Elijah Cummings and Sander Levin wrote this op-ed to essentially defend the indefensible corruption of the Obama administration and the IRS.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) led the charge, alleging this was the “targeting of the president’s political enemies.” Other Republicans followed suit, citing “the enemies list out of the White House” and arguing that President Obama “doesn’t have clean hands.” And they invoked the specter of disgraced former president Richard Nixon.
Yet our committees’ review of thousands of documents and interviews with more than a dozen IRS employees have not uncovered a scintilla of evidence to substantiate their claims. Unfortunately, the facts have not stopped our Republican colleagues from lobbing baseless accusations in the cynical hope that people would believe them. The column last week on this page, “Holes in the IRS narrative,” by Issa and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), continued the effort to suggest the existence of a scandal that the established facts do not support.
I won’t tapdance about this. Elijah Cummings and Sander Levin are lying through their teeth. They’re partisan hacks. In May, when this story first broke, President Obama acknowledged that the IRS scandal was disturbing and real. He promised to get to the bottom of this story.
Of course, that’s when the scandal was about “2 rogue agents in Cincinnati.” The minute testimony was given showing that Washington knew about the scandal and actually was involved in halting processing of conservative organizations’ applications for tax exempt status, Democrats switched into ‘Republicans are engaged in a partisan witch hunt’ mode. That’s when President Obama and Jay Carney started talking about phony scandals.
Let us be clear: There was mismanagement at the IRS, and IRS employees screened applications for tax-exempt status for further review based, in part, on the names of the organizations. But there is absolutely no evidence of political motivation or White House involvement.
Let’s be clear about this: There’s irrefutable proof that the IRS was used a weapon against President Obama’s political enemies. Refusing to make a final decision on conservative organizations’ tax-exempt applications isn’t happenstance. It’s deliberate. Furthermore, Carter Hull testified that William Wilkins micromanaged the tax-exempt application process from DC. We know that President Obama appointed Wilkins to his position.
In other words, it’s impossible to conduct a thorough investigation without political ramifications.
It’s insulting (infuriating, too) that Mssrs. Cummings and Levin mention mismanagement. WRONG. Crimes have been committed. Based on the credible testimony given to the House committees with jurisdiction over this disturbing scandal, several people will be convicted of crimes the minute they’re prosecuted. Lois Lerner will be convicted if she’s tried. Douglas Schulman will be convicted of lying to Congress for repeatedly telling Congress that conservative organizations weren’t being targeted. J. Russell George, the IRS Inspector General, audited the IRS’s tax-exempt office. What he found was that 292 conservative organizations were harassed by the IRS and that each of their applications were put on hold.
By not making a final ruling on their applications, the IRS prevented these conservative organizations from appealing the IRS’s ruling. That prevented these activists from raising money to get their message out to people during the presidential election cycle. That means the IRS’s actions had a profound political impact on the presidential campaign. There’s no way that isn’t a political consideration.
Republicans have also recently claimed, as Issa and Camp wrote in their op-ed, that progressive groups received “routine scrutiny” that was somehow fundamentally different from the systematic treatment of the tea party applications.
But Daniel Werfel, the acting commissioner of the IRS, disagrees. He testified that there were progressive groups that were treated similarly to the tea party applicants, with some facing three-year delays. In fact, he said some progressive groups were even denied tax-exempt status — unlike the tea party applicants, who were just delayed.
Werfel isn’t honest. Since the IRS scandal erupted, there hasn’t been a single progressive organization named that was delayed 3 years. On the conservative side, I can rattle off lots of organizations’ names that applied for tax-exempt status that are still pending. True The Vote, Linchpins for Liberty and the National Organization for Marriage are just a few of the dozens of conservative organizations who applied for tax-exempt status and who are still waiting for a final determination.
Mssrs. Cummings and Levin are political hatchetmen doing this administration’s bidding. They aren’t honest people at a time when we need people of integrity in Congress. Instead of getting people of integrity in government and Congress, we’re dealing with weasels like Danny Werfel, Lois Lerner, William Wilkins, Elijah Cummings and Sander Levin.
Tags: IRS Scandal, President Obama, Elijah Cummings, Sander Levin, Politicians, Lois Lerner, Douglas Schulman, Daniel Werfel, William Wilkins, Political Appointees, Democratic Culture of Corruption, Crime, Lying to Congress, Democrats, J. Russell George, IRS Inspector General, Carter Hull, Dave Camp, House Ways & Means Committee, Darrell Issa, House Oversight Committee, Investigation, GOP