If you put together all of the White House visits by Cabinet members Eric Holder, Kathleen Sebelius, and Hillary Clinton, you might approach the number accumulated by a non-Cabinet official from an agency in the news lately. Douglas Shulman visited the White House far more often during the Obama administration than the closest members of Barack Obama’s own team, with perhaps six times as many visits as Energy Secretary Stephen Chu and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood:
Publicly released records show that embattled former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House at least 157 times during the Obama administration, more recorded visits than even the most trusted members of the president’s Cabinet. …
An analysis by The Daily Caller of the White House’s public “visitor access records” showed that every current and former member of President Obama’s Cabinet would have had to rack up at least 60 more public visits to the president’s home to catch up with “Douglas Shulman.”
The visitor logs do not give a complete picture of White House access. Some high-level officials get cleared for access and do not have to sign in during visits. A Washington Post database of visitor log records cautions, “The log may include some scheduled visits that did not take place and exclude visits by members of Congress, top officials and others who are not required to sign in at security gates.”
The White House press office declined to comment on which visits by high-ranking officials do and do not get recorded in the visitor log, but it is probable that the vast majority of visits by major cabinet members do not end up in the public record.
Nevertheless, many visits by current and former cabinet members are in the logs, and the record depicts an IRS chief uniquely at home in the White House.
Why is this important? Shulman ran the IRS when the targeting and harassing of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status began in March 2010 and extended through mid-2012. Shulman testified twice before Congress in March 2012 that no targeting was taking place. After the scandal broke, Shulman refused to take responsibility for it in Congressional testimony this week and claimed that no White House coordination took place in this effort. The only White House visit Shulman could recall in detail was taking his kids to the Easter egg roll.
Clearly, Shulman was doing more than hunting eggs at the White House. His successor, Steven Miller, barely has enough visits to get into double digits despite being on the job a year. The Daily Caller’s chart shows so many visits by Shulman that it’s a wonder they weren’t charging him rent. Spreading out 157 visits over less than four years — roughly 40 months — puts Shulman in the White House almost once a week from Barack Obama’s inauguration to Shulman’s exit in May 2012.
The massive number of visits raises serious questions about Shulman’s activities in the White House. As IRS commissioner, he reported to Tim Geithner at Treasury, not anyone in the West Wing. Shulman, in fact, had more than three times as many visits to the White House as his nominal boss. What was the West Wing team telling Shulman? What was Shulman telling the West Wing team on his weekly visits? Looks like it will take a few more subpoenas to find out.