Yesterday, Barack Obama tried to get ahead of the IRS scandal by promising a full investigation into the policy of targeting the administration’s opponents for extra scrutiny and harassment when applying for tax-exempt status for their groups. Color House Oversight chair Darrell Issa … unimpressed. Appearing on CBS News this morning, Issa told Charlie Rose that there is no way the House will allow the executive branch to conduct the only investigation into the systematic targeting of conservatives:
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Tuesday blasted President Obama for suggesting the administration could fairly investigate claims the IRS unfairly targeted conservative political groups.
“How dare the administration imply that they’re going to get to the bottom of it,” said Issa in an interview on CBS’s “This Morning.”
“This was the targeting of the president’s political enemies effectively and lies about it during the election year so that it wasn’t discovered until afterwards,” he added. “The fact is this is the kind of investigation that has to be open and transparent to the American people.”
Issa also calls out Lois Lerner for her bizarre attempt to spin the Inspector General report ahead of time. I’ve been writing about that since the weekend. She insisted that the issues were located only in one office (a lie) and that it was restricted to low-level workers (another lie).
Today, IRS Commissioner Steve Miller — who knew about this since May 2012 and didn’t inform Congress — tried apologizing for a “lack of sensitivity” in investigating conservative groups:
The IRS acting chief acknowledged Tuesday that the agency demonstrated “a lack of sensitivity” in its screenings of political groups seeking tax-exempt status, but he said those mistakes won’t be repeated.
In his first public comment on the case, Steven Miller said there was “a shortcut taken in our processes” for determining which groups needed special screening.
Miller has emerged as a key figure in the controversy over the IRS’ singling out of conservative groups for extra scrutiny. President Barack Obama said Monday that if the agency intentionally targeted such groups, “that’s outrageous and there’s no place for it.”
In an opinion piece in Tuesday’s editions of USA Today, Miller said conceded that the agency demonstrated “a lack of sensitivity to the implications of some of the decisions that were made.” He said screening of advocacy groups is “factually complex, and it’s challenging to separate out political issues from those involving education or social welfare.”
“The mistakes we made were due to the absence of a sufficient process for working the increase in cases and a lack of sensitivity to the implications of some of the decisions that were made,” Miller wrote.
Er, sure. It was just “a lack of sensitivity” to the fact that the IRS targeted the administration’s political opponents while they were attempting to organize effectively during not one but two election cycles, and Miller and other officials never told Congress about it. That’s practically Lerneresque in terms of spin.
No wonder Issa has zero confidence in the White House.
Update: One former IRS commissioner told CBS News that the agency “absolutely did the wrong thing,” but notice how CBS News emphasizes a sinister sense about these groups first: