The IRS scandal grows: Deliberately delaying info until after the election, hiding information, clear evidence that people right next to Obama knew about the problem
“We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior,” [Jack] Lew said.Isn't the proof of their lack of outrage shown by their lack of action? From The Hill newspaper:
Russell George, Treasury’s inspector general (IG) for tax administration, testified that he told the department’s general counsel and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin about the probe in June of 2012 — months after media reports started detailing Tea Party complaints about the IRS. . . .NBC's Lisa Myers "reported this morning that the IRS deliberately chose not to reveal that it had wrongly targeted conservative groups until after the 2012 presidential election." Obama administration officials clearly knew what the scandal was about (conservative groups being targeted) in June 2012.
But the attention is quickly shifting to Wolin, who is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee and Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Wednesday, where he will be grilled on what he and other Treasury officials knew — and when.
Treasury confirmed Friday that George’s office told Wolin about the forthcoming audit last year, and that the inspector general personally told Treasury Secretary Jack Lew about it in March. Lew confirmed that timeline in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
But the Treasury department also says neither Lew nor Wolin found out about the inspector general’s findings until they started filtering out to the public last week. . . .
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has apparently been less than forthcoming in his answers to questions about the scandal. It looks as if Lew knew about the scandal while he was Obama's chief of staff, which means it is quite possible that Obama knew about it as well. Examples of how difficult Lew is with speaking openly about what he knew can be seen here:
. . . Bloomberg's Al Hunt asked Lew, whose Treasury Department oversees the IRS: “When were you first notified that IRS agents were targeting conservative groups like the Tea Party?”A very different take on the same interview is available from Politico. Others, such as acting IRS director Steve Miller, are having massive memory failures.
Instead of answering Hunt’s question directly, however, Lew instead chose to answer when he first learned about the IG report, a tactic President Barack Obama also used earlier this week during a press conference.
“I learned the substance of this report last Friday when it became a matter of public knowledge,” Lew claimed. “Before that, in mid-March , I had had a conversation, just a getting-to-know-you conversation, with the inspector general right after I started, and he went through a number of items that were matters they were working on. And the topic of a project on the 501(c)3 issue was one of the things he briefed me was ongoing.”
Hunt then asked whether former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Lew’s deputy, Neal Wolin, or the general counsel knew about the IRS’s political profiling of conservative groups.
“I think that there was-the heads-up that I got was something that was a matter of public knowledge,” said Lew. “It was posted on the IG's website in the fall of 2012. I believe that other is typically the practice that an inspector general notify the agencies when matters are opened. I was not aware of any details.”
It is possible that "fall of 2012" could refer to a period of time before the election. Regardless, Lew would have discovered the investigation in his capacity as President Obama's chief of staff, meaning that it is possible the president knew of the investigation in 2012 as well. . . .
. . . That’s the kind of week Miller is having. To make matters worse, he spent most of the hearing saying he didn’t remember things — like the details of how he first learned of the targeting — and insisting he didn’t mislead Congress by not telling lawmakers.Over and over again, Miller swore he just answered the questions lawmakers asked him in various letters. “I answered the questions as they were asked,” Miller told Charles Boustany of Louisiana.Miller also made laughable claims such as the targeting of conservative groups, and conservative groups only, was simply an effort to make IRS agents "more efficient in their workload selection."
At times, Miller struggled to find phrases that wouldn’t sound politically tone deaf. He tried to pick a fight over whether the IRS search terms should even be called “targeting” — even though they included terms like “tea party,” “Patriots” and “9/12,” and the inspector general report says specialists were told to look specifically for tea party applications. . . .
Now we learn that since the IRS knew that a critical IG report was coming out, the Obama people asked a member of the press to raise the whole issue in a press presentation a week ago.