Last week, Lois Lerner, the director of the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations division, told the House committee investigating the IRS scandal that she didn’t do anything wrong. She then refused to answer any questions and invoked her Constitutional right against self-incrimination. In other words, she pleaded the 5th.
So far, both Congressmen and reporters trying to find out who knew what and when they knew it are having a mighty hard time getting anyone to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” about this spreading scandal.
We now know that White House officials were told of the accusations and a resulting internal investigation long before the news became public. But we’re supposed to believe that no one told President Barack Obama about it. Just like the rest of us, he didn’t know anything until the story made national TV. Sure.
Turns out that several other things we have been told are simply not true, either — like the fairy tale that Obama fired the acting commissioner of the IRS. Acting Commissioner Steven Miller’s appointment was going to end early next month anyway.
Nor did the commissioner in charge of the tax-exempt division get the ax. James Grant, a veteran IRS bureaucrat, quietly announced his retirement as of June 3. The IRS issued a very respectful statement about Grant’s departure, without any hint of a problem or that he had had suffered any sort of punishment or disgrace.
In other words, despite all of the claims to the contrary, not a single person in the IRS has lost his job over the scandal. In fact, the one person who was supervising those so-called “rogue” IRS employees when the infractions occurred not only wasn’t dismissed or demoted, she actually received a promotion.
In fact, Grant was made commissioner of the tax-exempt department only a little while ago. For the past three years, his boss was a woman named Sara Hall Ingram. And she didn’t get fired or demoted over the abuses by her staff; she got promoted.
That’s right. Ingram is now the director of the IRS’s Affordable Care Office. As hard as it may be to believe, the person in charge of the division at the IRS that singled out patriotic groups for special scrutiny is now the chief enforcer of Obamacare. Doesn’t that make you feel warm and cozy?
Oh, by the way, Ingram was handsomely rewarded for all of her efforts on behalf of the regime. Check out the loot that a grateful government awarded her while her employees were putting the squeeze on Tea Party types: In addition to a six-figure salary, Ingram collected bonuses of $34,400 in 2010, $35,400 in 2011, and $26,550 in 2012.
Who says crime doesn’t pay?
When the Media Turn on Obama
Yes, I know, it’s probably too much to hope that most of the mainstream press will put down their rose-colored glasses long enough to take a hard, unvarnished look at their liberal hero, Obama.
But it doesn’t take many cracks in the dike for the truth to start leaking out. And in the past few days, there have been several encouraging signs that many in the media are starting to look past the White House spinmeisters. When they do, no wonder they’re deeply disturbed by what they see.
I call as my first witness Bob Woodward. Along with his partner, Carl Bernstein, Woodward helped expose the Watergate scandal back in the 1970s that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Woodward says he sees a similarity between those events and the scandals that are now embroiling the Obama Administration over events in Benghazi, Libya.
“I have to go back 40 years to Watergate, when Nixon put out his edited transcripts of the conversations,” Woodward said. “He personally went through them and said, ‘Let’s not tell this, let’s not show this.’”
The famed reporter says the controversy is not going to go away any time soon. “I would not dismiss Benghazi,” he said, “It’s a very serious issue. As people keep saying, four people were killed.”
Meanwhile, Bernstein said the actions of Obama Administration officials who seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters were “outrageous.” He added that even if Obama did not know about the details of the action, he was certainly aware of the policy.
Now we’ve learned that three years ago, the Justice Department labeled FOX News correspondent James Rosen as a possible co-conspirator in a criminal case involving leaked classified information. The government lawyers did so to justify going through Rosen’s personal emails. But at no time was Rosen notified that he was a target of the probe, as the law requires.
This obvious violation of Rosen’s 1st Amendment rights should alarm every reporter and editor in the country. Heck, it should make all of us furious at the Administration’s callous disregard of our Constitutional guarantees. But, then again, when has the Obama Administration paid more than lip service to the U.S. Constitution anyway?
As more and more reporters refuse to accept the White House’s absurd explanations for events and start digging for the truth themselves, much of what they find will alarm them. Who knows what could happen as more of this Administration’s deceit is revealed?
Consider, for example, what happened when a reporter from The Washington Post talked with an IRS worker in the Cincinnati office — you know, one of those “rogue employees” who allegedly decided on their own to target conservative groups with extra scrutiny.
“We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do,” The Post quoted the indignant staffer as saying. “Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”
And even when aides do come to the Administration’s defense, sometimes they just dig the hole deeper. That’s what happened when Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to Obama, made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows May 19. Instead of defusing questions about the three crises that have engulfed the White House, Pfeiffer only made matters worse.
His first miscalculation came when he appeared on Fox Sunday Morning with Chris Wallace. The reporter wanted to know where the President was, and what he was doing, the night of the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi. Was he monitoring events from the Situation Room? “That’s a largely irrelevant fact,” Pfeiffer replied.
The aide seemed to like that dodge so much that he tried it again when he appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. The host pressed him about the growing IRS scandal: “What does the president believe,” he asked. “Does the president believe that [targeting conservative groups] would be illegal?”
Pfeiffer replied, “The law is irrelevant.” A visibly astonished Stephanopoulos replied, “You don’t really mean the law is irrelevant, do you?”
Yes, George, they really do. The truth is whatever they say it is. And how dare anyone question them about it.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) put it well when he said, “The president’s entire program is based on giving more and more power to the same executive branch agencies demonstrating themselves this week to either be criminally incompetent or tyrannically corrupt.”
And Lee concluded, “This is what always happens when government gets too big. The Founders knew that over time, either the people would control the government or the government would control the people. That’s why they bequeathed us a constitutionally limited government — a republic, if we could keep it.”
We’ve seen other Presidents try desperately to sweep a growing controversy under the rug. But the truth can defeat them every time, if sufficient pains are taken to bring it to light.
Let’s do our part to continue shining the spotlight where it’s needed the most. And watch the cockroaches scurry for cover.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
Chip Wood was the first news editor of The Review of the News and also wrote for American Opinion, our two predecessor publications. He is now the geopolitical editor of Personal Liberty Digest, where his Straight Talk column appears weekly. This article first appeared in PersonalLiberty.com and has been reprinted with permission.