If Carl Cameron’s information in this video plays out as he’s been told, the IRS scandal will be back front and center by noon today:
Here’s the minitranscript from Cameron’s interview with Bill O’Reilly:
CAMERON: What he [Chairman Issa] said to me today was make sure to watch tomorrow’s hearing because he’s going to present the evidence to prove it…. That he can get it right up all the way into the White House before it was all revealed.
O’Reilly started off by opining that the IRS scandal was losing altitude and that it would fade from significance. The Democrats, starting with Rep. Elijah Cummings, changed from being outraged when this first came to light to defending the administration when it started getting apparent that White House insiders were involved.
If Chairman Issa genuinely has proof that someone inside the White House worked with Lois Lerner in putting TEA Party organizations through extra rounds of scrutiny, this scandal will explode. It isn’t just that this is new information. It’s that it’d be new information that refutes the White House’s initial stories that this was the work of a couple rogue IRS operatives in the Cincinnati office.
I wrote here that the worst word in the English language, at least in the White House’s interest, is the word Y-E-T. Here’s what I wrote then:
If there’s a word in the English language that the Obama administration has a right to fear, that word is Y-E-T. Democrats who had previously attacked the IRS changed their tune during yesterday’s hearing. Democrats transitioned into defending the Obama administration. That’s because the IRS agents in the Cincinnati office haven’t been rolled. Yet.
Perhaps Democrats think their’s is a good strategy because it’s built on the premise that the IRS agents fear prosecution. That isn’t a smart gamble, even though the IRS agents haven’t been granted immunity. Yet.
Rep. Cummings has tried running interference for the administration by saying the TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) is a Bush administration hiree who can’t be trusted.
If J. Russel George can produce the documentation verifying Chairman Issa’s claims, it’ll be totally irrelevant who hired J. Russell George. Chairman Issa posted this tweet:
#IRS chief counsel’s office involved in targeting controversy http://wapo.st/15GGVE5 via @PostPolitics
This information, if verified, changes everything:
In interviews with congressional investigators, IRS lawyer Carter Hull said his superiors told him that the chief counsel’s office, led by William Wilkins, would need to review some of the first applications the agency screened for additional scrutiny because of potential political activity.
Previous accounts from IRS employees had shown that Washington IRS officials were involved in the controversy, but Hull’s comments represent the closest connection to the White House to date. No evidence so far has definitively linked the White House to the agency’s actions.
According to a partial transcript released by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the chief counsel’s office also discussed using a template letter to ask questions about the groups’ activities, despite Hull’s warning that such a boilerplate approach would be impractical.
“My reviewer and I both said a template makes absolutely no difference because these organizations, all of them are different,” Hull told investigators. “A template would not work.”
I’ll predict that, at some time during the hearing, Elijah Cummings will complain that partial transcripts are despicable. Whatever. I’d love hearing him put these statements in a context that isn’t damnig to the administration. Whichever way you slice it, the reality is that Mr. Wilkins tried orchestrating a strategy to harass TEA Party organizations. There’s no way to spin that.