Remember the IRS Targeting Scandal?

The House Oversight investigation into the agency’s misdeeds is in its sixth month and a key witness, William Wilkins, is stonewalling investigators. I chatted with National Review’s Eliana Johnson about Wilkins’s testimony, such that it is.

<iframe frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” width=”512″ height=”288″ src=”http://live.wsj.com/public/page/embed-5BD6E989_813B_45D5_B6FC_88E1D276A374.html”></iframe>

  1. DocJay

    Meet William J. Wilkins — the President’s Man at the IRSCarol Platt Liebau | May 16, 2013Recommend this article Recommend164Tweet 856Yesterday, I outlined some questions raised by the IG report on the IRS. More probing reveals more questions.On the time line (page 36), there is the following entry for August 4, 2011:Rulings and Agreements office personnel held a meeting with Chief Counsel so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue [of developing new criteria for identifying which applications to send to specialists for more scrutiny]. In other words, the Chief Counsel of the IRS was informed about the issue on August 4, 2011.  So who is this Chief Counsel?America, meet Obama appointee William J. Wilkins – briefed on the political targeting of conservative groups as of 8/4/11.  Did he tell The White House about it at the time? Not that Jay Carney is aware of, as he told a skeptical press corps yesterday:

  2. DocJay

    The article continues with yet another of Jay Carney’s fantastic lies about the president hearing about the IRS targeting in the papers. And no one even in the conservative mainstream media puts up a headline that we are run by liars. Wilkins knew at the very latest on 8/24/2011. So this trained lawyer on 501 c 3′s knows then what is happening and never informs anyone? Then he very aware of the BOLO, be on the lookout, criteria which existed for all of 2012 yet never discusses it! Heck, he reviewed it and then on 4/25/12 gave additional comments on the criteria to Lois Lerner. This came two days after Shulman and Wilkins me with the president! Good God. People just break the law, overtly lie and it’s all OK as long as the Dow Jones rolls along in its inflated bubble of happiness. Shame on the media!

  3. DocJay

    Post 11 is a cut and paste that got Ipadded into a bad format. Post 12 is me, including the part where I’m begging someone, anyone at your paper to stand up and scream foul play.

  4. flownover

    Going generally unreported are the IRS rules changes announced prior to Thanksgiving which basically target rightwing groups and the audit of the obamacare critic / cancer patient and the insurance agent who tried to help him.

  5. J.Maestro

    Everyone wants to find the red-hot e-mail that has POTUS in the “from” line. Why? After 2016, this POTUS will retire to a life of pampered luxury — and statist Democrats will still be running every corner of the massive federal harassment machine.

    I understand wanting the big fish. But the little fish have to be held accountable too. Every low-level bureaucrat who participated in this ought to be facing charges, civil and criminal. Make them think twice next time they’re instructed by the bosses or union leaders to bring process as political punishment.

    As of today, IRS Democrats still have no reason to stop repressing small-government dissidents.

  6. Crow

    I doubt any kind of smoking gun to Obama’s inner circle will be found, but the Oversight Committee should do their job and investigate.

    I don’t think this was explicitly organized by Obama, though it may have been by some of his lieutenants raised in the Chicago school. But, regardless, it was enabled by an arrogant, insular bureaucratic culture that lacked proper oversight, has expanded beyond its proper role and beyond even the law, and has come to see its interest as linked with the Democratic party narrowly and against the taxpayer or the common good broadly.

    Once that kind of rot penetrates deeply enough into the civil service, there is no explicit need to give any specific order–self-interest at the individual and institutional level alone largely suffices.

  7. DrewInWisconsin
    J.Maestro:

    As of today, IRS Democratsstillhave no reason to stop repressing small-government dissidents.

    Exactly.

    Convictions are dual purpose: First we must make sure those who did wrong face consequences. And second, we must demonstrate what will happen to anyone else who tries it.

    We have barely managed to do the first. (Two or three forced retirements, golden parachutes secured, isn’t exactly “consequences.”) The second is possibly more important for our future.

  8. J.Maestro

    There are some civil suits as well, but those are notoriously slow and I don’t know how many of them specifically name IRS staff members as individual defendants.

    That last bit matters: if you’re comfortably-compensated federal employee you might not like the prospect of a huge judgment being entered against you, your condo, and your almost-paid-off SUV.

    So you’ll say “I was just following orders” — because you need their deep pockets of your employer.

    Which reminds me of something else — is the government paying for everyone’s defense lawyer? How does that square with the claim that what they did wasn’t part of their job?

  9. Ekosj

    Count on this investigation going nowhere for two reasons: Entrenched interests in both parties are actively hostile to the Tea Party. And. Entrenched interests in both parties want to be able to continue to use the IRS to scourge their political opponents. If I recall correctly, there was a prior IRS scandal of relatively recent vintage involving the IRS altering documents to hide the fact that some of their audits and investigations were in fact prompted by specific requests from Congressmen and Senators.

  10. Mary Kissel, WSJ Editorial Board
    C
    DocJay: Oh please Mary will you just take a stand. Wilkins is lying through his teeth and everyone knows it. I’m so disgusted by this whole process I’d like to personally hook massive battery cables up to his brass cajones and turn the power up to sizzle just to hear the truth for once. Truth used to matter. Truth was important to the press at some point in history. · 7 hours ago

    I’m not a screamer, DocJay. Plenty of media outlets where you can find that kind of tone. We’ve published a number of editorials lambasting the IRS (google “WSJ and IRS and Review & Outlook” if you don’t believe me), and I make a point of having a regular segment on how the investigation is going, in the interest of informing our viewers and getting the truth out there.

  11. Ekosj

    Hi DocJay. A point to consider regarding the media’s treatment of the IRS targeting. The WSJ is clearly bifurcated, with the news division more left-leaning than the editorial page. So I imagine that they are philosophically comfortable ( more or less ) with the IRS behavior. Even if that is not the case, the larger issue is the “chilling effect” the administration’s overall behavior has on the media. The Associated Press out-and-out wiretapped by the Justice Department with no repricussions. Reporter investigated under the Espionage Act. NSA collecting texts and emails. IRS targeting. IRS auditing critics. HHS strong-arming insurance executives. And some of those execs saying they fear ‘retribution’. I think the administration is sending a message that is being heard loud and clear … The nail that sticks out WILL GET POUNDED DOWN. The rise of the internet has greatly diluted the power of any individual media outlet – print media especially. The days are gone when a Washington Post has the power to openly challenge a President. Even if they were so inclined, they are hanging on by their fingernails. Their survival strategy seems to be structured around keeping their heads down. I wish it were otherwise.

  12. Full Size Tabby
    Crow’s Nest: I doubt any kind of smoking gun to Obama’s inner circle will be found, but the Oversight Committee should do their job and investigate.

    I don’t think this was explicitly organized by Obama, though it may have been by some of his lieutenants raised in the Chicago school. But, regardless, it was enabled by an arrogant, insular bureaucratic culture that lacked proper oversight, has expanded beyond its proper role and beyond even the law, and has come to see its interest as linked with the Democratic party narrowly and against the taxpayer or the common good broadly.

    Once that kind of rot penetrates deeply enough into the civil service, there is no explicit need to give any specific order–self-interest at the individual and institutional level alone largely suffices. · 4 hours ago

    It’s much more dangerous if the bureaucracy does this without specific orders from the White House (or other political source) because then it’s impossible to correct without essentially demolishing the bureaucracy. This targeting of Tea Party groups and the new rule noted by flownover tell us that the IRS may be past the point of redemption. 

  13. DrewInWisconsin

    To questions during his testimony, Wilkins responded “I do not recall” more than 80 times.

    Thumbscrews might help him remember.

  14. Albert Arthur

    Hey, DocJay, lay off Mary. :-)

    And Eliana Johnson’s been doing great reporting on this since the very beginning.

  15. billy
    DrewInWisconsin

    J.Maestro:

    As of today, IRS Democratsstillhave no reason to stop repressing small-government dissidents.

    Exactly.

    Convictions are dual purpose: First we must make sure those who did wrong face consequences. And second, we must demonstrate what will happen to anyone else who tries it.

    We have barely managed to do the first. (Two or three forced retirements, golden parachutes secured, isn’t exactly “consequences.”) The second is possibly more important for our future. · 17 hours ago

    Drew, at this point, we are going to have to face the facts: Criminal prosecutions just aren’t going to happen.

    Conservatives have long recognized that we have to battle the media, the GOP establishment, as well as the Democrat party. Now we are up against the federal bureaucracy too. (and in Wisconsin,  politically motivated district attorneys)

  16. DocJay
    billy

    DrewInWisconsin

    J.Maestro:

    As of today, IRS Democratsstillhave no reason to stop repressing small-government dissidents.

    Exactly.

    Convictions are dual purpose: First we must make sure those who did wrong face consequences. And second, we must demonstrate what will happen to anyone else who tries it.

    We have barely managed to do the first. (Two or three forced retirements, golden parachutes secured, isn’t exactly “consequences.”) The second is possibly more important for our future. · 17 hours ago

    Drew, at this point, we are going to have to face the facts: Criminal prosecutions just aren’t going to happen.

    Conservatives have long recognized that we have to battle the media, the GOP establishment, as well as the Democrat party. Now we are up against the federal bureaucracy too. (and in Wisconsin,  politically motivated district attorneys) · 1 hour ago

    That’s the saddest thing imaginable.   Crime pays is the message. Honesty is an impediment, ethics an anchor, and truth irrelevant.  

  17. DocJay
    Mary Kissel, WSJ Editorial Board

    DocJay: 

    I’m not a screamer, DocJay. Plenty of media outlets where you can find that kind of tone. We’ve published a number of editorials lambasting the IRS (google “WSJ and IRS and Review & Outlook” if you don’t believe me), and I make a point of having a regular segment on how the investigation is going, in the interest of informing our viewers and getting the truth out there. · 3 hours ago

    Sorry for hassling you.  Thanks for reporting.   

  18. billy
    DocJay

    billy

    Drew, at this point, we are going to have to face the facts: Criminal prosecutions just aren’t going to happen.

    Conservatives have long recognized that we have to battle the media, the GOP establishment, as well as the Democrat party. Now we are up against the federal bureaucracy too. (and in Wisconsin,  politically motivated district attorneys) · 1 hour ago

    That’s the saddest thing imaginable.   Crime pays is the message. Honesty is an impediment, ethics an anchor, and truth irrelevant.   · 27 minutes ago

    It is not for the imagination anymore, this is 21st century politics in the United States. Which is why the GOP is so frustrating. How can you “reach across the aisle” and work with an opponent who is willing to sic the IRS on your biggest supporters?

  19. DocJay

    Oh please Mary will you just take a stand. Wilkins is lying through his teeth and everyone knows it. I’m so disgusted by this whole process I’d like to personally hook massive battery cables up to his brass cajones and turn the power up to sizzle just to hear the truth for once. Truth used to matter. Truth was important to the press at some point in history.

  20. Spin

    I was informed over on the Defending Lincoln thread that what you are talking about only happens in movies.  You are out of luck.  

    DocJay: Oh please Mary will you just take a stand. Wilkins is lying through his teeth and everyone knows it. I’m so disgusted by this whole process I’d like to personally hook massive battery cables up to his brass cajones and turn the power up to sizzle just to hear the truth for once. Truth used to matter. Truth was important to the press at some point in history. · 1 minute ago