Congress Fails to Answer Core IRS Scandal Questions
Three weeks ago, Breitbart News published an article listing 10 questions the Obama Administration must answer about the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative groups for scrutiny and harassment throughout the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.
Yet after weeks of House and Senate hearings, and much grandstanding by Obama Administration officials, not a single question posed has been answered.
Here, then, are just a few of the questions lawmakers must obtain answers to beyond the classic question, “What did the Administration know and when did it know it?”
- Who inside the IRS hatched the plan to target conservatives and what, if any, connections do they, their associates, or superiors have to the Obama White House, campaign team, or other political organizations?
- Who at the IRS leaked confidential tax documents to the progressive-leaning journalism group ProPublica, an action which the IRS official manual says can result in up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000?
- Who are the two “rogue” individuals disgraced former IRS Commissioner Stevens said went “off the reservation” and acted “overly aggressive,” and what, if any, connections do they have politically? If, as the Inspector General report alleges, political motivations were not driving the targeting of conservatives, then what was? Also, what “discipline” did the two rogue agents receive?
- Did IRS agents coordinate with Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) or his staff to “go after them [conservative groups],” as he told the New York Times, following Levin’s letters to then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman and Director Lois Lerner?
- Did Sen. Max Baucus (D-MO) or his staff communicate or coordinate with IRS agents after Baucus wrote this September 28, 2010 letter instructing then-Commissioner Douglas Shulman to have his “agency survey major 401(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations to determine whether they are acting as conduits for major donors advancing their own private interests”?
- What communications took place between IRS agents and the following senators and their staffs following the delivery of this jointly written letter demanding the IRS crack down on “abuse of the tax code by political groups focused on federal election activities”: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO ), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)?
- What communications existed between Obama reelection campaign co-chair Joe Solomonese, whom the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) alleges received its confidential tax returns, and IRS agents?
- What portion of Obama’s 79% increase in audits of charities were of conservative groups?
- If political motivations were not driving the selective targeting of 500 conservative organizations, then why were a similar number of liberal groups not harassed?
- What role did IRS Rulings and Agreements Division Director Holly Paz, who in 2008 donated $2,000 to Obama, play in ratcheting up IRS investigations, as she promised she would in June 2012?
The Administration's delay and distract strategy is working.
If lawmakers cannot obtain real answers to simple questions, they need to appoint a special prosecutor who can.