As the New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman said 90 minutes into the hearing, this was one of the few really interesting revelations at today’s grilling of IRS Commissioner Steve Miller. Remember the impromptu, extemporaneous apology given by Lois Lerner a week ago at a law conference for the targeting of conservative groups, an apology that at the same time tried to minimize the scope of the violations? Yeah, that was no accident:
Rep Nunes asked, “Was her question to Ms. Lerner about targeting certain groups planned in advance?”
Miller replied, “I believe we talked about that, yes.”
1 real revelation: Question to IRS’s Lois Lerner Fri at ABA that prompted apology was a plant, planned in advance. Not inadvertent release
— Jonathan Weisman (@jonathanweisman) May 17, 2013
In other words, the IRS knew full well what the IG report would say about targeting conservative groups looking for tax-exempt status, and wanted to shape the media battlefield ahead of time. Just how did they know that? The IG could have shared that data with them, perhaps to check for accuracy; that could be part of the process. However, even if leadership only learned of these issues during some kind of check, Lerner’s apology was incredibly dishonest considering the scope of the findings in the IG report, and now we have confirmation that it was planned in advance — and set up to look extemporaneous, to boot.
What does that say about IRS leadership’s honesty and credibility?
IRS Commissioner at hearing: “We provided horrible customer service here. I will admit that. Horrible customer service.”
— Chris Moody (@Chris_Moody) May 17, 2013
IRS: “Horrible customer service.” What does great customer service look like from a bureaucracy designed to confiscate your money?
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 17, 2013
@brianfaughnan This is like calling police brutality “horrible customer service.”
— Sean Hackbarth (@seanhackbarth) May 17, 2013
— Christian Staples (@Written_4) May 17, 2013
Also, Miller is very concerned about the use of the term “targeting” (via NRO’s Eliana Johnson):
Acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller took issue with the use of the word “targeting” as it relates to the IRS’s singling out of Tea Party and other conservative groups, calling it a “loaded term.”
In an exchange with Republican representative Kevin Brady, Miller said, “I’m going to take exception to the concept of targeting, because it’s a loaded term,” and one that “describes something that didn’t exist here.”
All evidence to the contrary.