Ben Franklin once said “Three can keep a secret, if two are dead.” The same holds true for scandals, particularly when one party tries desperately to make the other take the fall, as the administration has in the burgeoning IRS scandal. The risk with that strategy is that it gives the assigned patsy every reason to start talking.
Which is what those “rogue agents” are starting to do:
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) revealed new testimony from IRS employees in Cincinnati involved with the IRS’s political targeting today on CNN’s State of the Union.
The Committee released excerpts from bipartisan transcribed interviews between Committee Investigators and Cincinnati IRS employees. In these interviews Cincinnati IRS employees reject the White House’s claim that the targeting was merely work of “rogue” agents and say targeting of conservative political groups came from Washington, D.C.
Q: In early 2010, was there a time when you became aware of applications that referenced Tea Party or other conservative groups?
A: In March of 2010, I was made aware.
Q: Okay. Now, was there a point around this time period when [your supervisor] asked you to do a search for similar applications?
Q: To the best of your recollection, when was this request made?
A: Sometime in early March of 2010.
March, 2010, is also when the head of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, which covers IRS employees, had a meeting at the White House with President Obama. Hmmm…
Back to the transcript, emphasis added:
Q: Did anyone else ever make a request that you send any cases to Washington?
A: [Different IRS employee] wanted to have two cases that she couldn’t ‑‑ Washington, D.C. wanted them, but she couldn’t find the paper. So she requested me, through an email, to find these cases for her and to send them to Washington, D.C.
Q: When was this, what time frame?
A: I don’t recall the time frame, maybe May of 2010.
Q: But just to be clear, she told you the specific names of these applicants.
Q: And she told you that Washington, D.C. had requested these two specific applications be sent to D.C.
A: Yes, or parts of them.
Q: Okay. So she asked you to send particular parts of these applications.
Q: And that was unusual. Did you say that?
Q: And she indicated that Washington had requested these specific parts of these specific applications; is that right?
So it wasn’t just looking for keywords and taking random samples: if what this agent says is true, specific groups and specific people were targeted. It would be very interesting to know just who these people were, and who asked for their files. I suspect that question will be prominent in this week’s hearings.
Meanwhile, someone identified only as a “more senior” employee had this to say to the committee’s investigators:
Q: But you specifically recall that the BOLO [“Be On The Lookout”] terms included “Tea Party?”
A: Yes, I do.
Q: And it was your understanding ‑‑ was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Tea Party groups?
A: That is correct.
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify conservative groups?
A: Yes, it was.
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Republican groups?
A: Yes, it was.
Don’t be surprised if more people start spilling what they know, the higher this goes.
via Jim Geraghty.
RELATED: Some other items for you to chew over on your lunch break —
Former IRS Commissioner Shulman, who was at the White House so often he probably had a guest room set aside for sleepovers, is married to Susan Anderson, who works at the leftist Public Campaign. Not too eyebrow-raising of itself, until you learn a) that Public Campaign received a lot of money from groups hostile to Tea Party and conservative goals (see prior link) and b) you discover that Anderson herself held training sessions for the Occupy movement and posted tweets showing herself to be very hostile toward the Right at just the very time her husband’s IRS had a BOLO out on conservative groups.
But, naturally, they kept their work and private lives separate. Really. No doubt about it. Care to buy a used bridge?
Finally, remember Lois “I did nothing wrong but I’m pleading the 5th” Lerner? It seems her animus toward conservatives goes way back at least to her days at the FEC, where she badgered a Republican candidate to promise never to run for office again in return for dropping an investigation against him.
One wonders if she was slapping a paid of brass knuckles against her palm at the time.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)