U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., dissected Democrats’ attempts to diffuse the IRS scandal on Thursday with a speech detailing what he called the agency’s “evolution of defense” for targeting conservative groups – from the day IRS official Lois Lerner leaked word of the practice up to the most recent attacks on the solicitor general in charge of investigating it.
At a meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that featured testimony from the two IRS agents that Lerner, liberals and White House spokesman Jay Carney wrongly blamed for the political targeting, Gowdy listed the story shifts so far aimed at taking attention away from the fact that the IRS engaged in deliberate political activity aimed at President Obama’s political opponents.
First, Gowdy said, came Lerner’s admission – with an apology – that the agency had singled out groups with “tea party,” “patriot” and similar words in their title for special attention in applications for tax-exempt status. Lerner made the admission in response to a question she had planted with a lawyer attending an American Bar Association conference in May, a venue Gowdy called “most calculated to be ignored.”
Then, Gowdy said, his voice rising in anger, Lerner and others — including Carney — blamed “two rogue agents” in an IRS office in Ohio
for the practice.
Then, Gowdy said, came the defense that “at least the White House isn’t involved in this.” As if, he said, “that’s the new standard of propriety in this town.”
Then, Gowdy said, the defense became “the IRS is too poorly managed” to work up a conspiracy against conservative groups.
Then, the story became that that IRS hadn’t discriminated against conservative groups – “we improperly target all groups,” Gowdy said. “We did it at both ends of the political spectrum.”
Now, the Democrats – led by Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the committee’s ranking Democrat – are impugning the solicitor general’s report on the IRS, accusing him of ignoring the agency’s (nonexistent) scrutiny of liberal groups.
Gowdy summed up that tactic neatly in what he called an old axiom of law:
“If you had the facts, pound the facts,” he said. “If you had the law, pound the law. If you didn’t have either one, pound the judge.”
Or you could do what other Democrats and their allies in the media like the New York Times (which ignored yesterday’s hearing) are trying to do:
Pound the truth – and the people who tell it – until it can’t even be recognized.
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