I wrote this yesterday about the way that the IRS scandal was unveiled by the administration:
Obviously it is better to deliver bad news at a time of your own choosing and with some kind of damage control plan in hand. When Lois Lerner answered what appears to have been a planted question about IRS targeting conservatives and answered the seemingly out of the blue query by referring to notes already prepared, you have to wonder if the entire episode was staged as part of a PR campaign to limit the damage and protect Obama from the taint of scandal.
Yes. Even a broken clock...etc. But there's more, as The Hill points out:
Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, said Friday that last week's revelation that the IRS gave special scrutiny to Tea Party groups came from a planted question.
Lois Lerner, an IRS official with oversight of tax-exempt groups, disclosed the scrutiny at an American Bankers Association conference last Friday after a question from a lawyer who has served on IRS advisory boards.
Questioned by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Miller acknowledged that IRS officials were aware that the question would be coming.
"I believe that we talked about that, yes," Miller said at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, the first congressional inquiry into the agency's actions.
Both Lerner and Miller testified before Congress last week, but did not discuss the attention given to Tea Party groups. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) said at Friday's hearing that he asked Lerner last week about the IRS's oversight of political groups seeking tax-exempt status.
For his part, Miller has consistently said throughout Friday's hearing that he did not mislead Congress -- under sharp questioning from Republicans who aren't so sure of that.
"I always answered questions truthfully," Miller said.
I think if someone goes to jail over this, it will be those who lied to Congress for a year or more about the IRS targeting of groups based on political criteria. The abuse of power by the IRS in this case is, surprisingly, not criminal - at least, it would be extremely difficult to prove criminal intent. But lying to Congress is a no brainer and several current and former IRS employees have left themselves wide open to perjury charges.