Dems declare war on Inspector General uncovering IRS scandal

Thomas Lifson
The IRS scandal is so bad that Democrats are unleashing total war in an attempt to beat back a full airing of the abuse. The old adage, "The best defense is a good offense," is all the more valid when the major media outlets are on their side. It is not necessary to have any actual facts to use as rebuttal for the indefensible; it is enough to simply throw a cloud of dust, so as to discredit any charges - in the eyes of supporters and media sycophants.

President Obama's absurd contention to Bill O'Reilly that there was "not a smidgen" of corruption despite his initial expression of "outrage" over the IRS's behavior is part of this strategy. But another part consists of an attempt to discredit anyone who threatens to come up with genuine investigatory pay dirt. Such a man is Treasury Inspector General Russell George. Josh Hicks of the Washington Post reports:

 Two House Democrats on Thursday called for an investigation of a federal auditor who accused the Internal Revenue Service of gross mismanagement and targeting advocacy groups for extra scrutiny based on their names and policy positions.

Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.) on Wednesday filed a complaint with a special watchdog council questioning the independence of Treasury Department inspector general J. Russell George.

The congressmen, both of whom serve as top Democrats on House oversight committees, said George produced a "fundamentally flawed performance audit" that was "incomplete" and "outright misleading." They also alleged that he held briefings with Republican members of the House Oversight Committee without the knowledge of Democrats on the panel. (snip)

The inspector general's report, released in May, said the IRS "used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status." Earlier that month, then-IRS official Lois Lerner alluded to the findings when she acknowledged in response to a planted question that the agency had targeted groups with "tea party" and "patriot" in their names.

George's audit led to public outrage, six federal probes and a leadership shakeup at the IRS. It also prompted the Treasury Department to draft a new guideline to distinguish what types of political activities disqualify groups from tax-exempt status.

These accomplishments are significant in and of themselves. But there is far more dirt, and potentially smoking gun evidence of White House involvement that must be a tremendous concern to the Democrats. If evidence is found of Obama's involvement in weaponizing the IRS to target the tea party,  that would clearly be an impeachable offense. It may be politically impossible to impeach the First Black President, bit nobody in the Democratic Party wants to test that out, should such evidence be uncovered by an Inspector General. Reining in Russell George is thus a high priority. President Nixon's Articles of Impeachment, on which Hillary Clinton worked as a committee staffer, included that very charge, something that is highly awkward for a party that appears likely to nominate her for the presidency.

Inspectors General are the taxpayers' best friends in Washington, DC, charged with investigating waste and corruption, and for that reason have been the targets of the Obama administration's  Ongoing War on Inspectors General, documented by Ed Lasky over the past several years. It is Chicago-style politics to threaten anyone who can uncover inconvenient dirt. Obama is notorious for his "they bring a knife, you bring a gun" style of political hardball, and an inspector general who threatens to uncover scandal is an obvious target.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

The IRS scandal is so bad that Democrats are unleashing total war in an attempt to beat back a full airing of the abuse. The old adage, "The best defense is a good offense," is all the more valid when the major media outlets are on their side. It is not necessary to have any actual facts to use as rebuttal for the indefensible; it is enough to simply throw a cloud of dust, so as to discredit any charges - in the eyes of supporters and media sycophants.

President Obama's absurd contention to Bill O'Reilly that there was "not a smidgen" of corruption despite his initial expression of "outrage" over the IRS's behavior is part of this strategy. But another part consists of an attempt to discredit anyone who threatens to come up with genuine investigatory pay dirt. Such a man is Treasury Inspector General Russell George. Josh Hicks of the Washington Post reports:

 Two House Democrats on Thursday called for an investigation of a federal auditor who accused the Internal Revenue Service of gross mismanagement and targeting advocacy groups for extra scrutiny based on their names and policy positions.

Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.) on Wednesday filed a complaint with a special watchdog council questioning the independence of Treasury Department inspector general J. Russell George.

The congressmen, both of whom serve as top Democrats on House oversight committees, said George produced a "fundamentally flawed performance audit" that was "incomplete" and "outright misleading." They also alleged that he held briefings with Republican members of the House Oversight Committee without the knowledge of Democrats on the panel. (snip)

The inspector general's report, released in May, said the IRS "used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status." Earlier that month, then-IRS official Lois Lerner alluded to the findings when she acknowledged in response to a planted question that the agency had targeted groups with "tea party" and "patriot" in their names.

George's audit led to public outrage, six federal probes and a leadership shakeup at the IRS. It also prompted the Treasury Department to draft a new guideline to distinguish what types of political activities disqualify groups from tax-exempt status.

These accomplishments are significant in and of themselves. But there is far more dirt, and potentially smoking gun evidence of White House involvement that must be a tremendous concern to the Democrats. If evidence is found of Obama's involvement in weaponizing the IRS to target the tea party,  that would clearly be an impeachable offense. It may be politically impossible to impeach the First Black President, bit nobody in the Democratic Party wants to test that out, should such evidence be uncovered by an Inspector General. Reining in Russell George is thus a high priority. President Nixon's Articles of Impeachment, on which Hillary Clinton worked as a committee staffer, included that very charge, something that is highly awkward for a party that appears likely to nominate her for the presidency.

Inspectors General are the taxpayers' best friends in Washington, DC, charged with investigating waste and corruption, and for that reason have been the targets of the Obama administration's  Ongoing War on Inspectors General, documented by Ed Lasky over the past several years. It is Chicago-style politics to threaten anyone who can uncover inconvenient dirt. Obama is notorious for his "they bring a knife, you bring a gun" style of political hardball, and an inspector general who threatens to uncover scandal is an obvious target.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky