make pigs appear smarter.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 1:53 PM

I’m sure the Postal Service visits the White House everyday too. Maybe they are in on this massive tin-foil conspiracy too.

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Heh.
How long did it take you to come up with that sorry-a$$ retort?

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on May 31, 2013 at 1:53 PM

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

‘Derp’.

BigWyo on May 31, 2013 at 1:54 PM

This is such total crap.

The top person at the IRS, the commissioner, is NOT going to be involved with daily, or weekly, meetings regarding ANY system implementation. There would be a STAFF assigned to follow details at this level.

Something totally hidden was being done by Shulman, and it was NOT rolling Easter Eggs.

Someone should ask him: What prepared materials did he take to those meetings and WHO prepared them? No one shows up to that many meetings EMPTY handed!

Freddy on May 31, 2013 at 1:55 PM

I’m sure the Postal Service visits the White House everyday too. Maybe they are in on this massive tin-foil conspiracy too.

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Heh.
How long did it take you to come up with that sorry-a$$ retort?

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on May 31, 2013 at 1:53 PM

He eats Obama’s corn, if you know what I mean.

slickwillie2001 on May 31, 2013 at 1:56 PM

This is one big giant joke to think Odumbo was not involved in the irs mess. All those meetings and the director can only remember egg hunting. CASE CLOSED.

rjoco1 on May 31, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Show of hands who thinks that the WH has a “clear and detailed explanation.”

libfree, put that nasty thing down.

davidk on May 31, 2013 at 1:36 PM

“….because…Shutup!, thats why”

BobMbx on May 31, 2013 at 1:56 PM

I’m sure the Postal Service visits the White House everyday too. Maybe they are in on this massive tin-foil conspiracy too.

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Makes sense, inept bureaucracies meeting with an inept leader.

hillsoftx on May 31, 2013 at 2:00 PM

He would probably attend deputies-level meetings, or maybe even PCC meetings (policy coordinating committee, one level below the deputies) at the White House on issues central to his agency.

We already KNOW that Doug Shulman met with President Obama in the Oval Office at least six times, including, without limitation, the meeting on 21 October 2009.

Resist We Much on May 31, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Show of hands who thinks that the WH has a “clear and detailed explanation.”

libfree, put that nasty thing down.

davidk on May 31, 2013 at 1:36 PM

17% of American voters.

OTOH, 76% want a Special Prosecutor.

Resist We Much on May 31, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Please propagate this wide and large. The leftist talking points “Shulman was a Bush appointee”…the scumbag is an Obama voter, another Bush family travesty.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:03 PM

I think it’s pretty naive to think that he visited the White House that many times and the targeting of tea party (and other) groups wasn’t discussed. There probably won’t be any concrete proof coming out of Obama either directing or suggesting that it happen, but come on – it’s the Chicago way.

supernova on May 31, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Yeah, it is pretty telling that out of 157 visits the only thing offered up in the way of a reason why was the Easter Egg Roll? With, of course, a follow up that amounted to “and tax stuff.”

IMO, you won’t find the fingerprints of the rat-eared coward on any of these discussions but it is not hard to see that there was collusion going on between top IRS officials and the West Wing.

Happy Nomad on May 31, 2013 at 2:04 PM

RWM, pls. take the chart and this, and consider a thread on your glorious site.

The left are out in droves with the “he was a Bush appointee” and not even Fox talking heads know that he donated to the DNV and voted for Obama.

This

And this

Thank you for considering, tweeting and such.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:05 PM

DNC

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Heh.
How long did it take you to come up with that sorry-a$$ retort?

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on May 31, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Sorry azs, it didn’t even make sense. Chimp is off his game today.

Bishop on May 31, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Of note is how few times Hillary was there and how even fewer times all the military, FBI and CIA brass went…compared to the supposedly independent IRS…stinks of skuns, galore.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Sorry azs, it didn’t even make sense. Chimp is off his game today.

Bishop on May 31, 2013 at 2:07 PM

All that corn bloated its brains.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Please propagate this wide and large. The leftist talking points “Shulman was a Bush appointee”…the scumbag is an Obama voter, another Bush family travesty.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:03 PM

But, Schad, you HAVE to admit that being a life-long Democrat and making a campaign donation to the DNC in the very year that Bush is seeking reelection makes PERFECT SENSE.

Hey, maybe, the Left is just recycling their old ‘Fire Can’t Melt Steel’ argument and this whole IRS thingie is some kind of false-flag operated by those wily, wasically Weeepublicans (who couldn’t organise a two-car funeral to save their lives) in order to make the First BLLGBTQQIAAP President look bad…the exact opposite of our ‘noble’ President, who misses basketball shots and TD throws on the Boardwalk just to make him ‘seem more ordinary’ and in maximum touch with the hoi polloi.

Resist We Much on May 31, 2013 at 2:11 PM

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

what do you think of this one.
Resist,
P.S. I love your HotAir pic’s.

MontanaMmmm on May 31, 2013 at 2:16 PM

I was a mid-level staffer in the Bush White House, working on HHS issues. If I or a colleague were to have a meeting with the Secretary of HHS, we would often go to him, since he was a cabinet secretary and we weren’t.

The office of the Secretary of HHS is not located in the White House. The HHS secretary’s office is in the Hubert H. Humphrey building at 200 Independence Ave SW

crosspatch on May 31, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Then why didn’t he just say that when he was asked at the hearing? The suspicion isn’t simply the number of meetings, its that when he was asked about it, he was vague, evasive and acted like a total d*ck with that egg roll BS. Had he given the above answer, that would not have raised suspicions. So, if Shulman has nothing to hide, why is he acting like he’s hiding something?

rcpjr on May 31, 2013 at 1:42 PM

I was going to make that exact point.

If these were perfectly innocuous weekly meetings, he’d

(1) Remember he has a weekly scheduled meeting at the White House

and

(2) Not spit in Congress’s face and say, “Well, I went to an Easter Egg roll.”

I hope this smarmy little bureaucratic weed gets planted in prison.

makattak on May 31, 2013 at 2:23 PM

I was a mid-level staffer in the Bush White House, working on HHS issues.

I’ll be the first to criticize people who are constantly looking for a bogeyman in the closet, but this is not such a case.

That being established, I am not certain why Yuval has to chime in with his personal experience. It is irrelevant to this specific case and he has exactly zero insight on the Obama Administration operations.

Can we not figure out that when meeting with one’s “bosses” superiors, we often also bring in the boss? Or is there some super-secret government encoder ring and password involved that we need to know about?

A pattern is starting to appear whereby high level political officials and potentially some in Congress have used the IRS as a political weapon against people simply because they hold an opposing viewpoint. That is not just wrong and undemocratic. In many case it’s criminal.

Confusing personal experience, which bears loosely tangential relevance to this case, with what actually occurred here is short sited and frankly, self-indulgent. It does absolutely zero to illuminate the truth- in fact it only obscures it.

Marcus Traianus on May 31, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Nobody is going to go to the White House to work on mid-level HHS issues, they are going to go to the HHS building.

crosspatch on May 31, 2013 at 2:27 PM

List of HHS offices at the HHS building:

http://www.hhs.gov/about/hhh.html

crosspatch on May 31, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Resist We Much on May 31, 2013 at 2:11 PM

See, you’ve got your write up already :) You’re a national treasure, though the land doesn’t deserve you…not that Britain does.

Pls. add MontanaMmmm to your list to feature in your HArians.

Also, she provided perfect picture for troll cornfedbuba, a bit up in here.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Indeed, of the 157 events Shulman was cleared to attend, White House records only provide time of arrival information — confirming that he actually went to them — for 11 events over the 2009-2012 period, and time of departure information for only six appointments. According to the White House records, Shulman signed in twice in 2009, five times in 2010, twice in 2011, and twice in 2012.

I’ll ask again: why didn’t he just say that when he was asked? If he only attended 11 actual meetings, why not tell us? It seems off to me that a guy taking fire from every direction would chose a vague and snarky answer that would obviously pour fuel on the fire if the truth was this innocuous.

rcpjr on May 31, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Update: The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta disputes the Daily Caller’s data:

It is interesting that when asked about the visits, Shulman did NOT make a similar claim. Or at least show some confusion regarding the number of actual visits. He did not.

He simply chose to to answer.

Why was he so unsure on this ?

Jabberwock on May 31, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Update: Did Shulman actually attend those meetings?

He admitted to congress to attending 118 of them.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Occam’s razor applies here:

“the best explanation of an event is the one that is the simplest,using the fewest assumptions or hypotheses”

or in another words:

All Easter Eggs lead to the West Wing.

djn on May 31, 2013 at 2:34 PM

I’m sure the Postal Service visits the White House everyday too. Maybe they are in on this massive tin-foil conspiracy too.

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

It’s hell when those chickens come home to roost, ain’t it, bubba?

Solaratov on May 31, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Garance Franke-Ruta is an Obama apologist who the other day wrote a piece that the Clinton scandals were worse than Obama’s scandals since the former directly affected the president. I would take her word with a huge grain of salt.

thirteen28 on May 31, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Update: The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta disputes the Daily Caller’s data:

Schulman admitted to attending the 118 in congress. It produced the “Easter Egg roll” treasure of an impertinent historical answer. It will define the Obama admin. forever.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:36 PM

It’s hell when those chickens come home to roost, ain’t it, bubba?

Solaratov on May 31, 2013 at 2:35 PM

They eat the corn and bubba’s brain goes into depletion.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:37 PM

It is interesting that when asked about the visits, Shulman did NOT make a similar claim. Or at least show some confusion regarding the number of actual visits. He did not.

He simply chose to to answer.

Why was he so unsure on this ?

Jabberwock on May 31, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Precisely. I know if someone asked me why I’d been to the White House 157 times, the first words out of my mouth would be that I’m fairly certain that number is not correct and is far smaller.

One doesn’t confuse 11 and 157.

makattak on May 31, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Sophie, pls. add Solaratov too.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:38 PM

If the question is about health care reform, then compare Shulman’s visits to the WH to Sebelius’s.

Zaggs on May 31, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Schulman admitted to attending the 118 in congress. It produced the “Easter Egg roll” treasure of an impertinent historical answer. It will define the Obama admin. forever.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Ah, and here we have the answer: Liberals are doing the “YOU’RE JUST LYING” defense about something that the accused has already admitted to.

makattak on May 31, 2013 at 2:40 PM

How do Shulman’s 157 visits compare with Monica Lewinsky’s?

topdog on May 31, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Isn’t nice for all the State Run Media outlets to come to his defense..? If he was there to discuss ObamaCare wouldn’t Sebelius be there as well..?

d1carter on May 31, 2013 at 2:42 PM

I’m sure the Postal Service visits the White House everyday too. Maybe they are in on this massive tin-foil conspiracy too. George……….tell me ’bout them rabbits, George.

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Seriously, your family tree must look like a stump.

antipc on May 31, 2013 at 2:44 PM

I was a mid-level staffer in the Bush White House, working on HHS issues. If I or a colleague were to have a meeting with the Secretary of HHS, we would often go to him, since he was a cabinet secretary and we weren’t.

The office of the Secretary of HHS is not located in the White House. The HHS secretary’s office is in the Hubert H. Humphrey building at 200 Independence Ave SW

crosspatch on May 31, 2013 at 2:22 PM

It doesn’t appear that he said that he went to the HHS secy’s. office in the white house. He said that they went to the secy’s. office. Period. Stop.

How – and why – would you try to draw the conclusion that he said/implied that the secretary’s office was in the white house?

Solaratov on May 31, 2013 at 2:47 PM

“someone needs to go to jail Ben”-from National Treasure

neyney on May 31, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Obviously you wingnuts have no concept of how much planning and training goes into an Easter Egg Roll.

This was not your garden-variety down-at-the-Baptist-Church-after-Sunday-services Easter Egg Roll, this is a world-class competition. Our Beloved Leader is an athlete – have you seen him throw a baseball? – who insists on excellence in competition. His jihadist pals behead any children infidels who drop eggs on the lawn.

And who better to ensure the most prestigious event on the White House calendar (except for when Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Michelle all shake their booties) is a success than the IRS Commissioner, who has been training his whole life for such manly competitions.

[More as soon as Ezra Klein makes it up].

Adjoran on May 31, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Indeed, of the 157 events Shulman was cleared to attend, White House records only provide time of arrival information — confirming that he actually went to them — for 11 events over the 2009-2012 period, and time of departure information for only six appointments

That adds up to a massive lack of security. People signing in and not signing out? Authorized to enter but not entering? Lots of ordinary office buildings have better security than that.

hawksruleva on May 31, 2013 at 2:58 PM

He was cleared 40 times to meet with Obama’s director of the Office of Health Reform, and a further 80 times for the biweekly health reform deputies meetings and others set up by aides involved with the health-care law implementation efforts. That’s 76 percent of his planned White House visits just there,

Then why not just be open about the attendance? Being secretive and dismissive does not make you look good.

rbj on May 31, 2013 at 3:09 PM

All that corn bloated its brains.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Homemade corn liquor will do that. Maybe them revenue agents should check out his still.

chemman on May 31, 2013 at 3:17 PM

The Atlantic argument is nonsense.

The fact he was called upon to attend more meetings than almost anyone else shows direct, heavy involvement with the White House on co-ordination tactics, regarding Obamacare.

The Tea Party eruption was partly created by Obama and The Dems battering ram Obamacare into existence.

How are meetings occuring during the Obamacare Congressional fight not going to include remarks on the Tea Party’s attempt to defeat the bill?

Of course it would, and Shulman would be the guy to bring it up!

We’re talking about 16,000 new agents!

90% Of those meetings had Shulamn adding the caveat of “that’s if the bill gets through. We’re seeing heavy resistance growing through 401C’s”.

My gawd. It’s a done deal. Just subponea the damn info and take Sebelius out already.

We know this all leads to her and Pelosi.

budfox on May 31, 2013 at 3:26 PM

George……….tell me ’bout them rabbits, George.

cornholedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Seriously, your family tree must look like a stump.

antipc on May 31, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Ah chit..just shot sweet tea out of my nose. LOL.

HumpBot Salvation on May 31, 2013 at 3:54 PM

And one of the ‘rogue agent’ minions who actually sent out the letters has been promoted.

LegendHasIt on May 31, 2013 at 4:12 PM

They don’t need to cross-check Obama’s time in the WH, they need to cross-check VaJayJay’s time with the IRS visits. Seriously, she is the root of all this stuff. Obama is the smoking, sports- watching, golf-playing prop in the drama. They just send him out to look cool and read what’s on the teleprompter.

Boudica on May 31, 2013 at 4:13 PM

I have a shrine to O’bama in my bedroom. And a poster of him on my ceiling so I can see him the moment I wake up.

cornfedbubba on May 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Edited for accuracy.

Del Dolemonte on May 31, 2013 at 5:38 PM

I don’t recall signing any visitor log when we went to the Easter Egg Roll.

besser tot als rot on May 31, 2013 at 7:10 PM

What we do believe is that the IRS actions were politically motivated and organized at the highest levels of the Obama administration.

It’s about time someone stopped pretending that Obama was not involved. We don’t know how heavily he was involved yet, but only the president or someone representing the president and endued with his power could have coordinated the same pattern of behavior across so many federal agencies.

Does that prove Obama was involved? No. But it’s cause enough to start questioning whether he was involved and just how involved he was.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 31, 2013 at 7:22 PM

I didn’t think Mr. Shulman had any problem with admitting he was at the WH a bunch, why all the equivocating? Also, I read Mr. Shulman’s wife is a Democrat operative. Squirrel!

Cindy Munford on May 31, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Someone should ask him: What prepared materials did he take to those meetings and WHO prepared them? No one shows up to that many meetings EMPTY handed!

Freddy on May 31, 2013 at 1:55 PM

That reminds me of one of my favorite moments when Steve Miller was testifying before Congress and said he couldn’t remember something, and would have to check his notes.

The Representative interviewing him said, “You have notes?”

Watching him backpedal was priceless. First he said he couldn’t find them, then he said he didn’t know if he had any.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 31, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Dan Pfeiffer’s cryptic quasi-WH response — “Def Worth a Read — tells you just about everything you need to know about the credibility of that story, i.e., that it is probably baseless tripe.

If the speculation by the Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta was even close to legitimate, fast-talking Dan would have been inclined to say something confirmatory — like, “Spot on!” or “True dat!

But because it was (and remains) mere idle speculation, without any real basis in fact, Dan no doubt thought it at least made for an effective political deflection for the time being, in order to keep low information voters on board.

Trochilus on May 31, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Indeed, of the 157 events Shulman was cleared to attend, White House records only provide time of arrival information — confirming that he actually went to them — for 11 events over the 2009-2012 period, and time of departure information for only six appointments.

Bullpuckey… the answer is much closer to 118 than 11.

Want proof? Ok.

Lets pretend you went to a specific bar 15 or so times last year, and you’re in court (or before Congress) and under oath.

You’re asked openly:
“Why did you go to The Corner Bar 110 times last year?”

What do you answer?
1) “I didn’t go 110 times, maybe a dozen or so. I’d have to check to see the correct number; but 118 is certainly incorrect”
2) “Well there are several reasons I went to that bar; and I’ll list some now”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/us/politics/irs-official-denies-misleading-congress.html?from=homepage

Later, Mr. Jordan pressed Mr. Shulman, the former I.R.S. commissioner, on whether he had visited the White House. When Mr. Shulman said he had, Mr. Jordan produced White House visitor records that he said indicated Mr. Shulman had been there at least 118 times. Was he sure, Mr. Jordan asked, that the I.R.S. targeting never came up?

“One hundred-eighteen visits and it didn’t come up in casual conversation?” Mr. Jordan said.

118 times was specifically noted in the question; and he didn’t seemed shocked, flinch, or choose to clarify the facts.

118 might not be perfectly accurate; but it has to be close enough that Schulman didn’t see a need to clarify. Maybe it was only 80-90. But much less than that and he’d have certainly wanted to clarify the question before answering.

Could it have only been 11? I don’t see how that would be possible given his answer.

gekkobear on May 31, 2013 at 7:36 PM

. . .
118 might not be perfectly accurate; but it has to be close enough that Schulman didn’t see a need to clarify. Maybe it was only 80-90. But much less than that and he’d have certainly wanted to clarify the question before answering.

Could it have only been 11? I don’t see how that would be possible given his answer.

gekkobear on May 31, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Good point!

Hell, maybe it was actually 123, or 137, and he still wouldn’t have clarified.

The smart alec answer about the Easter Egg Hunt was probably got people digging further. And now they’ve lost all credibility on that question and other related ones.

Trochilus on May 31, 2013 at 8:16 PM

I expect Schulman was checking up on the presidential 1040F, trying to reconcile the Pigford farming credits, the multiple social security numbers, solar panel credits, gifts to “family members”, contributions to IRS-approved progressive charities, real-estate aliases and false addresses.

That could easily take 157 visits. People have such suspicious minds!

virgo on May 31, 2013 at 11:25 PM

Since I presume that these meetings were innocent, they should release them.

And then this article continues hammering that theme.

Sounds to me a lot like the Dems repeated calls for Romney to release his tax records. After all, if he was innocent…

This just political posturing. Let’s not get tied up in this errata and lose sight of the issues.

ss396 on May 31, 2013 at 11:43 PM

Just to be clear, Hooters has aMAZing chicken wings.

Arnold Yabenson on June 1, 2013 at 1:14 AM

I’m sure he was there to help Obama with his NCAA pool, heck there are 64 teams in that darn thing. So Easter egg hunt and NCAA pool that it lets move along.

cmptrnerd on June 1, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Schulman admitted to attending the 118 in congress. It produced the “Easter Egg roll” treasure of an impertinent historical answer. It will define the Obama admin. forever.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Ah, and here we have the answer: Liberals are doing the “YOU’RE JUST LYING” defense about something that the accused has already admitted to.

makattak on May 31, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Eggzackly. Leftists have quite the knack for plugging their ears and redirecting the truth when facts prove to be uncomfortable.

Case in point: “Bagdhad Bob’s” deflective “IF the IRS participated in targeting…” responses well after Lerner had already publicly copped to the targeting. *eyeroll*

asideofbacon on June 1, 2013 at 6:54 PM