The curious case of former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman’s 157 meetings at the White House is now more curious with the revelation that he attended meetings with Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Campaign Manager for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. While she technically served a stint as a White House advisor to the President, her role has always been that of an aggressive political operator. That their meetings coincided with the IRS targeting of conservative and Tea Party organizations raises many questions.
Cutter may have had an official White House title, but she has always been a campaign operative. In 2010, she was named an Assistant to the President, charged with communications and outreach for ObamaCare. Presumably, it is in this role that she was in meetings with Shulman. This itself is odd, because as the IRS is tasked with implementing large swathes of ObamaCare, HHS is responsible for the public outreach and oversight of the public exchanges at the heart of the law.
Cutter has not revealed the details of the meetings she attended with Shulman. We don’t know the exact dates they met, except that they must have coincided with the IRS targeting of conservative groups. We do know that the targeting began around the time that ObamaCare was enacted.
It is hard to imagine a meeting agenda that would include both the supposedly non-partisan IRS Commissioner Shulman and the hyper-partisan Cutter. The IRS is supposed to develop technocratic rules to implement ObamaCare. Communications and outreach ought not be part of their mission. Could it be that part of the White House’s outreach plan on ObamaCare was to silence opponents?
Cutter should be called to testify under oath before the House Oversight Committee to explain the details of these meetings. Her portfolio at the time, communications and outreach, imply a political component that would not ordinarily be tasked to the IRS Commissioner. What, exactly, were the nature of these meetings?