New evidence about the actions of the IRS official at the center of the investigation into the agency’s systematic targeting of President Obama’s political adversaries is intensifying the firestorm over the alleged corruption. IRS executive Lois Lerner apparently pushed for an audit of one of the administration’s most outspoken critics in the Senate. In emails with a colleague, Lerner claims to have mistakenly received an invitation to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to give a speech to a non-profit group in 2012. Lerner wrote that the group offered to pay for Grassley’s wife to attend. Lerner wanted to sic investigators on Grassley, even though, as her colleague observed, the offer was not improper. How did Lerner, a then-unknown IRS division manager, end up with a speaking invitation to an Iowa Republican Senator? We can’t know because Lerner refuses to testify. What other notable Republican did she suggest be targeted? We can’t find out because the agency “recycled” the hard drives that the IRS says include her sent items from the key period of the targeting. But what we do know is: Pushing for the selective prosecution of a high-profile administration adversary in the Senate is a big deal and will change the way this case moves forward.
“We don’t want her in jail, we want the truth. We want the truth more than anything else…” – House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. on “The Kelly File” making his first-ever demand for a special prosecutor into the targeting of the president’s political enemies. Watch the full interview here.
Game changer – The good news for the administration is that this revelation makes it easier to sell the narrative that Lerner was the source of the corruption and that her removal was curative. This is fuel for the bus the White House is trying to throw Lerner under. The bad news for the administration is that the revelation of a rank, partisan abuse like this one, especially aimed at the legislative branch, may break the dam of resistance to an outside investigation. Coming on the heels of the admission that the agency had trashed evidence in the case, Democrats will feel increasing pressure to demand more than the apparently stalled internal investigation in the administration. Remember, outrage in the Senate over domestic spying didn’t get really hot until it was revealed that lawmakers themselves were targets. A special prosecutor is the only way out.
EPA admits to destroying evidence – Fox News: “Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday cited a similar cyber snafu during a House Oversight Committee hearing. ‘Another missing hard drive?’ Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, asked McCarthy. She responded, ‘We are having trouble acquiring the data.’ Wednesday’s hearing was called in response to allegations of rampant employee misconduct as well as a pattern of obstruction of oversight efforts by the committee.”
ADMINISTRATION BLAMES IRAQ LOSSES ON BAD INTEL
As Islamist militants took yet another Iraqi town today, this one home to four natural gas fields an hour’s drive from Baghdad, the Obama administration’s defense to foreign policy critics is to claim ignorance, telling members of Congress that they never saw the incursion coming because of limited intelligence. The reason? AP: “Iraq is emblematic of how a security-conscious CIA is finding it difficult to spy aggressively in dangerous environments without military protection… current and former U.S. officials say. Intelligence blind spots have left the U.S. behind the curve on fast-moving world events, they say, whether it’s disintegration in Iraq, Russia’s move into Crimea or the collapse of several governments during the Arab Spring….”
[“This is the result of indecision…which is a policy failure. This is not an intelligence failure, this is a policy failure.” – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-N.Y., in response to a question from Fox News at a press event Wednesday]
[from FOX NEWS; Chris Stirewalt and others]
NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Meanwhile, thankfully, the Clintons are no longer “dead broke” as they were upon leaving the White House, and are now able to support themselves in the manner to which they feel entitled. (Silver linings in the news are hard to come by these trying days; gotta catch ’em where you can.)
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis