You could sum up Politico’s exclusive interview with Lois Lerner by noting that it opens with the former IRS executive claiming, “I didn’t do anything wrong,” and closes with a quote-free section subtitled “Unanswered questions.”
Politico’s Rachael Bade reportedly talked with Lerner for two hours but doesn’t seem to have gotten anywhere on the questions that anyone cares about. That’s likely because Lerner was accompanied to the interview by her two personal attorneys and her husband who is also an attorney. We don’t know anything about the process of the interview, there’s no transcript, but it’s clear that tough questions and awkward answers were not on Politico’s agenda. David Frost this is not.
About 3,000 words later, the story wraps up with a brief acknowledgement that Lerner’s explanation doesn’t quite explain what actually happened at the IRS [Emphasis added]:
Her sympathizers note that she was in a tough spot because many
sunlight groups and lawmakers were alleging that big-name nonprofits,
like Crossroads, were making hundreds of millions in secret campaign
contributions, exceeding IRS limits for campaign activity for tax-exempt
groups. Lerner’s division had to enforce the law, they say.
But was the law applied equally to all political persuasions?
Emails show Lerner was looking at political activities of affiliates
of liberal group Emerge, which won tax exemptions that were later
revoked by her division after Lerner asked “how in the world” they got
approved. But the number of conservative groups that were put on hold
for years and asked inappropriate questions still far outnumber liberal
But notice we get nothing from Lerner herself. Not a single quote or even a suggestion of an answer that was given off the record to explain it. In fact, we get a penultimate paragraph which vacillates on whether any answers will ever be forthcoming from Mrs. Lerner.
Maybe someday she’ll write a book. Maybe not. She doesn’t know when, or
if, she’ll tell the full story of what happened, though she assures
POLITICO that “you don’t hear half of what happened because they are
picking and choosing.”
Lerner agreed to do a puff piece which would not require her answering any tough questions and that’s exactly what Politico delivered. We now know that Lerner loves dogs but we still don’t know why her division seems to have targeted conservatives for extra IRS scrutiny. If you want that, you’ll have to buy the book.
Update: I missed this earlier but Rachael Bade gave a pretty honest summary of her piece when she tweeted it out this morning.
16 mths after IRS scandal broke, Lerner talks2me4 profile Wouldn’t spill on role in targeting but did on her life. http://t.co/u6Dj3nQDCY
— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) September 22, 2014
So no actual news about the one thing Lerner is known for but some stuff about her love of dogs.