This past summer on the NRO cruise of the Norwegian fjords I shot four videos with Cleta Mitchell to provide a brief tour of the IRS scandals. The videos are posted here (part 1), here (part 2), here (part 3) and here (part 4). All four videos are posted on this Power Line YouTube page as well.
Cleta is the prominent Washington attorney who represents several clients victimized by the criminal misconduct of the IRS over the past four years. She knows what she is talking about.
The charge that Richard Nixon attempted to misuse the IRS for political purposes made its way into the second of the three articles of impeachment against him. Nixon “endeavoured” to misuse the IRS, in the fancy British spelling of the word used in article 2. As I have repeatedly tried to point out (here, here, here and, most recently, here), Nixon’s efforts to misuse the IRS were futile. They went nowhere. Nixon and his henchmen desired that the IRS “screw” the administration’s political opponents, but their efforts were a pathetic failure.
Nixon henchman Jack Caulfield astutely complained that the IRS was a “monstrous bureaucracy…dominated and controlled by Democrats.” As we have come to see, Caulfield was on to something. By contrast with Nixon’s failures to misuse the IRS, the IRS has very effectively “screwed” Obama’s political opponents, and we have yet to learn what the president knew and when he knew it.
Barack Obama could teach Richard Nixon a thing or two, not only about misusing the IRS, but also about scandal management. Yesterday Cleta explained in an indignant Washington Examiner column:
In May, President Obama hurriedly called a White House news conference to stem the outrage about the IRS’s admitted targeting of conservative groups, and emphatically told the nation: “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives.” He appointed Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a criminal investigation into possible wrongdoing — and since then, many of us have wondered, when actually is this investigation going to start?
Last week, we learned that the head of the “probe,” Barbara Bosserman, is a donor to Obama campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. This is, someone who could hardly be trusted to understand what all the fuss is about.
Now we learn that the FBI has “concluded” that there was no actual illegal activity involved in the IRS scandal, conclusions reached without ever speaking to a single conservative or Tea Party organization leader or attorney to learn what actually happened these past four years.
Having represented dozens of groups before the IRS over the years, including many victimized by the IRS in this scandal, one might have thought the FBI might have called me or even one of my clients.
But, to paraphrase the song, if our telephone ain’t ringin,’ I guess it must be the FBI “investigating” the IRS.
Had the FBI bothered to contact or interview me, any of my clients, or anyone who actually could tell the FBI what the IRS did, we could have provided some specific facts about the IRS scandal.
And here are some additional inquiries I would have suggested:
• What did the FBI do in terms of investigating the obvious lies to Congress in 2012 by assorted IRS officials who claimed there was ‘no targeting’ of conservative organizations? Last time I checked, it is a felony to lie to Congress (ask Roger Clemens).
• Did the FBI investigate why Catherine Engelbrecht in Houston was visited by the FBI seven times, was audited by the IRS both personally and in her family business, was visited by OSHA and ATF (twice), all within 18 months of her filing exempt organization applications with the IRS for two conservative groups?
• Did the FBI investigate whether there were illegal political considerations related to the audits of conservative organizations and donors nationwide — and the correlation of that widespread abuse of conservative citizens to the targeting of the conservative organizations?
In short, how can there be any semblance of legitimacy to an investigation when none of the victims were even interviewed?
And what crimes should have been on the radar screen of the FBI in a real investigation, in addition to lying to Congress? How about abuse of power and abuse of the public trust? What about honest services fraud?
As Daniel Henninger explains in his weekly Wall Street Journal column this morning:
Thus, two of the most powerful public institutions in the U.S.—the FBI and the IRS—have concluded no harm, no foul, and the memory hole swallows the Obama administration’s successful kneecapping of the GOP’s most active members just as they prepared to participate in the 2012 presidential campaign. Many—ruined or terrified by the IRS probes—shut down. Mr. Obama won.
Just in case you were wondering.
Before “the memory hole” does its dirty work, please check out all of Cleta’s column here. All of it is must reading.