I don’t want to waste your time with “phony scandals” or other trivial matters that detract from the Most Transparent Administration Evah!™, but as the old saying had it:
“The IRS is the most intrusive and potentially punitive institution of the federal government and it is a law-enforcement institution and it is off the rails and it is now thoroughly corrupted,” Will said. “And people are saying, ‘Well, the Justice Department can take care of this.’ There’s a reason why Jack Kennedy had his brother [be] attorney general. There’s a reason why Richard Nixon had his campaign manager, John Mitchell, [be] attorney general. It’s an inherently political office and it can’t be trusted in cases like this.”
Just to keep you up to date on this trifling, inconsequential issue:
Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun its probe into IRS targeting of conservative groups, a senior IRS lawyer acknowledged in a sworn declaration.
Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in the declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that the Blackberry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”
That date – June 2012 – is significant because by that time, ex-IRS official Lerner had already been summoned before congressional staffers who interviewed her about reports of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.
“If you intentionally destroy evidence, that is a crime. If you make a statement in court saying the evidence is not available and it is, that is also a crime,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.
News of the Blackberry’s destruction followed Monday’s statement by Judicial Watch that Justice Department attorneys said in a Friday phone call the federal government backs up all computer records to ensure continuity of government in event of a catastrophe, but retrieving the Lerner emails would simply be “too onerous.”
An administration official told Fox News Monday night that Judicial Watch misinterpreted the Friday phone call. “There was no new back-up system described last week to Judicial Watch,” he said. “Government lawyers who spoke to Judicial Watch simply referred to the same email retention policy that Commissioner (John) Koskinen had described in his Congressional testimony.”
But Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who represents other conservative groups suing the IRS, cited a whistleblower who bolsters Judicial Watch’s interpretation.
“I received information from a former Department of Homeland Security official who had security clearances. He just retired in April,” Mitchell said. “He contacted me and he contacted Judicial Watch and some members of Congress and said there is backup material.”
The dueling versions are not likely to sit well with District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is presiding over Judicial Watch’s lawsuit against the IRS. “He gave the IRS not one, but two opportunities in court filings with him to tell him where they were,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “There was no mention of this backup system to the court at that time.”
Let me cut through the blizzard of lies.
After the emergence of the Tea Party and the stunning correction in the course of the country in the 2010 midterms, establishment Democrats (Chuck Schumer most vocally) called for conservative grassroots organizations (“astroturf” according to Nancy Pelosi) to be cut down to size. Lois Lerner, the Madame Defarge of the Obama Terreur, happily complied. Any group with “tea party”, “patriot”, or other dog whistle in its name was singled out for scrutiny. A few Lefty groups were tossed in for seasoning, but were soon cleared. Conservatives, however, entered a mire of bureaucratic slime that they never escaped. Rarely turned down for 501(c)(4) tax status—which rejection they could appeal—they were instead delayed, given the runaround. Justice delayed was justice denied—all the way through the 2012 election. Obama, who was severely rebuked in 2010, won in 2012. Funny that.
It took some doing, but Congress began to investigate. Lerner was called to testify. She made a statement, then clammed up, citing the 5th Amendment. There is still a legal debate whether she had waived the 5th by making her statement, but with Lois lawyering up, Congress understandably turned to her record as Director of the Exempt Organizations Unit at the IRS. Which weren’t there. Her emails were gone, no backups available (in violation of archive and record-keeping laws), hard drives either lost, scratched, erased, destroyed (the story kept changing). And not just hers, but those of several other IRS employees. And not just her hard drive, but now her Blackberry as well. And we were expected to believe it all. Or, rather, they didn’t care if we believed it—what were going to do about it if we didn’t?
Then just the other day, the story veered wildly: there was a back up. It existed, had always existed (as IT people assured us it must), but was a real drag to gain access to. (You remember what a pain those floppy disks were.) And when that story didn’t fly, they now say it was all a misunderstanding, there is no backup: evidently, a senior officer in one of the most punitive bureaucracies in the federal government can run a political hit squad for months to years, and leave not a trace behind. Even the Teflon Don, John Gotti, left behind more incriminating evidence.
Lerner is just the face of the scandal, but it reaches much higher. IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman signed into the White House visitor logs 158 times during that period—solely to talk about the IRS’s role in ObamaCare, we are assured, and he maybe didn’t even actually show up every time he was cleared to. You silly amateurs see the most alarming things in every innocent thing.
Last night on The Kelly File Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice Jay Sekulo revealed that the former chief of staff to former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, Nikole Flax, visited the White House 35 times after talking with former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner about working to criminally prosecute conservative tea party groups for “lying” about political activity. At the White House, Flax met with a top Obama aid during some of those visits.
The email discussed in the segment above is detailed in this previously reported story, along with Lerner’s contact with Democrat Elijah Cummings and suggestions from former FEC Attorney Larry Noble and Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse that conservative groups should be targeted for criminal prosecution in order to “make an impact and they [conservative groups] wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.”
You mean voting. Organizing and contributing. Democracy, in other words. That sort of stuff.
Change the political affiliation from a D to an R, even change the skin from black to white, and this administration would have been impeached a year ago.