Friday, July 19, 2013

ISSA: IRS Tea Party Trail Leads To D.C.

English: Congressman Darrell Issa's Official 1...
Congressman Darrell Issa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"...Following the trail of facts from Cincinnati to Washington, our investigation found corroboration that the scrutiny of Tea Party applicants was being directed by IRS officials in Washington. As one veteran D.C. IRS tax law specialist named Carter Hull told us, 'I had to get my own cases done to be able to tell (Cincinnati) which direction the Service was taking and to be able to give guidance.'..."
That's a quote from a USA Today Op Ed. piece written by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa, one day after IRS hearings were resumed for what is being called the "trickle-out" sequence of testimonies about the political IRS targeting of Conservatives and the Tea Party.

Issa wrote:
"...Hull and his supervisors explained to committee investigators that scrutiny of Tea Party applicants — and the reasons for delays and enhanced scrutiny — went beyond the routine. It involved Lois Lerner, the senior IRS official who would later assert her right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions before Congress, as well as the office of the IRS chief counsel, which is headed by one of only two political appointees at the IRS..."
Issa admits, and is withholding making conclusions about White House direction of the IRS Tea Party targeting, that congress still does not have definitive answers.

But the testimony of Hull and Hofacre before the congressional committee yesterday clearly shows that the IRS Tea Party targeting was not directed by rogue IRS agents from Cincinnatti, as the White House has previously claimed.

Furthermore, U.S Treasury IRS watchdog, J. Russel George said yesterday that he had not received any documents that indicated the IRS had used the term "progressive" to mark cases for additional scrutiny until last week.

Deirdre Shesgreen and Gregory Korte quotes George in their USA TODAY article:
"...I am very disturbed that these documents were not provided to our auditors at the outset," he said. "They were not provided during our audit, even though similar documents that list 'Tea Party' … were..."..."...George said IRS officials told him that the BOLO list was used by agents to select potential political cases. At no time did IRS officials provide additional information about progressive groups being screened, nor did they contradict his findings put forth in the IG's final report..."
Lauren French @ Politico described George's testimony this way:
"...Up against Democrats who accused him of willfully ignoring evidence that both liberal and conservative groups were flagged for extra review at the IRS, George came out swinging...He accused his spokeswoman of misspeaking to the press last month, said he was “disturbed” that documents calling on IRS staffers to scrutinize progressive groups only recently made it into his hands and insisted he hasn’t blocked key details from Congress...George, a former Bob Dole staffer who contributed to GOP candidates before assuming his inspector general post nearly a decade ago, worked to recast the picture that Democrats have tried to paint of him as a Republican operative..."
Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal called the revelation that the IRS scandal was connected to the office of the chief counsel a "bombshell."
"...That is a bombshell—such a big one that it managed to emerge in spite of an unfocused, frequently off-point congressional hearing in which some members seemed to have accidentally woken up in the middle of a committee room, some seemed unaware of the implications of what their investigators had uncovered, one pretended that the investigation should end if IRS workers couldn't say the president had personally called and told them to harass his foes, and one seemed to be holding a filibuster on Pakistan..."
That bombshell, by the way, was a bombshell two months ago as Kim Dixon and Kevin Drawbaugh wrote at Reuter's

And while the Socialist Democrats argue that "Liberal" groups were also targeted, the striking illogic in their argument is why they would advocate for protecting an out of control IRS, since it was also targeting their constituents for additional scrutiny. Their defense of the IRS only serves to position their arguments on the side of a universally oppressive IRS, as most Americans would agree that it is.

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