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Top IRS Official Admits Question That Revealed Tea Party Targeting Was Planted

WASHINGTON -- The origins of the IRS scandal over its targeting of tea party groups aroused curiosity and suspicion from the beginning.

A senior IRS official, Lois G. Lerner, was speaking on a panel at an American Bar Association conference in a ballroom at the Grand Hyatt in Washington. She was asked a question by a member of the audience, and disclosed then that IRS agents had "used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title."

A few days ago, Kevin Williamson at National Review reported that the person who asked the question of Lerner, Celia Roady, was a tax lawyer who had served on IRS-formed advisory committees that dealt with issues of organizations applying for nonprofit status.

Williamson wrote that sources on Capitol Hill said the question was "planted" and that "the IRS has informally admitted as much."

On Friday, the acting commissioner of the IRS admitted publicly that the question was planted.

"I did talk to Lois about the possibility of ... did it make sense for us to start talking about this in public," Steven Miller, acting commissioner of the IRS, told the House Ways and Means Committee during sworn testimony.

Miller said he and Lerner discussed volunteering the information publicly "now that the [IRS inspector general's] report was finalized, now that we knew all the facts, now that we had responded in writing and everything was done."

"We talked about what would be said and how we might do it," Miller said of his conversation with Lerner.

Miller was asked by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) if he knew Roady. He said he did.

"Was Ms. Roady's question to Ms. Lerner about targeting conservative groups planned in advance?" Nunes asked.

"I believe that we talked about that, yes," Miller said.

Miller was asked later who had told Roady to ask the question of Lerner.

"I don't know," he said. "It might have been Lois Lerner."

Miller said he did not speak to Roady about the issue.

When Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) asked Miller what day he talked to Lerner, Miller said, "I'd have to look back at my notes on that, sir."

"You've got notes on that?" Roskam shot back, surprised.

"I'd have to try to find them. I'm not sure," Miller said.

"Why did you say you had notes if you don't think you have notes?" Roskam asked.

"Sir, please," Miller said.

"Please. Do you have notes or don't you have notes?" Roskam demanded.

"I don't know," Miller said.

Nunes pointed out that Lerner had testified before the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, May 8, two days before she disclosed the targeting of tea party groups, but that she "did not acknowledge this investigation."

Roskam was incredulous that Lerner had not mentioned the targeting of tea party groups during her testimony on May 8.

"Our intent was to talk to you all at the same time," Miller said.

"But that didn't happen, did it?" Roskam said.

"It did not happen, I don't believe," Miller said.

President Obama announced on Wednesday that Miller would be resigning. Miller told the committee Friday he was "asked to resign." No member of the committee asked him who had made that request.

by Anonymousreply 305/18/2013


by Anonymousreply 105/18/2013

The more I learn about this "scandal" the more I think the whole thing was planted by anti-Obama operatives. I mean, the acting commissioner was appointed by Bush? WTF?

If this teatard targeting really happened when they say it did, and they all have known about it for as long as they say, wouldn't have come out just prior to the elections in an attempt to discredit Obama? So, the question becomes, why now?

The whole Banghazi thing is going nowhere. No matter how hard they spin it, the Pubbies can't get any traction outside of Fox Noise. The AP subpoena is just another distraction, and one easily quelled when the leak investigation finally comes out and the DOJ can name names and give specifics.

So, shadowy groups like Rove's Crossroads go on a fishing expedition and discover that the IRS was actually doing their jobs and questioning the tax exempt status of, you guessed it, groups like Crossroads that clearly do not qualify as social welfare orgs. Not only does it exact revenge on low-level IRS employees, they can spin it all the way to the White House despite there being any evidence whatsoever that anyone close to Obama was involved. And the fact that it was a Bush appointee running it just stinks to high heaven, especially now that he's resigned (and no doubt accepted a well paying position with some right wing welfare operation).

I want to hear from the auditors who did the actual reviews. Were they told to zero in on groups based on coincidental information, specifically those that had words like "patriot" or "tea party" in their name? We're talking about people - accountants and the like - who generally pride themselves on accuracy, evidence, and analysis. It's only when politicians get involved (like when the IRS targeted the NAACP under Bush) that they use institutional discrimination. And it's not like we don't have volumes of examples of the Bushies using the mechanisms of government for political purposes (Valerie Plame, the US attorneys, etc.).

The big tip-off was when they rolled out two Bushies that should be in jail to make these wild-ass accusations. There is more to this story than we know. And my guess is its points back to former Bush administration officials who resent being blamed for the mess that they caused. Cheney and Rumsfeld can't leave the US because they will be arrested and tried for their crimes, and they know it. Heck, even Bush cancelled a speech in Canada when the Canadians wouldn't guarantee that he wouldn't be arrested.

This whole thing reeks of Rovian tactics.

by Anonymousreply 205/18/2013


by Anonymousreply 305/18/2013
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