When Something Doesn’t Smell Right, It Probably Stinks
BY JUSTIN CASE
If by now you don’t know who Lois Lerner is, you may want to find another news source. Here’s what you need to know. She is the IRS official who twice this spring pleaded the 5th Amendment before Congress so as not to incriminate herself, or perhaps her boss, who visited the White House 150 times during the period when the IRS selectively targeted conservative grass roots political groups and individuals.
Suspiciously, on June 13, 2011, ten days after Congress demanded records from the IRS pertaining to political targeting, Lerner had a “hard drive crash” that supposedly wiped out crucial evidence, specifically communications with groups outside the IRS—the White House, DoJ, Treasury Department. She did not report the alleged crash to Congress, until recently, and the IRS withheld key email records from Congress for a year and only then mentioned a computer crash.
Following in the footsteps of Mafiosos, Jimmy Hoffa, and numerous other criminals subpoenaed to testify before Congress, Lerner twice pleaded the 5th Amendment, answering no questions at all.
At IRS, in addition to Lerner’s hard drive having conveniently crashed, just as Congress was closing in on the scandal (though most of the media ignored it), six other key IRS employee hard drives in DC and Cincinnati mysteriously crash-ed, wiping out email Congress would require to investigate the agency’s political targeting campaign. Shortly thereafter, the IRS canceled its service with the company that backs up those emails. It then, recently, could not credibly explain why its own internal backup system could not supply the missing data.
Destruction of evidence, pleading the 5th? This speaks for itself. It’s virtually certain that politically motivated crimes were committed by the federal agency most feared by the American people, as was the case in the Nixon days. We know crimes were committed because the agency is required by law to keep its records, and to keep records that may be involved in litigation. Also, IRS was forced to reveal it illegally shared volumes of tax records with DoJ. Obstruction of justice could be yet another crime committed by the powerful agency.
Let us think through the implications of actions taken. Lois Lerner, a lawyer and high ranking IRS official (and a political activist), is not stupid. Nor are her attorneys and those advising her who want this scandal to go away. Lerner and her own surely knew that pleading the 5th and destroying evidence would be a huge story (at least among reporters and news outlets acting like repor-ters and news outlets), and that a great deal of heat would be placed on the IRS, Lerner, and the White House, the latter being the benefi-ciary of the IRS targeting. That targeting, leading up to the 2012 presidential election (in the wake of Tea Party efforts having upset so many races and the balance of power in the 2010 mid terms) denied or delayed for years grass roots opposition groups their tax free status, the key ingredient related to receiving tax free contributions—money, the life blood of politics. The IRS also demanded donor lists from Tea Party groups for the purpose of targeting (and terrorizing) contributors.
All this came on the heels of Teddy Kennedy’s long held Democratic Senate Seat being lost to Republican Scott Brown in 2010, an unthinkable development, along with many other races that resulted in a huge power shift, largely attributed to Tea Party turn out, and that stunned the Obama White House. Democrats lost the House of Representatives as a result of the ground swell, and that led the president himself to describe his new opposition in darkly worded comments.
Lerner then, and likely higher ups, made a clear choice, to turn the IRS on that opposition, an action the president himself was forced to call, after the truth came out, a “bone headed decision.” And after Lerner got caught, she and her people made another choice—that taking the heat for pleading the 5th and destroying evidence was preferable to coming clean and having the actual facts of the case revealed to the American people.
That means whatever evidence she and the IRS are hiding is extremely incriminating, and worth destroying evidence and presenting the blatant appearance of wrong doing (pleading the 5th) to conceal. More over, the Obama administration originally lied about IRS targeting, insisting it was the work of two agents in Cincinnati, later proven false when traced to DC. President Obama himself, in support of the cover story, told an interviewer that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” at IRS, long before he could have concluded that was the case. He recently called the matter a “phony scandal”, dismissing his own IRS’s abuse of power, which helped him win reelection, and his administration has been complicit in the stonewalling of evidence.
It is significant that the chief of staff to then IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, Nikole Flax, who had worked with Lerner, visited the White House 35 times, according to records, after conferring with Lerner about targeting tea party groups criminally. Flax met with a top presidential aid. Her hard drive also “crashed”. And seven hard drive crashes, in all, just happened to befall key computers involved with IRS targeting in both Cincinnati and DC.
What should insult all Montanans, all Americans, is that officials at the White House and IRS trying to dismiss this scandal are counting on your stupidity. Their explanations are so implausible, the odds of coincidence so astronomical, that they obviously consider you incap-able of the most simple logic.
It’s worth noting, to place the issue in context, that the second article of impeachment drawn against Richard Nixon was abuse of power through the IRS. In the absence of direct evidence (and real journalism), that’s not likely to happen this time around, but one might reason-ably consider it naive to assume the White House had no knowledge of the IRS targeting until they read about in news reports.
More over, however high up the targeting went as far as knowledge or authorization, the people target-ed were mostly mom and pops participating in politics for the first time for a redress of grievances, their fundamental American right. That they were targeted by their own government on behalf of the current administration during an election cycle, whether that administration knew about it or not, renders that administration illegitimate.
Note: On July 10, related to a private Oct. 2013 Freedom of Information Act request, the IRS must explain to a federal judge why the agency failed to inform a federal court that the email had been lost. Critics logically suggest the likely reason is that the lost email excuse had not been invented at that time.