Where is today’s Woodward & Bernstein tandem striving to ensure the president is held accountable for an egregious abuse of power — like the Internal Revenue Service’s political targeting of Democrat opposition groups? Nowhere to be found, outside a few bastions of conservative political opposition.
Last week, upstanding IRS veteran Carter Hull, who has exhibited a 48-year track record of excellence, testified to a House hearing of the Government Oversight & Reform Committee. Hull’s blockbuster revelation? A political appointee of President Obama, the IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins, as well as the Fifth Amendment-pleading Lois Lerner, took the exceptional measure of seizing tea party cases from him and move them up the chain-of-command.
Hull’s testimony gets a boost from a Daily Caller article, which even further implicates that the White House knew about the IRS’ targeting of political groups, more than it has let on:
The Obama appointee implicated in congressional testimony in the IRS targeting scandal met with President Obama in the White House two days before offering his colleagues a new set of advice on how to scrutinize tea party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, who was named in House Oversight testimony by retiring IRS agent Carter Hull as one of his supervisors in the improper targeting of conservative groups, met with Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 23, 2012. Wilkins’ boss, then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, visited the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on April 24, 2012, according to White House visitor logs.
The name Douglas Shulman is familiar to those following this scandal. As former IRS commissioner, Shulman met with President Obama an astounding 157 times. The former head of the tax exempt division Sarah Hall Ingram, who will be running the IRS’ “ObamaCare” division, met with the president 165 times. And the two’s meetings with the president apparently never overlapped.
The Chief Counsel William Wilkins, who has a background in tax exempt group consulting prior to being nominated in 2009, was involved in overseeing the tea party and conservative group cases as early as August 2011. Interestingly, Wilkins’ law firm was able to get an IRS probe against Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s “church” dismissed.
Jay Sekulow of Fox News points out that the Chief Counsel’s involvement means that the “rogue agent” narrative has been thoroughly debunked:
Here’s a key portion of Mr. Hull’s testimony:
“In August 2011 I attended a meeting at which the applications assigned to me were discussed. I recall that Don Spellman, David Marshall, and Amy Franklin from Chief Counsel’s office were at the meeting… I recall that Ms. Franklin or someone else from Chief Counsel’s office stated that more current information was needed for my applications and that a second development letter should be sent to the applicants. I also recall the discussion about the creation of a template development letter for Tea Party applications.”
This is extraordinary, suggesting that it was the IRS chief counsel’s office, not rogue agents in Ohio, who engineered the key abuses in the targeting scandal, including the extraordinarily-intrusive questionnaires that asked conservative groups for donor lists, Internet login information, social media pages, and even the political and charitable activities of family members.
Hull went on to testify that he had not seen anything like that in almost 50 years of work at the IRS.
Just another notch in the belt for the ‘historic’ Obama administration. Pathetically, the news media have made clear the President can flaunt the customary practices of the Executive Branch by winking-and-nodding while members of the government target those on the Democrat Party’s “enemies list.”
The president has appointed members of his Cabinet who have shown a brazen disregard for propriety and the truth. Susan Rice undoubtedly touted a White House lie that there was a “spontaneous protest” before the Benghazi terrorist attack, and she was rewarded with a promotion to National Security Adviser. Attorney General Eric Holder oversaw a Department of Justice that stood by while the BATFE ran assault rifles to Mexican drug cartels, who took those weapons and killed hundreds of Mexican civilians and American border patrol agent Brian Terry. The DOJ criminalized Fox News reporter James Rosen for reporting on an ostensibly non-sensitive national security case, and tracked Rosen and AP reporters.
If the president were even caught red-handed carrying out a vendetta against certain American citizens for voicing a political opinion, wielding one of the most feared government agencies — the Internal Revenue Service — against them, would today’s so-called journalists even care?
Silence will be the answer.
But don’t expect President Obama to get caught. He has perfected the practice of appointing lawbreakers and scoundrels all around him, so that he can personally escape responsibility. Because the press is beyond obeisant — one might even say, complicit — all calls for government accountability will be intentionally ignored, deflected away or shouted down by his palace guards.