White House counsel met with top treasury lawyer three times last year after learning of IRS audit

The Daily Caller reports that White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler had three unprecedented one-on-one meetings last year with the Treasury Department’s chief lawyer, Chistopher Meade. The meetings were in September and December of 2012. Meade had known about the inspector general’s investigation of the IRS’s targeting of conservative nonprofits since at least June 2012.

According to the Daily Caller, Ruemmler had never previous met with Meade one-on-one.

Meade and Ruemmler also were involved in a larger meeting on July 2, 2012 and another one on July 17, says the Daily Caller. These meetings occurred soon after Meade became acting general counsel of the Treasury Department in June. At that time, if not before, Meade found out about the IRS audit. Meade had been at Treasury since March 2010.

Ruemmler says she didn’t learn about the audit until last month. But the timing of her meetings with Meade casts suspicion on that claim. Ordinarily, one would expect that the blockbuster IRS audit would a topic, if not Topic A, in any discussion between the top Treasury Department lawyer and the top White House lawyer.

As an aside, and for what it’s worth, let’s look more closely at these two lawyers. Ruemmler has an excellent reputation in Washington. You can get a sense of it from this Washington Post story, which includes praise not just from liberal lawyers but from John Dowd, a Republican and a partner at my former law firm.

The Washington Post isn’t above shamelessly puffing favored Washington insiders. But a friend who is a leading conservative lawyer has spoken well to me of Ruemmler.

Nonetheless, Ruemmler has some questions to answer.

Meade is a former Ivy League radical. Not there’s anything horribly wrong with that — John and I plead guilty to the same charge.

But Meade wasn’t protesting the bloody Vietnam War or racial segregation. According to the Daily Caller, Meade was arrested in February 1990 for disorderly conduct after disrupting Vice President Dan Quayle’s speech to Congressional Republicans. Meade’s beef with Quayle? The U.S. military action in Panama!

Meade was something of a Whiz Kid at Princeton. “Give me any issue,” he boasted to the school newspaper, “and I’ll tell you why we’re protesting the Bush administration’s policy on it.”

One can imagine how he feels about the Tea Party.