House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says it’s inconceivable President Obama did not know about the Internal Revenue Service decision to arbitrarily discriminate against conservative, tea-party and Christian organizations with invasive and probably illegal delays and questioning.
“It just doesn’t pass the straight-face test,” he said on a recent “Good Morning America” appearance. “How could – how can your chief of staff – your general counsel know, and you not know?”
The suggestion comes even as the IRS scandal that horrified the nation and already has brought a series of legal cases against the federal agency was being overshadowed by another scandal, the revelations of Obama’s spying on American citizens and their telephone and Internet records.
But Boehner insisted Congress will hold the IRS accountable.
“Our committees are going to do their job,” Boehner said. “Under the Constitution, we’re required to provide oversight in the executive branch.”
While the Washington Post noted that one of the officials in the division that targeted non-profit organizations, Holly Paz, has been replaced, others still need to be held accountable.
Lois Lerner, another official in that division, remains on full pay on leave while still another, Steven Miller, stepped down.
Writer Jason Stverak at Forbes put it bluntly.
“Through either gross incompetence or political malfeasance, Lois Lerner, the IRS director of tax exempt groups, allowed her department to target groups that didn’t agree with the Obama administration,” he wrote. “Among the litany of questions that remain, one of the most glaring is, ‘Why hasn’t Lois Lerner been fired yet?'”
In a commentary, Dr. James Dobson, founder of FamilyTalk, explained how his organization was targeted by the IRS.
“The arrogant power grab is leading us down a path toward a nanny state,” he said. “We don’t believe the government should have the power to control our speech, our religious liberties and now our health care. No wonder they also want to control our guns.”
NBC News reported, meanwhile, that the IRS scandal has prompted “intra-agency finger-pointing between the IRS central office and its much-maligned Cincinnati satellite.”
The report said accusations have spilled into Congress, where lawmakers are focusing on selected portions of the testimony of IRS staffers to try to sort out what happened.
National Review said it’s become clear hat the scandal encompasses much more than “a few rogue agents” in Cincinnati.
“Employees in the Cincinnati office made clear to members of the House Oversight Committee that they received direction from the Exempt Organizations Technical Unit in Washington,” the report said.
Secondly, there is evidence the targeting of conservative groups continued even after it was revealed, the report said.
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice charged that “without question, the IRS misconduct of harassing and abusing our clients was still in high gear from May 2012 through May of this year.”
The National Review report said it was a myth that liberal groups also were targeted, arguing groups with words like “Progress” or “Progressive'”in their names were quickly approved.
There also is strong evidence that politics was a factor, the report said.
“Douglas Shulman, who was IRS commissioner when most of the targeting occurred, is a Democratic donor, and he is married to [a] liberal activist with ties to the Occupy Wall Street movement. IRS employees donated twice as much money to President Obama s they did to Mitt Romney in 2012, and nearly 30 times as much to Obama over his 2008 challenger John McCain,” the report said.
The report said the insistence of House Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Ga., that the scandal is over is unfounded.
Cummings claims an anonymous IRS manager who labeled himself a “conservative Republican” said he was the one who started the targeting of the groups, meaning it wasn’t politically motivated.
“Based upon everything I’ve seen, the case is solved. If it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on,” Cummings said.
“The American people know instinctively that there is a serious problem at the Internal Revenue Service and that this is the moment to resolve the issue – not sweep it under the rug,” said Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla.