American Elephants

The Hearings Really Get Interesting by The Elephant's Child

Sheesh! No wonder the President held an impromptu press conference to attempt to distract media attention from the Ways and Means Committee Hearings. This is devastating for the administration.

I had appointments this morning, so couldn’t watch the hearings. When I got home, I got the mail and, believe it or not, I had a letter from the IRS! They wanted more money. Fortunately, it was due to a careless error on my part, easily corrected. ( I hope) The IRS told me it would be about a 15 minute wait on hold, but I think it was closer to an hour or more. We’ll see. I have to call back tomorrow. But there I sat, typing with one hand, on these posts while holding the phone to my ear with the other. And I can’t tell you what pleasure it gave me to be posting these testimonies while sitting endlessly on hold with the IRS.

Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been taking depositions from those “low-level employees” that everybody  has been trying to blame for the targeting of conservative groups.  He has released passages from their testimony — complaining about the micromanagement from DC,  — believing that the policy came from IRS headquarters. Some of the cases were sent to Washington DC. The “low-level employees” were told to send specific names of applicants and particular parts of applications.

David Axlerod keeps chiming in, saying that the whole thing is so stupid that it couldn’t be on purpose, that Darrell Issa is taking the GOP “over the cliff” on these scandals. “Overreaching” is the new word in the talking points.

Obama’s very own Organizing for Action is also seeking 501(c)(4) status. They are not only a specific tool for Obama in pushing his policy platform, they make no bones about it.

Statement of Purpose

Organizing for Action is a nonprofit organization established to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012. OFA will advocate for these policies throughout the country and will mobilize citizens of all parties and diverse points to speak out for speedy passage and effective implementation of this program, including gun violence prevention, sensible environmental policies to address climate change and immigration reform. In addition, OFA will encourage the formation of chapters that will be dedicated at the grassroots level to this program, but also committed to identifying and working progressive change on a range of issues at the state and local level. In carrying its work, OFA will operate as a “social welfare” organization within the meaning of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

What’s sauce for the goose clearly isn’t sauce for the gander. Time to whine about fairness?
Representative Aaron Schock speaks at the Ways and Means Scandal Hearing.


4 Comments so far
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I’ve been being entertained by all of the excuses the administration and the Democrats have been using to try to minimize this story. Problem is, they can’t come up with anything that explains why conservative groups received so much scrutiny, and liberal groups received next to none (in a couple cases, tax exempt status was even made retroactive!).

One of my favorites was a piece in The Atlantic that tries to claim that former I.R.S. director Shulman didn’t really go to the White House 157 times between 2009 and 2012 (he only “signed in” 11 times over this period), and that even if he did visit more often, he could have been going to the Eisenhower Office Building, which used to be called the Old Executive Office Building, for regular meetings (technically true, as it is considered part of the White House complex). Thing is, there’s no one in the Old Executive that Shulman would go see (my office when I worked in the White House was in the Old Exec, and I know what offices are housed there). He works for the Treasury Department, which is located on the other side of the White House, and Treasury maintains no offices in Old Exec. He claims that he was working on Obamacare, but the Department of Health and Human Services is over by the Botanical Gardens by the Capitol, and has no major offices in Old Exec. Also, if you are pre-cleared for entry (which if he was visiting that many times, he almost certainly would have been), you don’t have to “sign in”… if you have the proper ID on your vehicle, many times you will be waved in. BUT – and this is the important part – what The Atlantic leaves out is that you have to swipe your badge to go through the door upon entry and exit… this allows the Secret Service to track people in the building (The Atlantic article would have us believe that there are people who wander through the White House complex unaccounted for… let me assure you that this is NOT the case. There are usually 3 or 4 sets of eyes on you wherever you go in those buildings, with the exception of the private residence. I used to be one of those sets of eyes (Marine detachment), and I had people following me as well.).

One other note… I had met with Rep. McDermott several times when he was a freshman Representative, and I have to tell you – I thought he was dimwit then, and he has not acquired wisdom with age.


Comment by Lon Mead

Oh yes, Shulman, you see, was appointed by Bush. (The old reliable Bush’s fault thingy) Except he is a big lib, and his wife is as well. And the meetings are now claimed to be with Stephanie Cutter, former Deputy campaign manager. But that wasn’t to get directions from the permanent Obama campaign. Uh huh. This whole thing is just devastating for the Obama administration. Romney, who has trouble attempting to be other than a perfect gentleman, surely wasn’t prepared for such an underhanded dishonest campaign. We should have recognized that a man who got elected by getting sealed divorce records opened and exploiting the contents, was bringing Chicago style politics to the administration. I just read that Bill Daley quit as chief of staff in disgust because there was no real interest in governing.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Yes, Bill Daley actually had an interest in doing the job he was hired for. Then he found out that in terms of influence with Obama, he was right about the same level as the Navy stewards that work there (Jarrett kept ham-stringing him ,and Obama would ignore his advice if it ran counter to what he wanted – not a good thing for a Chief of Staff). Daley is reportedly not returning any calls from anyone in the Administration.

There are two briefs for positions in the White House – politics and policy. Obama has spent his entire time in office concentrating on the former, and ignoring the latter.

I’m convinced that when Obama leaves the White House, the most scathing memoirs written about his tenure will not come from conservative writers, but from Democrats who worked with him.


Comment by Lon Mead

Yes, I think the most interesting memoirs will come from the White House. It seems to be all falling apart, and people are becoming aware that it isn’t working. Whether that will make any difference, who knows?


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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