This morning there was a brutal hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee at which IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was grilled over the fact that his agency somehow cannot produce two years of e-mails from Lois Lerner, the central figure in the scandal surrounding that agency’s persecution of conservative activist groups, or half a dozen other figures implicated in the scandal, due to hard drive crashes.
Koskinen exhibited a smug “what are you going to do about it” demeanor throughout the hearing as one Republican after another thundered away at him for what for all the world looks like a quite inartful cover-up of the scandal. But when it was Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) who took his turn, the tide of disrespect and disdain went the other way…
It made for good TV on C-SPAN, for certain, but the sound and fury of Ryan’s rant unfortunately didn’t fix anything.
No e-mails were produced, and none will be under the current investigatory rules of engagement.
If the folks at Ways and Means want to get somebody’s attention and give themselves a shot at getting to the bottom of this scandal, they might want to consider tactics more along the lines of that which started this mess in the first place.
Like for example, when a John Koskinen is in front of that committee telling provable lies, someone should make a motion for a contempt-of-Congress vote. And have the Sergeant-at-Arms arrest him on the spot and stash him in the Capitol basement jail.
Then let the firestorm begin, and let the Obama White House make the next move. The House has the right to imprison uncooperative or mendacious witnesses; what normally prevents that from happening is political reality. But in this case, it’s hard to imagine the public rushing to the defense of the Internal Revenue Service.
And it’s about time that the House started taking its turn making Obama look weak and powerless in the same way foreign potentates and terrorists can.