Lois Lerner Called Conservatives ‘Assholes,’ Fantasized About Working At Obama Group
“Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”
“So we don’t need to worry about teRroists [sic]. It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner wrote in a Nov. 9, 2012 email exchange with an IRS colleague.
Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp revealed the emails in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Lerner’s disdain for the right is central to an investigation into whether she targeted conservative groups who were seeking tax-exempt status. Republicans have accused the former director of the IRS’s exempt organizations division of possible criminal wrongdoing in targeting the groups.
“Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many assholes.”
– Lois Lerner
“This email shows that Ms. Lerner’s mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives,” Camp wrote. Read the rest of this entry »
Disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive imagination.
Kevin D. Williamson — no slouch when it comes to precise language himself — has a must-read in this weekend’s National Review, reminding us that the “ancients understood something that has been neglected in recent centuries: Grammar is the foundation of logic.”
There will always be occasions for discretion and interpretation on legal questions, but it is not the case that such discretion should presumptively empower the IRS to do things that the IRS is not legally entitled to do simply because Barack Obama wishes it to be so. If history teaches us anything, it is that a system of law that presumptively sides with political power soon ceases to be any sort of system of law at all. Rather, it becomes a post facto justification for the will to power, an intellectual window dressing on might-makes-right rule.
The matter addressed in Halbig is hardly the Obama administration’s first attempt to circumvent the law as written — see Hobby Lobby, etc. — nor is it the progressives’ only attempt to impose what they imagine to be enlightened ad-hocracy on the American people. The disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive managerial imagination: The law, in their view, is not something that limits the ambitions of princes, but something that empowers them to do what they see fit… (read more)
From Halbig and Hammurabi
[Kevin Williamson's book "The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure" is available at Amazon]
The head of the IRS confirmed Wednesday that investigators looking into missing emails from ex-agency official Lois Lerner have found and are reviewing “backup tapes” — despite earlier IRS claims that the tapes had been recycled.
“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive.”
– House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” But he said the inspector general’s office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any “recoverable” material.
The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes “no longer exist because they have been recycled.”
It is unclear whether the tapes in IG custody contain any Lerner emails, but Koskinen said investigators are now checking. Read the rest of this entry »
For National Review Online, Hans A. von Spakovsky writes: And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: two different federal courts of appeal, issuing completely contradictory rulings on the very same day, on the very same issue.
“An Exchange established by the federal government cannot possibly be ‘an exchange established by the State.’ To hold otherwise would be to engage in distortion, not interpretation.”
– Senior Judge Ray Randolph
That’s what happened Tuesday. If nothing else, the dueling rulings should hasten the day when the next phase of litigation involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reaches the Supreme Court.
In Halbig v. Burwell, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against the administration, voiding an IRS regulation that provided tax credits in the form of a subsidy to individuals purchasing health insurance through exchanges run by the federal government. Meanwhile, in Richmond, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held the exact opposite: In King v. Burwell, it concluded that the IRS had the power to authorize such subsidies.
The language of the statute is not ambiguous, so the Justice Department was forced to argue that the IRS rule was a valid exercise of regulatory authority to implement the intent of the law.
The Obamacare law specifically says that the federal government can provide subsidies for insurance bought on an exchange “established by the State.” But there is no mention whatsoever of extending the subsidies to those who purchase coverage on an exchange run by the federal government. Read the rest of this entry »
“There is an issue as to whether or not there is a ‑‑ that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the 6‑month retention schedule.”
– IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane
For The Daily Caller, Patrick Howley reports: IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane said in transcribed congressional testimony that more IRS officials experienced computer crashes, bringing the total number of crash victims to “less than 20,” and also said that the agency does not know if the lost emails are stillbacked up somewhere.
“So some of those backup tapes may still exist?”
“I don’t know whether they are or they aren’t, but it’s an issue that’s being looked at.”
WASHINGTON (AP/ Breitbart) reports: The Justice Department is investigating the circumstances behind the disappearance of emails from a former senior Internal Revenue Service official, part of a broader criminal inquiry into whether the agency had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, according to congressional testimony released Wednesday.
In a statement to be delivered to a congressional committee on Thursday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole says investigators are looking into emails that went missing from the computer of Lois Lerner.
Cole was to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been investigating the matter. He declined to provide additional information about the investigation, according to prepared remarks issued ahead of his appearance.
The IRS has said it lost the emails in 2011 when Lerner’s computer crashed. At the time, Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. Read the rest of this entry »
National Review Online‘s Eliana Johnson reports that the House of Representatives on Monday evening will begin considering a Financial Services appropriations bill that funds the Department of the Treasury, including the IRS.
Illinois representative Peter Roskam will attempt to use the legislature to curb the power of the agency, which has been under fire since it revealed in May 2013 that it inappropriately targeted conservative non-profit groups seeking tax exemption. Read the rest of this entry »
Don’t hand the IRS investigation over to a special prosecutor.
“Let’s talk reality. As a matter of constitutional law, there is no such thing as an independent counsel. In our system, prosecution is a plenary executive power. All federal investigations and prosecutions proceed under the authority of the president; neither the Congress nor the courts have police powers. Any prosecutor, regardless of how “independent” we’d like him to be, would have to serve at the pleasure of the president, and would report to Eric Holder…”
For The Washington Post, mirroring punditfromanotherplanet‘s favorite ongoing theme, Ed Rogers writes: Anyone paying attention to the Internal Revenue Service scandal has been waiting for the next smidgen to drop. Well, two more hit pretty hard this week. At the president’s next encounter with the media, I will scream collusion if no one asks him for his exact definition of a “smidgen,” and if he thinks he has seen a smidgen of corruption yet. At this point, only the most gullible or culpable can continue to claim there is no compelling evidence in this case. Given the delays,lies and stonewalling, there is no viable argument against a special prosecutor.
“This is a smoking gun e-mail in that it makes plain she had a cover-up in mind. There is no other plausible explanation.”
Who knows how many of her colleagues and allies are breathing a sigh of relief upon learning that their e-mails to Lerner were destroyed and their instant messages not recorded? I think Lerner must have a sizable silent cheering section in Washington; people who are rooting for her to hang tough in pleading the Fifth and hoping that she does not go wobbly on them.
[Also see Jazz Shaw's commentary - The Lerner Files: “smidgens upon smidgens” of corruption]
I’ll bet her government retirement check is one check that never gets lost in the mail or delayed. Read the rest of this entry »
Via NRO staff:
For National Review Online, Andrew Johnson writes: Lois Lerner isn’t to blame for the loss of thousands of emails sent during the period of the IRS’s alleged targeting of conservative groups, according to her attorney…
“The truth is this was one of those things that happened — at the time she did everything she could to retrieve it.”
Appearing on State of the Union, William Taylor explained that Lerner’s computer screen “went blue” one day, and ultimately resulted in her losing all of her emails during a two-year span.
“That’s the story — that’s all there is to it.”
For Breitbart.com, Robert Wilde reports: Although former IRS official Lois Lerner refuses to speak, pleading the fifth amendment, her attorney spoke on her behalf regarding the controversy over two years of missing IRS emails.
“It’s a little brazen to think she did this on purpose.”
– Lois Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor III
William Taylor III said that accusations by Republicans that she is hiding something is “silly… she doesn’t know what happened… It’s a little brazen to think she did this on purpose.”
The IRS and Democrats contend that the emails were lost due to a hard drive crash. Yet, as Politico reported, it so happens that the computer glitch was concomitant with the 2009 time period in which Cincinnati IRS agents started delaying the approvals of Tea Party groups vying for 501(c)(4) non-profit status. Notably, the not-for- profit designation would have allowed the conservative groups the capacity to carry out a limited amount of political activity. Read the rest of this entry »
IRS Destruction of E-mail Evidence: ‘If Nixon Had Burned the Tapes as People Had Advised Him to, He Would Have Served His Full Term’Posted: June 24, 2014
“That there was targeting of these groups is not disputed…”
“The question that makes this interesting and the question that a special prosecutor would pursue is where does this lead, how high up does this go.”
Will noted that people have been saying that nothing has connected the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups to the White House, but he questions that. He recalled the Watergate scandal, which he said never would have been connected to President Nixon but for the tapes that showed him plotting obstruction of justice.
“Something equivalent to burning the tapes may have happened with the hard drive of Lois Lerner.”
Will explained that if Nixon had burned the tapes as people advised him to, he would have served his full time. “Something equivalent to burning the tapes may have happened with the hard drive of Lois Lerner,” Will said…(read more)
[VIDEO] Republican Congressman: Lerner Should Have Known She Was Obliged by Law to Preserve Her E-mailsPosted: June 24, 2014
For NRO, Molly Wharton writes: The IRS “did not follow the law” by not notifying the National Archives and Records Administration when they lost Lois Lerner’s e-mails, U.S. Archivist David Ferriero said.
During an IRS investigation hearing on Tuesday morning, Representative Tim Walberg (R., Mich.) questioned Ferriero about whether the IRS broke the Federal Records Act, which requires that if agencies become aware of unauthorized destruction of federal records, they report the incident to the archives…(read more) National Review Online
For The Weekly Standard, Daniel Halper reports: The IRS comissioner insists his agency did not break the law or relevant statutes. But under questioning by Rep. Trey Gowdy, the IRS commissioner also admitted that he doesn’t know the law or the relevant statutes:
“You have already said, multiple times today, that there was no evidence that you found of any criminal wrongdoing,” Gowdy said. “I want you to tell me: What criminal statutes you have evaluated?”
“Common sense? Instead of the criminal code, you want to rely on common sense?”
“I have not looked at any,” the IRS commissioner admitted.
“Well then how can you possibly tell our fellow citizens that there is no criminal wrongdoing if you don’t even know what statutes to look at?” Gowdy followed-up. Read the rest of this entry »
For Big Journalism, John Nolte reports: On Monday’s edition of MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe,” Mark Halperin said out loud what every fair-minded person has known for over a year now, “I think with a different administration, one that was a Republican administration, this story would be a national obsession, and, instead, it’s getting coverage here and a few other places. But it deserves a lot more questions.”
Al Hunt, a Obama foot soldier disguised as an opinion columnist, thinks the IRS scandal is getting plenty of “aggressive” attention and argues, “The critical question remains whether there was political interference at the top by either Treasury or the White House and everything we’ve seen so far suggests not.”
“This isn’t bias. Bias is merely the act of being unfair. This is widespread media corruption.”
Halperin replies with what should be obvious to anyone with anything even close to nose for the truth: “I just don’t think we can presume an assumption of innocence” based on what the White House says. Read the rest of this entry »
For Media Research Center, Matthew Balan reports: The Big Three networks’ Friday evening newscasts finally noticed the latest development in the IRS scandal (they omitted it on Thursday), after Rep. Paul Ryan grilled Commissioner John Koskinen earlier in the day. It was the first ABC, CBS or NBC evening newscast mention of the IRS since news of the missing e-mail broke a week earlier.
Williams set aside a minute and 13 seconds of air time on NBC Nightly News to the latest on the IRS scandal
[Also see: Trust In News Media At All-Time Low]
ABC’s David Muir spotlighted “the outrage…involving the IRS claiming to have lost thousands of crucial documents – lawmakers asking, how can the tax man be let off the hook for losing documents, while ordinary taxpayers would never get away with that?”
NBC’s Brian Williams noted how Koskinen claimed that the IRS “lost evidence in the investigation into how they handled conservative political groups…and given how long the IRS holds on to things like our tax returns, some members of Congress just aren’t buying it.” CBS’s Nancy Cordes zeroed in on congressional Democrats’ attack on their Republican colleagues over the scandal – something that ABC and NBC didn’t do: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
NANCY CORDES: Republicans have long suggested Lerner was urged by the White House to hold up applications for tax-exempt status from conservative groups before the 2012 elections. Democrats, like Lloyd Doggett of Texas, mocked that as just another conspiracy theory.
‘We have a problem with you, and you have a problem maintaining your credibility': House Republicans Grill IRS Commissioner as they Subpoena White House LawyerPosted: June 23, 2014
For Mail Online, David Martosko reports: Republicans dropped a hammer on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during a testy hearing covering the disappearance of emails tied to the agency’s tea party targeting scandal.
“You worked to cover up the fact they were missing and only came forward to fess up on a Friday afternoon after you had been caught red-handed.”
The emails, covering the period January 2009 to April 2011, belonged to embattled former official Lois Lerner and could shed light on whether an expansive scheme to single out conservative groups for special scrutiny was guided by members of Congress or administration officials outside the IRS.
‘The committee requested all of Lois Lerner’s emails over a year ago,’ said House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. ‘And we subpoenaed the emails in August 2013 and again in February 2014. … You worked to cover up the fact they were missing and only came forward to fess up on a Friday afternoon after you had been caught red-handed.’
‘You personally did not cause the targeting,’ he told Koskinen, referring to the tea party scandal. ‘You personally did not destroy the emails. But by your actions and your deception, you now own this scandal.’
‘We have a problem with you,’ Issa sniped, ‘and you have a problem maintaining your credibility.’
Monday’s unusual evening hearing came as the result of a subpoena, and will continue Tuesday morning with a command performance from another Obama administration official.
Issa subpoenaed White House lawyer Jennifer O’Connor on Monday afternoon. He had invited her on Thursday to testify during the Tuesday session, but on Monday afternoon White House Counsel W. Neil Egglestonwrote Issa to say his underling would not appear.
Before O’Connor’s promotion to the White House Counsel’s office, she was counsel to then-Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel.
Just ten days ago the IRS informed congressional investigators that a hard drive crash had destroyed 28 months of emails to and from Lerner, who led the IRS’s office in charge of vetting and policing tax-exempt nonprofit groups. Read the rest of this entry »
For The Daily Caller, Patrick Howley reports: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cancelled its longtime relationship with an email-storage contractor just weeks after ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer crashed and shortly before other IRS officials’ computers allegedly crashed.
The IRS signed a contract with Sonasoft, an email-archiving company based in San Jose, California, each year from 2005 to 2010. The company, which partners with Microsoft and counts The New York Times among its clients, claims in its company slogans that it provides “Email Archiving Done Right” and “Point-Click Recovery.” Sonasoft in 2009 tweeted, “If the IRS uses Sonasoft products to backup their servers why wouldn’t you choose them to protect your servers?”
Here’s a Sonasoft commercial re-enacting how the company quickly and thoroughly saves its clients’ emails after computer crashes:
Sonasoft was providing “automatic data processing” services for the IRS throughout the January 2009 to April 2011 period in which Lerner sent her missing emails. Read the rest of this entry »
For New York Post, Kyle Smith writes: To understand the latest outrage in the IRS scandal, mull over what might happen if regulators found significant evidence to implicate Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in an insider trading scheme.
“This is “the dog ate my hard drive, broke into another building, ate the backup of the hard drive, then broke into six other top officials’ offices and ate their hard drives also.”
Let’s say Blankfein asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to answer any questions. Say Goldman was subpoenaed to provide all of Blankfein’s e-mails. Goldman replied that, instead of complying with the subpoena, it was itself reviewing the e-mails in question and was considering which ones to release.
It’s already been 13 months, and no one has even been charged. And no one will be charged. Congress has called the cops — the Justice Department — and the cops simply don’t care.
Now imagine that, nearly a year later, Goldman admitted that it had not, in fact, reviewed the e-mails in question, because they had been lost in a computer crash two months before it claimed to be reviewing them. Imagine Goldman also said copies of the e-mails were lost, because while under subpoena it had destroyed the “backup tapes” (whatever those are) that held them and that it had also thrown away Blankfein’s actual hard drive.
The thing about dogs eating homework is, it could actually happen. This can’t.
This is “the dog ate my hard drive, broke into another building, ate the backup of the hard drive, then broke into six other top officials’ offices and ate their hard drives also.”
What we learned about the IRS this week is that there is an obvious criminal coverup that comes in addition to the possible underlying crimes. Prosecutions need to be brought against all of those involved.
Why isn’t this happening already? Read the rest of this entry »