From today’s House hearing on the IRS scandal, which was a barn-burner of an affair, came this five minutes of theater.
In it, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who is building a reputation as the best member of Congress there is when it comes to asking questions at hearings, absolutely goes off on the statement made by President Obama in his Super Bowl Sunday interview with Bill O’Reilly that there wasn’t so much as a “smidgeon” of corruption involved in the IRS’ maltreatment of conservative organizations seeking non-profit status.
While we’re at this, Catherine Englebrecht of True The Vote put on a pretty good show of testimony in front of the committee as well…
Gowdy’s questions and statements aside, there are now several smoking guns where the IRS scandal is concerned. Yesterday, an e-mail surfaced wherein Lois Lerner, the IRS executive at the heart of the scandal who took the 5th at the first major hearing on this issue was busy conspiring to sustain the persecution of conservative non-profits with new rules…
The official at the center of the IRS scandal involving the targeting of President Obama’s political enemies secretly helped craft new rules for the agency that critics say would make such heavy-handed tactics legal. Emails obtained by the House Ways and Means Committee show IRS executive Lois Lerner working on the new rules in secret with Obama Treasury officials at the height of the targeting. Lerner has refused to testify before Congress amid the criminal investigation into misconduct at the agency. The regulations, which are currently pending, would allow the IRS to crack down on political activity by non-profit groups. A June 2012 email from a Treasury official to Lerner suggests that they work “off plan” –bureaucratic shorthand for keeping their meetings off of publicly available schedules – to devise the rules. Critics say the rules that resulted would permit agents to shut down dissent by non-profit groups.
The fact is, as was alleged at today’s hearing, there is no investigation of this scandal by the Justice Department as promised to the American people after this scandal broke.
And that means not only won’t there be any justice for what has been done, there won’t be anyone to stop it from continuing, which is happening now, or even getting worse.
The way to address this, and it’s a damn shame it hasn’t been done already, is to appoint a special prosecutor for this affair and set that special prosecutor loose like a bull in a china shop on the Obama White House, the IRS and the National Treasury Employees’ Union who conspired to cook up this abuse of power. That is the single best action House Speaker John Boehner can take if he wants to begin to mend the rift between his party’s conservative base and its Washington elite, it’s the most important thing he can do to put this issue on the political front burner and therefore occupy the Obama administration’s time which would otherwise be spent abusing power in other ways and it’s the number-one way to move public opinion toward the idea of large-scale reform, if not replacement, of the IRS.
The guess here is that there will be a special prosecutor appointed soon, and all political hell will break loose in Washington – but the general public will be generally supportive of it.