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IRS Scandal: Nothing to See Here

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  • Susan Stamper Brown
    Susan Stamper Brown is an opinion page columnist who writes about politics, the military, the economy and culture.
By Susan Stamper Brown, CP Guest Contributor
March 10, 2014|11:01 am

During the March 5, 2014 House Oversight Committee hearing, former IRS official Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment…again. If it were not for being a part of the most "transparent" administration, one might think she had something to hide.

But then again, in a liberal's lexicon, words are not required to match actions. According to Politico, Katherine Meyer, a lawyer responsible for filing Freedom of Information (FOIA) cases since 1978 says the Obama administration "is the worst of six administrations on FOIA issues," raising one barrier after another, sometimes on Obama's direct orders.

So now we are supposed to believe the IRS scandal over targeting Obama's political opponents has "not even a smidgen of corruption," as President Obama claimed during his Super Bowl 2014 interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. During the interview, Obama confirmed that prior IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman visited the White House more than 100 times but couldn't recall talking with him even once. From his lips to God's ears…

In sharp contrast, a little over a year earlier, on September 17, 2013, The Washington Times reported, "IRS employees were 'acutely' aware in 2010, that President Obama wanted to crack down on conservative organizations and were egged into targeting Tea Party groups by press reports mocking the emerging movement according to an interim report…" According to The Washington Times, the interim report alleged that two IRS officials claimed Tea Party applications were indeed "singled out in the targeting program."

If the information proves accurate, it helps to make sense of why Lerner would not cooperate during the House Oversight Committee hearing last week when asked these straightforward questions: Who was she referring to back in 2010, when she told a Duke University group "they" wanted the IRS to "fix the problem" caused by Citizens United; Why did she think, as she claimed in a previous email, that Tea Party cases were "very dangerous"; Why was she concerned her actions might be perceived as a "political project"; Why did she order Tea Party cases to undergo "multi-tier" reviews; Why did she single out the Crossroads GPS' application in particular. And lastly, If Obama's claim of no corruption was true, then why do House Democrats believe Lerner has a well-founded fear of criminal prosecution, allowing her to claim the Fifth Amendment rather than testify.

Interestingly though, Lerner decided to open up to the Justice Department. The Wall Street Journal recently reported her lawyers gave Lerner the green light to speak with DOJ prosecutors because they had "every confidence" the DOJ is fair-minded and wouldn't prejudge the facts. No kidding. Rutgers law professor George Thomas III hit closer to the target when he said, "One explanation is the one given by her lawyer. The other, darker explanation is that she and her lawyer think the DOJ is not interested in a serious investigation of the IRS treatment of these tax exempt groups." Ding-ding-ding.

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Lerner should feel free to tell the truth because Democrats have already hedged a wall of protection around her. Back in January, the FBI said they have no plans to file criminal charges. Additionally, according to The Wall Street Journal, a House Oversight subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio claims the DOJ assigned the case to an attorney who donated more than $5,000 to Barack Obama's campaigns.

Were certain conservative groups targeted in order to obstruct or delay their constitutional right to participate in the political process? Even if they were, in Obama's world, there is not even a "smidgen of corruption" -- because in Chicago, corruption is commonplace. Nothing to see here folks, time to move on….

Susan Stamper Brown is an opinion page columnist who writes about politics, the military, the economy and culture. Email Susan at writestamper@gmail.com, Facebook or her website at susanstamperbrown.com.
 

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