IRS E-mails: The Perfect Storm
August 22 is another deadline for the Obama administration’s IRS officials to come clean about their clear malfeasance in office. Judge Emmet Sullivan, who has acted sua sponte to compel IRS officials to provide all the details surrounding the “lost” e-mails, has the reputation of a judicial pit bull, a federal judge who insists that his orders and his office be treated with proper respect.
Placing himself directly in the middle of this scandal, Judge Sullivan has removed the favored riposte by the left: attack the questioner. Sullivan is a black jurist from Howard University, perhaps the most respected black university in America. He was appointed to the federal bench by Bill Clinton.
Judge Sullivan has also made his mark as an implacable foe of the policing authorities of the Executive Branch abusing their power. When Ted Stevens was railroaded by federal prosecutors, Judge Sullivan not only thoroughly dressed down the corrupt Justice Department officials, but also took the extraordinary step of appointing an independent prosecutor. (Think what would happen if Judge Sullivan did the same in this case!)
This is a scandal ordinary Americans can completely grasp in all its incarnations. The Obama administration picks out its political opponents for particular persecution. The organ of federal power chosen for this persecution, the IRS, is despised and feared by millions of Americans. Did Obama’s flacks forget that the last major congressional action to rein in the IRS, the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, passed the Senate by a vote of 97 to 0 and the House by a vote of 402 to 8, and was signed into law by Bill Clinton?
If the chosen agency to torment conservatives is toxic to voters, then the idiotic arrogance of the principal IRS officials makes for breathtaking politics. They are clearly lying to Congress, lying to the American people, and lying to federal judges. They are obviously hiding important information. Their misconduct, already, would qualify as obstruction of justice and perjury, and the longer they stonewall, the guiltier they look. Obama, by gratuitously insisting before any evidence was gathered that nothing wrong had been done, at least by his folks in Washington, tied himself to the scandal.
The explosion of information technology expertise among ordinary Americans means that even the relatively apolitical snicker at the hapless efforts of the IRS bosses to pretend that all the e-mail records have been lost. Most Americans use e-mails all the time and know just how difficult it would be to utterly scrub forever even casual e-mails sent to friends and acquaintances. Most Americans in their ordinary lives assume that an e-mail they send will exist in myriad places, and that if their computers crash, this will not affect these independent records of e-mails sent.
The scandal then is the perfect storm of political corruption. Obama’s IRS partisans do something very bad. They complement this misbehavior with condescending e-mails that seem to relish their abuse of political opponents. When confronted by the proper regulating agency within our constitutional system, Congress, they smirk, dissemble, rebel, and ignore. These bad folks then assume that ordinary Americans know much less about information technology than they do and think that they can lie with impunity. When the third branch of government, the Judicial Branch, is brought into the argument, these IRS clowns lie and hide again.
The finishing touch, of course, is the almost surreal disengagement by Obama. He seems not to know or not to care about much of anything these days besides fundraising and photo ops. The IRS scandal, like the VA scandal, is the sort of debacle that directly connects with many millions of Americans, and yet Obama seems tone-deaf about both.
What all this means is that when these records appear – and with a federal judge threatening IRS employees with jail time, these records will appear – then the whole sordid mess will implode like a deck of cards. The depth of corruption, like the depth of corruption in the VA scandal, will be impossible to fob off as rogue employees acting badly. Heads will have to roll, and this grim knowledge will move those who know the truth – very likely people we have not heard of yet – to come out of the shadows and to spill their guts to save themselves. It is the perfect storm, and it is coming up fast.