No kidding, but as readers might suspect, that’s not really Sen. Claire McCaskill’s point. Appearing on Morning Joe today, McCaskill makes the obvious observation against Democratic interests, but only to advance the administration’s narrative. Golly, the argument goes, if John Koskinen weren’t being such an arrogant jerk, there’d be no story here at all!
Um …. sure:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Tuesday that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has done “a terrible job communicating” in the investigation into Lois Lerner’s missing emails.
“Obviously I think he is doing a terrible job communicating and obviously they made huge mistakes as far as how they’ve retained records and whether or not they’ve been upfront and whether or not those records were available,” McCaskill said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“This guy did a terrible job being arrogant yesterday. We all think of the IRS as being arrogant and he kind of confirmed that,” she added about his performance at a hearing Monday evening before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Let’s ask ourselves about the application of this arrogance. One might think that a man appointed to run a federal agency under investigation might have taken some time to look into issues like the status of e-mails before promising Congress that they would get access to them all. And one might think that the same man who made that promise would, once he found out that they had been lost, would get back to Congress quickly to let them know about it. Instead, Koskinen waited two months to inform Congress, and only told them about the six other hard drive crashes other than Lerner’s because Dave Camp specifically asked him whether any other failures and gaps had occurred.
Now, the lack of transparency may just be “a terrible job communicating” and “huge mistakes,” but it’s also reasonable to infer that the IRS has no intention of cooperating with the investigation. Being “arrogant” isn’t just a character trait, but a real problem when it comes to accountability within government, and it argues against the narrative McCaskill pushes here, which is that there’s really nothing to see and everyone should just move along. If there was nothing to see, the IRS would have disclosed all of this up front, instead of starting with a dishonest “apology” to spin the Inspector General report that came out shortly afterward.
So no, the issue here isn’t that citizens organize for social and political purposes and apply for tax-exempt status. It’s that the IRS arrogantly made itself the political-speech police and went after the administration’s political opponents, and that arrogance hasn’t been mitigated one iota ever since. Koskinen just makes it too obvious for McCaskill and her fellow Democrats.