The discovery of a new trove of emails sent from Tax Exempt Organization director Lois Lerner’s official IRS account – in which she compares conservatives to terrorists, and refers to them as “crazies,” “rabid,” “whackos,” and “assholes” – illustrates the cunning of Democrats in dragging this scandal out for years. If these new emails had been revealed at the outset of the story, back when Barack Obama was pretending to be outraged by the abuse of IRS power for political purposes, it would have been devastating. It would have been difficult for the pro-Obama media to control the firestorm.
But now, years later, it’s more like a head-shaky footnote, confirming what we already knew about Lerner – a partisan operative who was keenly interested in using her power to serve her political interests. Nevertheless, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) went through the motions of writing a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, who runs the equally politicized Justice Department, pointing out that these new Lerner communiques clearly demonstrate the sort of intent that is normally relevant to law enforcement investigations:
A newly discovered email exchange from Ms. Lerner’s official IRS email account, dated November 9, 2012, directly demonstrates Ms. Lerner’s deep animus towards conservatives, which she refers to as “—holes.” Lerner further illustrates her disgust with conservatives, even suggesting they will ruin the country. In her email, Lerner states: “So we don’t need to worry about alien teRorists. [sic] It’s our own crazies that will take us down.” This email shows that Ms. Lerner’s mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives.
This new evidence clearly demonstrates why ms. Lerner not only targeted conservatives, but denied such groups their rights to due process and equal protection under the law. This builds on the ample evidence in the Committee’s original referral in which the Committee found that Ms., Lerner used her position to improperly influence agency action against only conservative organizations, including Crossroads GPS, among others.
During our investigation, the Committee found Ms. Lerner personally directed the denial of an application for exempt status and subjected Crossroads GPS to an audit. Additionally, our referral showed her favorable disposition toward left-leaning organizations. As set forth in the April 9, 2014 letter, in response to a news story about the formation of Organizing For Action, a 501(c)(4) created by former advisors to President Obama’s reelection campaign, Ms. Lerner remarked to EO Senior Technical Advisor Sharon Light, “Oh – maybe I can get the DC office job!” Subsequent emails among Ms. Lerner’s senior aides appeared to consider her statement to be a plausible career move.
Once again, I invite readers to play the Alternate Universe Game, in which this scandal is about the weaponized IRS harassing left-wing groups to ensure the re-election of a Republican president. We now learn the scandal kingpin used her official government email account to send messages in which she referred to environmental, pro-choice, and illegal immigration activists as “crazies” and “assholes” who were going to destroy the country, unless they were stopped. In another exchange, she hopes to land a job at the National Rifle Association. Imagine the media reaction, to say nothing of the street-theater action. Go ahead, take your time, try to imagine all the little details: the 24/7 “America Held Hostage” media coverage, the Hollywood movies about stolen elections, the first time a rock went through the window of a cop car…
Back here in the real world, we’ll get another round of stonewall theater from congressional Democrats, and if the media bothers to mention the story at all, it will be in the context of dismissing it as part of a past we should all move on from. No one from the mainstream press will interview the heads of targeted Tea Party and pro-life groups to ask how they feel about being called “crazies” by the head of the Internal Revenue Service division that made their applications for tax exempt status vanish into a bureaucratic void during a historic election. There’s new evidence to suggest that pro-Israel groups were targeted by Lerner and her gang, too, but the media will make no connection between that and the Obama Administration’s blundering in the current Gaza war.
Camp’s letter to Holder also mentions disturbing suggestions in the new Lerner emails that she was keeping potentially sensitive taxpayer information on her home computer, and using her personal email account to conduct official business, a huge violation of federal transparency laws. Camp concludes by urging Holder to “begin aggressively investigating this matter, or appoint a special council,” because “the failure to do so will only further erode public trust in not only the IRS, but the [Justice] Department as well.”
I hope Rep. Camp isn’t holding his breath waiting for that investigation, or for anyone in the Obama Administration to start worrying about the erosion of public trust in their rulers.
Update: Over at the House Oversight Committee, a panel convened by chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) comes up with what the Washington Examiner calls a “disturbing suggestion about the role of ObamaCare in encouraging the politicization of the IRS”:
The Affordable Care Act gave the IRS authority to hire 19,000 new agents to enforce compliance with Obamacare.
That put the agency at the center of the program’s administrative apparatus, with a resultdescribed by the report:
“Due to structural deficiencies and ineffective internal oversight, Lois Lerner had virtual autonomy to run the Exempt Organization Division.
“For several reasons ??? chief among them, the IRS???s role in the Affordable Care Act ??? the IRS leadership did not adequately supervise the unit???s work.
“Then-Commissioner Doug Shulman spent a considerable amount of time working on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and Lerner???s direct supervisor, Sarah Hall Ingram, left her permanent job to lead the IRS???s Affordable Care Act office.”
That’s sort of the whole story behind Big Government, isn’t it? The bigger agencies get, and the more mission creep they indulge, the less anyone monitors what all of the drones are doing, and the harder it gets to hold someone responsible for malfeasance.
Over in our Alternate Universe, you had better believe the massed ranks of the mainstream media would be screaming about how a Republican version of the IRS scandal qualified as “voter suppression” against the targeted liberal groups, but over here in the real world, it’s left to Issa’s panel to quietly explain how that worked:
The report also sheds light on an aspect of the IRS scandal that has received scant attention ??? how the targeted groups’ ability to exercise First Amendment freedoms was compromised during two election cycles that were critical to President Obama’s political fortunes.
“As the IRS ignored tax-exempt applications, donors stopped giving to the groups, overall interest waned, and some groups even stopped their operations,” according to the report.
“The delays also resulted in the automatic revocation of some groups??? exemptions by operation of law because the groups had been waiting for an answer so long that they did not file for renewal within the statutorily proscribed period.”
One of the major reforms suggested by House Oversight would be to “allow private citizens to sue individual IRS employees for civil damages.” In other words, the next Lois Lerner would be looking at a lifetime of poverty after civil judgments from her victims wiped out her bank account, instead of a cushy retirement filled with taxpayer-funded benefits. That’s a good idea for modest reform, certainly better than the absurd situation we’re currently facing – where even the admitted crime of handing over the National Organization for Marriage’s confidential tax data to its political opponents resulted in no prosecution, and a mere $50,000 fine covered by taxpayers.
But the only real “solution” to the political abuse of power is to get rid of the power. Haven’t we seen enough to teach us that in the arms race between power and accountability, power wins every time?