The mainstream media is doing its best to ignore it, but U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa’s Oversight committee is still doing its best to get to the bottom of the Internal Revenue Service’s squelching of conservative groups in the run-up to last year’s election.
And the Obama administration is doing its best to forget all about it – literally.
Eliana Johnson at National Review reports that IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins – one of two men personally appointed to the IRS by the president and who is a former attorney fo Obama’s infamous pastor Jeremiah Wright – has been less than forthcoming with Issa.
Issa isn’t happy.
In a letter to Wilkins sent Wednesday, Issa noted that Wilkins’ memory is suspiciously faulty and gave him a chance to fill in some blanks.
“In your testimony, you stated ‘I don’t recall’ a staggering 80 times in full or partial response to the Committee’s questions,” Issa wrote, with U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
“Your failure to recollect important aspects of the Committee’s investigation suggests either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate your involvement in this matter or gross incompetence on your part.”
(Since deliberate obfuscation is another way of saying “lying,” being accused of “gross incompetence” might seem preferable. On the other hand, it’s a safe guess that grossly incompetent people don’t, as a rule, become chief counsel of the IRS, personally appointed by presidents.)
According to NRO’s Johnson, Wilkins claimed he was unable to remember whether he had discussions with Treasury Department officials about regulations that covered political activities by non-profit groups, specifically tea party groups and other conservative organizations.
The IRS, through the now-notorious Lois Lerner, has already admitted stonewalling groups opposed to Obama in their efforts to get tax-exempt status. Wilkins, the chief counsel for the IRS, now apparently can’t remember the subject coming up. And that’s even though Lerner – who has famously taken the Fifth Amendment – had received guidance from his office on the topic, Johnson wrote.
Since Wilkins can’t seem to remember whether he was involved in coming up with the guidance that emanated from his office, Johnson closes on a note of uncertainty, but with a suggestion that whatever happened, the White House might have known what was going on.
Wilkins met with President Obama on April 23 , two days before the guidance was provided. Whether he had a hand in drafting those rudimentary guidelines that emerged in April 2012 or whether he tipped off his superiors at the Treasury Department to what was going on, we do not know.