Democrats know how to play hardball politics; it is in their blood. Usually, Republicans act like gentlemen and prefer to stay within the rules and show proper etiquette. In the meantime, they are being rolled over by the more aggressive Democrats. Finally, a Republican is showing some justified outrage over the latest development in the scandal involving IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.
In today's hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) accused the IRS commissioner John Koskinen of lying. "I am sitting here listening to this testimony. I just – I don't believe it….Nobody believes you," Ryan said.
The IRS has been less than forthcoming from the beginning of the investigation into allegations that the agency improperly targeted Tea Party groups. First they claimed that no targeting occurred and that liberal groups were subjected to the same scrutiny. Then it was disclosed that the targeting was the work of some "rogue" agents in the Cincinnati field office. All of these claims were eventually proven to be false.
Last Friday, the IRS hid in a 27-page letter the bombshell revelation that the computer hard drive of disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner had crashed and was "recycled." Her emails from 2009-2011 were supposedly lost forever, along with the emails of six other IRS officials.
This was just too much for Ryan, who noted that the emails were requested last May. The IRS said that the crash was discovered in February of this year and the White House learned of it in April. It was another two months before the IRS decided to inform the entity that is investigating their activities, the House of Representatives.
To say this smells to high heaven is the understatement of the century. These emails are critical to determine whether Lerner was directing the IRS mistreatment under orders from the White House or other administration officials. Now, with the revelation of the computer crash, we may never know the truth.
There is an urgent need for a special prosecutor to be appointed. No one can trust the President's henchman, Attorney General Eric Holder, to investigate wrongdoing in the administration. The problem, of course, is that the Attorney General can only appoint a special prosecutor investigating the Executive Branch and Eric Holder will never show such objectivity.
Since Lerner's computer has been "recycled," the emails can possibly be retrieved another way, through the National Security Agency. According to NSA whistleblower William Binney, the agency has recorded all electronic communication since 2001. The information may be contained in one of their massive facilities, like the Utah Data Center. Of course, the problem with this course of action is that the President would have to direct the NSA to reveal the information and he would never willingly put his administration in such peril.
It is up to members of Congress like Paul Ryan to keep the pressure on the IRS and the Obama administration. Currently, Lois Lerner is in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about what she knows about the scandal. Congress should use its constitutional authority to arrest Lerner and place her in Capitol jail.
The same process should be used for all of the IRS and Obama administration officials who refuse to cooperate with this investigation. Only that type of dramatic action will get the attention of the individuals trying to cover up this scandal.
It is time the tables were turned on the IRS and the Obama White House. It is up to the House of Representatives to finally show courage and follow the lead of Paul Ryan, the first Republican leader since the Gipper to take the gloves off.