President Obama is announcing for the umpteenth time he’s going to “pivot” to fixing the economy – as if that’s ever worked before, since it is he who broke it. That said, Obama will pivot to tiddlywinks if that’s what it takes to get out from under his mountain of scandals.
On the White House website, Obama flack Dan Pfeiffer posted a blog demanding everyone pay attention to Obama’s latest speech in Galesburg, Illinois, expressing tender concern for the middle class. Meanwhile, he lamented “too many in Congress are trying to score political points, refight old battles, and trump up phony scandals.”
The media elite are still colluding with Obama to spread the bizarre fiction that there are no “Obama scandals.” Inside the Obama-media bubble, Obama alone defines authenticity, honesty, and problem-solving panache. Outside that bubble, in the world of reality, the Obama administration is making Richard Nixon’s IRS manipulations look like child’s play.
Last week, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings uncovered infuriating new scoops on the scandal of Obama’s IRS targeting Tea Party conservative groups and denying them tax-exempt status. Remember the early spin that all the onerous delays and intrusive inquiries were contained to one office in Cincinnati, and not in Washington? That lying spin has been eviscerated.
Testimony from witnesses inside the IRS have demonstrated that the office of IRS chief counsel William Wilkins – one of two Obama appointees to the IRS – was heavily involved in dragging Tea Party groups through the political mud. IRS employees in the tax-exempt-organizations branch were ordered by their superiors – including branch director Lois Lerner, who took the Fifth before Congress – to send certain Tea Party tax-exemption applications to the office of Wilkins, the Obama appointee.
Who is William Wilkins? In the Reagan years, Wilkins was the staff director and chief counsel for the Democratic staff of the Senate Finance Committee. The Weekly Standard reported “Wilkins has donated heavily to Democratic candidates and committees since he became a tax lobbyist in 1988.” Here’s a fun fact: as a lawyer for the Washington law firm Wilmer Hale, Wilkins represented Reverend Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in 2007 when the IRS began asking questions about whether the tax-exempt church was too involved in political work for its most prominent member, Senator Obama. He won a dismissal in 2008.
The House committee found that Wilkins & Co. were digging for dirt on Tea Party groups and their political activities leading up to the 2010 election. They demanded a very unusual multi-tiered review in Washington. This obsession with wringing out details of these groups and their troubling anti-Obama activities delayed Tea Party applications for years, to the point where applications for tax-exempt status filed in 2010 are still pending approval.
Where were the networks on this unfolding story of political corruption at the IRS? Nowhere to be found. Not one report. Speaker John Boehner mentioned the “IRS scandal” and other Obama scandals on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” CBS only assembled a story for its “Morning News” – which airs in Washington at 4 in the morning.
CNN offered one story on the afternoon of the hearings on “The Situation Room,” and true to form, reporter Dana Bash cleared Team Obama of any suspicions: “After some half a dozen IRS hearings and 16 transcribed interviews, Republicans have no proof of White House involvement in IRS targeting. Democrats were fed up and tensions high....Despite no evidence that the president was involved, [Rep. Darrell] Issa won't let him off the hook.”
CNN and Bash are guilty of a dramatic double standard in presidential accountability. Here’s Bash playing hardball in early 2006, promoting leftists comparing President Bush to Saddam Hussein on torture: “Human Rights Watch released an annual report saying Mr. Bush may be no Saddam, but no saint either, concluding that in 2005, 'the abuse of detainees had become a deliberate, central part of the Bush administration's strategy of interrogating terrorist suspects.'”
CNN has more compassion for terrorist suspects than Tea Party activists. That might explain their ratings.
You can forget scrutiny from MSNBC, which openly supports punishing the Tea Party. Lawrence O’Donnell boldly declared in May “If the words ‘Tea Party,’ or the name of any political party at all appears in the title of your 501(c)(4), you absolutely do not qualify for 501(c)(4) status under the law, and you should be challenged.”
The media’s refusal to report and investigate the targeting of Tea Party groups cuts to the very heart of their corrupt collusion with Obama. This IRS outrage demands firm, prolonged scrutiny. Instead, reporters by their inaction suggest, like O’Donnell, that conservatives who dare to oppose the White House deserve every punishment the Obama administration hands out.
That outrage demands scrutiny as well.