The congressional hearing room was packed. All the witnesses were in attendance. So were the House members who summoned the witnesses. The only thing missing at today's long hearing was the truth.
The committee's star witness, outgoing IRS Director Steven Miller called the harassing of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status "horrible customer service." Some in Washington who are familiar with IRS law are calling it "criminal."
After watching the performance of Miller and the Treasury Department's Inspector General, J. Russell George, I felt Shakespeare summed it up best in Measure for Measure when his character said "You seemed of late to make law a tyrant." I feel certain the 100-plus groups targeted by the IRS because they disagreed with Obama Administration policies felt that the tax agency was wielding tax law like tyrants.
Miller was not fired as President Obama intimated in a hurried statement before the microphones this week, but is simply stepping down as planned at the end of the month. So he was on the public payroll when he repeatedly told house members, "I have answered all questions truthfully."
Really, Mr. Miller? Your memory was so devoid of pertinent information that you should take this opportunity to get tested for Alzheimer's before your federal health insurance coverage lapses. Especially egregious was Miller's denial that any group was "targeted" by the IRS, even though the Inspector General's report used that very word 16 times to describe what was being done to the conservative, pro-Israel and other groups not in "goose step" with the Obama Administration.
Oh, our tax dollars at work!
But, alas, this is but the first act of what may be played out as a long drama before the American public. Miller's replacement is coming directly from the White House staff. How reassuring is that? Will the agency now be forced to admit to its political practices which are patently prohibited by current law, like sharing information from the donor lists of conservative applicants with pro-Obama groups? Forgive me if I have doubts!
And then there is the appointment of Sarah Hall Ingram to head the IRS department in charge of enforcing the provisions of ObamaCare. Where was Ms. Ingram before her recent promotion? She headed the IRS Tax Exempt Division. Yes, the same division that oversaw approval of the application for tax exempt status by the newly formed Obama Foundation in just weeks, but was
still dawdling over approval of the 100-plus applications from Tea Party and other conservative groups for similar tax status, many pending since 2010.
I fear the fox is already in the henhouse!
Let's cut to the chase. A special prosecutor should be appointed and the FBI brought in to investigate. For a change I agree with House Speaker John Boehner - people should not just be fired or demoted, but should go to jail.