Holder aide's wrong number call reveals Department of Justice partisan effort to hinder IRS investigation
Brian Fallon, the top spokesman for attorney general Eric Holder, thought he was talking with the office of Democrat Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on Darrell Issa’s House Investigation Committee when he spilled the beans. Bernie Becker of The Hill recounts what Fallon revealed about the Department of Justice’s partisan effort to shape the probe of the IRS misconduct that led Lois Lerner to plead the Fifth Amendment:
The administration official calling House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) office last week had an odd request.
Could the Justice Department get some help leaking information about the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups? asked Brian Fallon, a top spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder.
Apparently thinking he had reached the office of Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), Fallon said the department wanted congressional staffers to get documents to selected reporters so that officials could comment on them “before the majority” did.
After Issa spokesman Frederick Hill replied that Oversight Committee staffers would have to examine those documents first, the line went silent, and Fallon placed the call on hold for three minutes.
When he returned to the line, Fallon was “audibly shaken,” according to an account of the conversation that Issa recounts in a letter sent to Holder.
The Justice official then said there had been a “change in plans,” that no documents would be released on Friday and that the main reason for the call was to seek a thaw in relations between the department and Oversight Republicans.
Issa said it’s clear that the Justice official meant to call Democratic staff and argued the mix-up is proof that President Obama’s administration and Cummings have been collaborating to “prejudice the committee’s work through under-the-table coordination.”
Make no mistake: the Department of Justice is supposed to be a law enforcement agency, not a partisan tool. This conduct is outrageous, and indicates how worried Holder and the IRS are over the investigation. The articles of impeachment drawn up for Richard Nixon (which Hillary Clinton helped draft as a young committee staffer) cited politicization of the IRS as an impeachable offense. Now, in addition to the IRS, part of the Treasury Department, we have the Department of Justice implicated in partisan maneuvering to shape the investigation/
Issa sent the four-page letter below to Holder.
Aside from The Hill and the Washington Post (with a brief item), only Fox News is giving this cover-up tell any attention outside the conservative blogosphere. The two most intimidating agencies of the federal government caught red-handed in suppressing political opposition to the president’s party, and they avert their eyes. The contrast with Watergate coverage could not be starker. Had a Republican president behaved this way, it would have led the newscasts of all the networks and would be on the front page of every major newspaper.
We are more than halfway to a banana republic, and liberals just don’t care, because their guy is the one in the generalissimo’s uniform and sunglasses.