May 23, 2013
Time for a “Watergate”
By Mike McManus
The IRS scandal of the Obama Administration
has grown so large that Congress should appoint a bipartisan,
Watergate-type Commission to investigate.
It should be chaired by two U.S. Senators with impeccable
credentials, such as Montana Democrat Max Baucus and Georgia
Republican Saxby Chambliss. Both have announced their
retirement, and have the best interests of America at heart.
The IRS scandal is a three-level horror.
First, dozens of conservative groups who tried to get a
designation as a 501c4 group, which could use half its
contributions for political purposes – were stonewalled from
April, 2010 and none were approved for more than two years. The
law requires that the IRS give an approval or denial within 270
days, yet not one received it.
Just a coincidence that Obama was up for re-election in 2012?
Second, the public was told this action was being taken by a
rogue IRS office in Cincinnati. The White House maintained it
knew nothing about the matter until a week ago or perhaps a
month ago, and that Obama was left completely in the dark.
Colleen Kelly, president of the union representing IRS agents,
told the Associated Press, “No processes or procedures…would
ever be done just by frontline employees without any management
involvement.” (Remember her name.)
The New York Times reported that IRS accountants got a
“directive from their manager” in early 2010 to “be on the
lookout” for Tea Party-type groups.
An IRS Inspector General’s report confirms that the project was
managed from Washington. A key player, Lois Lerner, director of
tax-exempt organizations, pled the 5th Amendment before the
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday,
but not before declaring, “I have not broken any laws. I have
not violated any IRS rules and regulations.”
She pled the 5th because she did not want to give ammunition to
those who believe what went on was criminal.
What has surfaced recently is that just before the anti-Tea
Party campaign began at the IRS, Obama met with President of the
IRS Union, Colleen Kelley. She was a fierce opponent of Tea
Party activists, who led the fight to capture many new House
seats by Republicans in 2010. Unquestionably, the two agreed on
a strategy that might defeat the GOP in 2012.
Perhaps this is the smoking gun reporters have been looking for.
However, what even more alarming is that the IRS leaked the
confidential 2008 tax return of the National Organization for
Marriage (NOM) to its arch-enemy, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
The HRC had long sought to find the identity of NOM’s major
donors. (NOM led the successful Proposition 8 fight in
California in which 7 million voters created a state
Constitutional Amendment limiting marriage to the union of a man
and a woman.)
OF course, NOM refused to publish the names of its donors. Then
came the leak. “There is little question that one or more
employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and
leaked it to our political enemies in violation of federal law,”
said Brian Brown, NOM’s president.
In March, 2012 HRC and the Huffington Post published NOM’s form
990 Schedule B containing the identity of dozens of donors,
making them targets for attacks by gay activists. That illegal
publication occurred just a few months after Joseph Solmonese,
HRC President, was appointed a national co-chair of Obama’s
“The release of NOM’s confidential tax return to the Human
Rights Campaign is the canary in the coal mine of IRS
corruption,” charged John Eastman, NOM’s Chairman in a USA Today
“Contrary to assertions that the targeting of Tea Party groups
was an error in judgment by low-level IRS bureaucrats, the
release of NOM’s confidential data to a group headed by an Obama
campaign co-chair suggests the possibility of complicity at the
highest levels of politics and government,” Eastman charged.
“This wasn’t a low-level error in judgment; it was a conscious
act to reward a prominent Obama supporter while punishing an
After more than a year of waiting patiently for an IRS
explanation, the National Organization for Marriage is suing the
Every day there are new revelations about the depth of the IRS
scandal. However, these details convince me that much more is
needed than an Inspector General’s Report on the IRS, or more
hearings by Rep. Darrell Issa.
Let’s have a wide-ranging, bipartisan Watergate-type
investigation led by respected Democratic and Republican
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