Green Room

[UPDATED: Round two] Five key take-aways from today’s IRS hearings

posted at 2:25 pm on July 18, 2013 by

I’ve been live-tweeting the proceedings and have produced a (hopefully) digestible five-point summary of what transpired.  A few excerpts:

– The other first-round witness was Elizabeth Hofacre, a Cincinnati-based IRS veteran of 14 years.  She testified that hearing statements from Lois Lerner and White House spokesman Jay Carney blaming the improper targeting on “rogue” and “line” employees in her regional office felt like a “nuclear strike.”  She said she believes senior agency officials were trying to blame her for carrying out their orders, and expressed the opinion that Lois Lerner was intentionally trying to mislead the public in advancing that narrative.  Hofacre said she was assigned dozens of Tea Party applications, all of which were delayed by her superiors.  She eventually became so frustrated with the situation that she transferred divisions.  Long after she left, many of her Tea Party cases remained in a “holding pattern” and unresolved. – Democrats flogged several points — beyond the generic attacks on Issa and Republicans, that is.  First, that the targeting wasn’t politically motivated.  This is what many witnesses have said, but it doesn’t pass the common sense test.  A large majority of Americans understand the political nature of the abuse.  Second, new evidence “proves” that liberal groups were also targeted — an assertion that relies on a totally false equivalency.  (This also glosses over the distinction between 501(c)3 and (c)4 organizations). Third, that none of the witnesses they’ve engaged have stated (or admitted) personal knowledge of interference or direction from the White House or the Obama campaign.  These members seemed to think it is somehow dispositive that low-to-mid-level IRS employees weren’t personally given marching orders directly from David Axelrod.  It’s a specious point.  Finally, committee Democrats previewed their blistering critiques of the Inspector General, who will testify later today.  They will accuse him of cherry-picking facts, carrying water for Republicans, and withholding important information.  The IG, Russell George, will defend himself, and Republicans will come to his aid — even though they’ve been critical of him on other points.

Democrats made clear that they’re planning to unleash an onslaught of criticism against the Inspector General during round two, which begins around 2:30 pm ET.   It’s going to get ugly.  Follow the links for important background on what they’ll say about the IG, and the false equivalency on which they’ll rely.

UPDATE – Here’s my recap of the second round of testimony.  Bottom lines: Republicans’ takeaway today will be that the IRS’ attempts to pawn this off on low- or mid-level employees in Ohio was demolished.  In fact, as we discovered yesterday, the agency’s chief counsel’s office in DC was involved in determining targeting methodology.  Democrats’ takeaway is that the investigation is ongoing (last month, their ranking member declared the issue over) and more evidence of anti-progressive targeting could still emerge.  On that score, see my parting thought (and virtually all other evidence).

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I hear Janet Jackson has been asked to unleash her boobs again to distract the attention of the MSM; M. Lewinsky reportedly has declined to be cigar-ed for the cause.

BobMbx on July 18, 2013 at 2:39 PM

In other words ….. Issa set up Carl Cameron for failure when leaking to him that something big is about to happen today?

Carnac on July 18, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Look what the left did during the hearings BEFORE McCarthy.
McCarthy was not the major player nor was he the one who started all that.
It was actually started by not just Republicans but other Democrats.
Back then, there were 2 camps of Dems. Those who loved communists & those who didn’t.
Oh, they were still progressive socialists, but they somehow believed their brand of soft communism was OK.
And notice the communists, the REAL communist Soviet operatives that had infiltrate all levels of govt back then (during FDR) were just shuffled around.
They were never eliminated. They continued their destruction over the decades of the Republic.
And even when the Venona cables were released in the early 90s, STILL the media & the left did NOTHING. Bcs they were complicit. On purpose.
This crap is the same kind of crap.
Nothing will come of it and all it is doing is giving the left the time to spin spin spin for the public. Just like they did with McCarthy.

Badger40 on July 18, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Something big did happen. We now know that Carney and the admin were lying thru their teeth(I know a real big shock) when they kept up the lie that it was only a few rogue employees in Cinti. We learned that this goes AT LEAST to the chief counsel’s office. We know that the chief counsel is one of two political appointees by obama. We are getting really close now.

Ta111 on July 18, 2013 at 5:47 PM

By the time Issa and the rest of the reps get through with peeling back the layers on this onion, it will be such old news nobody will care. We live in an I want my stuff given to me instantly, you know, just like on my favorite cop or lawyer show. What’s really more interesting is what happened with the Behghazi survivors.

Kissmygrits on July 19, 2013 at 8:26 AM