In a February 2014 interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, when discussing how the IRS targeted conservatives, Barack Obama denied any wrongdoing on the part of the IRS, proclaiming there was “not even a smidgen of corruption.” It was a ridiculous thing to say. If for no other reason, it was a clear indication that Obama didn’t take the investigation, or the corruption, seriously.
A more tangible reason his flippant remark was absurd was because the investigation into the IRS targeting conservatives was in its infancy. In the sixteen months since Obama’s denial, we have since seen evidence of so much wrongdoing on the part of Obama’s IRS that his denial rings hollow. Obama was correct in one respect, there wasn’t a smidgen of corruption, there was a mountain of corruption.
That the IRS was used as a weapon by the Obama Administration against Barack Obama’s political and electoral adversaries is no longer in dispute. The only questions that remain are how high up in the Obama Administration the corruption goes.
In the last year, we have seen senior IRS official, Lois Lerner, refuse to testify to a Congressional Committee who is investigating the IRS and the subsequent cover up. Lerner, who proclaimed her innocence, then immediately took the fifth so as not to incriminate herself.
In addition to refusing to testify, Lerner and the IRS didn’t produce her emails for the two years in question, claiming that her hard disk had crashed, making all of her emails irretrievable. And if the emails weren’t destroyed when her hard disk crashed, they certainly were when the hard disk was destroyed and recycled. Of course, the alleged computer crash and subsequent destruction of the hard drive occurred after the House Oversight Committee demanded Lerner’s emails.
Lerner’s refusal to testify to Congress was met with a charge of Contempt of Congress. After the charge was levied by Congress, it was sent to the Justice Department for prosecution. Obama’s Justice Department has refused to prosecute Lerner. More accurately, they were non-responsive, completely ignoring the Congress.
We have also seen examples of coincidence that strain credulity. After Lerner’s hard disk crashed, seven more IRS officials who are believed to have worked with Lerner in illegally targeting conservatives suffered the same fate. Their hard disks crashed as well, each before they were able to produce their emails for the Oversight Committee.
John Koskinen, the Director of the IRS has since testified that, in fact, the emails were irretrievable and that no back up existed for any of the eight IRS officials. Koskinen was just a long line of liars from the Obama Administration to testify. Koskinen’s testified, under oath, that the IRS had tried for months to recover the emails, but the emails no longer existed and, therefore, could not be produced. No back up existed, or so we were told.
The IRS was under almost constant pressure from Judicial Watch, a non-partisan watchdog group that sued the IRS in October 2013 to compel the IRS to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests it had filed in 2012. Obama’s Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder zealously represented the IRS, stonewalling Judicial Watch and the Federal Court in which the suit was being litigated, as well as the House Oversight Committee.
Then, in November 2014, the IRS admitted to the court in the Judicial Watch case that it had, in reality, failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials. This directly contradicted all of the testimony and representations of the IRS to date.
It was still a surprise to many that on February 26, 2015, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) officials testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it had received 744 backup tapes containing emails sent and received by Lerner. This testimony showed that the IRS had falsely represented to both Congress, Judge Sullivan, and Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails were irretrievably lost.
Despite the fact that the IRS has been in possession of Lois Lerner’s missing emails since February, the IRS and the Justice Department continue to stonewall both Congress and the court, advancing one absurd excuse after another why they can’t produce the emails.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement in response to the IRS’ court filing Friday about 6,400 newly discovered emails from Lois Lerner’s account:
“Late Friday afternoon, the Obama IRS finally complied with Judge Emmet Sullivan’s June 4 order requiring the IRS to provide answers by June 12 on the status of the Lois Lerner emails the IRS had previously declared lost. Judicial Watch raised questions about the IRS’ handling of the missing emails issue in a court filing on June 2, 2015, demanding answers about Lois Lerner’s emails, which had been recovered from backup tapes.
“Our review of the seven-page filing shows that the IRS remains intent on stonewalling Judicial Watch and Judge Sullivan. Indeed, contrary to false representations to the court and Congress that the emails were lost and unrecoverable, the IRS finally admits that it has as many as 6,400 new Lois Lerner emails but won’t promise to turn them over to Judicial Watch.
“Even though the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration already identified and removed emails that are duplicates, the IRS is in ‘the process of conducting further manual deduplication of the 6,400’ emails, rather than reviewing them in response to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act requests that are more than two years old now. Our legal team will continue pursuing all necessary and available legal options to hold the IRS accountable for its flagrant abuse of power.”
The “lost” Lois Lerner emails are at issue in Judicial Watch’s October 2013 lawsuit seeking documents about the Obama IRS Tea Party targeting scandal and are equally important to the House Oversight Committee’s investigation. Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the IRS first to admit that Lerner’s emails were supposedly missing and, then, that the emails were on IRS back-up systems. Lois Lerner is the former head of the Exempt Organizations branch of the IRS, and was one of the top IRS officials responsible for the IRS targeting conservatives. It’s certainly been more than a smidgen of corruption to Barack Obama’s political opponents.
When you consider actions like the IRS targeting conservatives, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens voting, thousands of community organizing groups registering ineligible voters, and precincts so crooked that Romney didn’t get one vote, it’s easy to see how IRS persecution would keep zealous volunteers and conservative donors out of the game. And that, was likely just enough to steal reelection in 2012.