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June 20, 2014

Lois Lerner's Hard Drive "Crashed" Ten Days After House Ways & Means Chairman David Camp Made His First Inquiry About Targeting Conservatives

The timing is not merely suspicious, it is damning.

[T]he alleged disappearance of Ms. Lerner's hard drive—and the fact that the missing conversations are those the former IRS director had with people outside the IRS—has suddenly resurrected, with force, the explosive possibility that she was chatting with Democrats who mattered.

There's plenty of reason to believe she was. Just last week Congress discovered (via a subpoena to the Justice Department) emails showing that Ms. Lerner had conversations with Justice prosecutors about investigating conservative nonprofits. Who else in the Obama administration was Ms. Lerner talking to?

I'm omitting all of the correspondence between Lerner and Congressional Democrats -- but check the piece to refresh your memory.

Here's the chronology of this "crash:"

As to Ms. Lerner's behavior, consider that House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp first sent a letter asking if the IRS was engaged in targeting in June, 2011. Ms. Lerner denied it. She engineered a plant in an audience at a tax conference in May 2013 to drop the bombshell news about targeting (maybe hoping nobody would notice?). She has subsequently asserted a Fifth Amendment right to silence in front of the only people actually investigating the affair, Congress. Now we learn that her hard drive supposedly defied modernity and suffered total annihilation about 10 days after the Camp letter arrived.

Is there something in those lost emails? The fact that they are "lost" at all probably answers that question.

This isn't the only issue of suspicious timing in BOLOGate. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen knew in February that Lois Lerner's hard drive had "crashed" -- but did not inform Congress until last week.

Worse yet, he has repeatedly told media outlets that he only knew of the crash in "late spring."

Furthermore, a Treasury letter from April (repeatedly referenced by Rep. Brady) states that that department agreed with the IRS that Congress should be informed as soon as possible. And yet Koskinen did not inform Congress until last week.

Koskinen's defense for what appears to be perjury or at least withholding critical information from Congress is this: I knew about the hard drive crash, but I didn't know that emails would be irretrievable (and he maintains he doesn't know if they can't be retrieved), so I didn't tell you because I didn't want you jumping to unwarranted conclusions.

"So why did the IRS inform the Executive Branch agencies, the White House, the administration, but kept it secret from the Congress, who was conducting an investigation?" Camp asked.

"We were not keeping it a secret," Koskinen said. "It was our public report to you that has in fact provided you this information, there’s been no attempt to keep it a secret. My position has been, when we provide information, we should provide it completely. If we provide you incomplete information, people sometimes are tempted to leap to the wrong conclusion, not based on any facts, so we thought it would be important to give you the full description--"

That is so perfect! That is a perfect encapsulation of the Ruling Class mentality. That's why the media refuses to report on Gosnell's house of horrors, or the ethnicity of a terror suspect: Because we don't want You, those of inferior minds and low impulse control, to draw the Wrong Conclusions, so we shelter your tiny, emotional, violent brains from information that might cause you to Think Wrong Things.

"It’s okay for the White House and Treasury to leap to a conclusion six weeks before the Congress," Camp shot back.

But of course it is! The White House and Treasury, being staffed by those correctly-educated in The Right Conclusions, and fully fluent in the habits and preferences of the Ruling Class, can be trusted with information that might lead to Dangerously Wrong Ideas if permitted to be exposed to The Lesser.

At the Fiscal Times, Ed Morrissey writes of another case of suspicious timing.

The closest insinuation between the IRS targeting scandal has been an unusual meeting between the IRS' chief counsel, William Wilkins, and Obama on April 23, 2012. The chief counsel for the IRS would have no discernible reason for a private meeting with the president; his job would be to brief the IRS commissioner --at the time Douglas Shulman --who met with Obama the very next day.

The day after that, Wilkins sent a revised set of guidelines to Lois Lerner for the tax-exempt unit to use when applying extra scrutiny. To this day, no explanation for this meeting has been made public, even though records show that Wilkins spent hours at the White House with "POTUS" as his host.

Nor was this the first time that Wilkins appears in the targeting narrative. Carter Hull, a retired high-ranking IRS official with 48 years’ experience at the agency, testified that after he approved a Tea Party-related tax-exempt application, it got routed to Wilkins rather than finalized.

The day after an unusual meeting of a mid-level manager and the President, the mid-level manager issues revised targeting guidelines to the IRS, and we're supposed to believe those guidelines were not the subject of discussion between the President and the manager?

This is outrageous. It is outrageous that Obama refuses to appoint a special prosecutor, and it is even more outrageous that only one member of the leftist media that I know of (National Journal's Ron Fournier) has troubled himself to call for one.

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