What a breathtaking failure to communicate. Regarding the IRS failure to perform, The Wall Street Journal reported this tidbit over the weekend.
The Internal Revenue Service’s watchdog told top Treasury officials around June 2012 he was investigating allegations the tax agency had targeted conservative groups….
The disclosure to the Treasury general counsel and the deputy secretary was a cursory one, according to J Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. He said he didn’t reveal conclusions of the probe, which was in its early stages….
Thus we now see confirmed what was hinted at during Friday’s House of Representatives hearing concerning the IRS’ misbehavior vis-à-vis its targeting of government-disfavored groups and individuals, and IRS officials’ subsequent dissembling about that targeting. Senior officials in the Obama administration knew of these misdeeds—or at least the allegations of those misdeeds and the investigation into those allegations—for nearly a year, and for months prior to the campaign season Party Conventions.
Treasury…said Neal Wolin, the deputy secretary, didn’t notify anyone outside of Treasury….
White House officials say they learned about the targeting of conservative groups from the [IG] report, and not before.
And yet “White House officials” seem to be lying:
The White House’s chief lawyer learned weeks ago that an audit of the Internal Revenue Service likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups, a senior White House official said Sunday.
Somebody told Kathryn Ruemmler, that chief lawyer. Then Ruemmler told Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and others members of Obama’s senior cotery. She told them further, according to Obama (through Jay Carney), that
this is not a matter she should convey to the president. Her opinion that this is not the kind of thing that requires notification to the president.
This says amazing things about the judgment and competence of the men and women that President Barack Obama has brought into his Executive Branch: they didn’t think it necessary to inform anyone up the chain–that would be the President–that such politically, not to say legally, explosive doings were afoot.
I have no reason to believe that Ruemmler–or McDonough or that cotery–did, in fact, sit on that bomb.
Update: via The Wall Street Journal [emphasis added]:
The Internal Revenue Service briefed the Treasury Department extensively last month about a looming inspector general’s report that would find the agency had inappropriately targeted for extra scrutiny applications from conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, a new timeline of events shows.
The IRS consulted Treasury in late April about its plans to pre-emptively apologize for its actions….
Two people kept out of the loop, according to administration officials, were President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. Neither was consulted, administration officials said, because their staff wanted to ensure that it didn’t appear they had interfered in any way in the process.
Yeah. I still have that beachfront property north of Santa Fe, too.