This saga refuses to die. Let’s review the past. The first mention of trouble was when Lois Lerner was speaking at a symposium and apologized for discriminating against and harassing conservative groups. It appears that a story was about to break about the IRS’s discretions, and Lerner wanted to get ahead of the story.
The IRS first started their attacks against the Tea Party and other conservative groups in 2011, shortly after the mid-term elections of 2010 where the conservative groups showed so much success. Several groups are still waiting today for a ruling on their non profit status. As long as there is no approval, there is not the ability to raise enough money to be effective in the various political campaigns.
Lois Lerner has been called to testify in front of Congress on two different occasions. The first time she appeared, she declared she committed no crimes and the IRS committed no crimes, to her knowledge. She then declared her 5th Amendment rights and refused to answer any questions. Her second appearance she again exercised her 5th Amendment rights.
John Koskinen, the IRS Commissioner, testified under oath that all emails relating to Lois Lerner were lost and could not be delivered to the Congressional Committees investigating the illegal actions of the agency. He made this declaration to Congress on two separate occasions.
This past week it was announced that 32,000 Lois Lerner emails were found on the backup tapes. It was found within two weeks of searching by Treasury officials. The initial individual who was tasked with searching for the documents is legally blind and never attempted to locate the information. The employees who work for the archives where the backup tapes were stored said they were never approached about searching for the documents. The tapes were stored where all backup information is kept. No attempt was made to find these emails even though the IRS was directed by Congress to produce the information.
Lerner has since retired from the agency, but is expected to be called again before Congress once the emails are examined. It will be interesting to see if Lerner had contact with anyone in the White House. Supposedly, the White House has examined their emails and found no contact with Lerner or any of those associated in her section.
When Obama started his second term, he chose W. Neil Eggleston as the new White House counsel. What is important about this choice is Eggleston has extensive experience representing government employees charged with criminal activity relating to their employment. He previously represented Rahm Emanuel, who was questioned in the Rod Blagojevich sale of Obama’s Senate seat in Illinois. The White House see’s the IRS scandal as the most dangerous for the President.
Now that the Republicans have control of both houses of Congress, these scandals will not be swept under the carpet. They will remain well into 2016 and beyond. The American people deserve answers to the open questions. Is the nations taxing agency a political tool of this or any future Administration? Can the Executive Branch of our Federal government then protect the agency from any scrutiny?