IRS Scandal: Outgoing Chief Says Planted Question His Idea
In Tuesday's Senate hearings into the ever-widening IRS scandal, outgoing IRS chief, Steve Miller, acknowledged that the planted question that broke the story last week was his idea.
The "planted question" refers to the way in which the IRS chose to release the findings of the Inspector General's report a week ago Friday.
It was an unusual way to deliver bad news, even in a town known for its selective leaks, Friday-night news dumps and wag-the-dog distractions.
The Internal Revenue Service, apparently determined to get out ahead of an inspector general report critical of its handling of tax exemptions for Tea Party groups, came up with a plan: Lois Lerner, the official responsible for the tax-exempt division, would publicly apologize in response to a question at the American Bar Association conference in Washington.
Details of the now-infamous planted question emerged Friday after acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller admitted the gambit under questioning from members of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The idea that our government is planting questions in the hopes of controlling this kind of scandal is, of course, very troubling.
In his testimony last week, Miller acknowledged that "we had talked about that."
REP. NUNES: Did you or any of your subordinates direct Lois Lerner to make the public statement at the panel discussion acknowledging the targeting of tax-exempt groups?
MR. MILLER: It was a prepared Q-and-A.
REP. NUNES: Do you know Ms. Celia Roady, a member of IRS’s Advisory Council on Tax-Exempt and Government Entities?
MR. MILLER: I do.
REP. NUNES: Was Ms. Roady’s question to Ms. Lerner about targeting conservative groups planned in advance?
MR. MILLER: I believe that we talked about that, yes.
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