One day before the Internal Revenue Service began its now-infamous hit job on Tea Party nonprofits, the leader of the labor union representing the agency’s employees — a vocally anti-Tea Party group — met with President Barack Obama at the White House.
What Obama discussed with Colleen Kelley, president of the 150,000-member National Treasury Employees’ Union (NTEU), isn’t known. But they met on March 31, 2010. And on April 1, the very next day, the IRS got busy going after the Tea Party.
April 1-2, 2010: the new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.
The NTEU has a public history of hating the Tea Party. Its political action committee endorsed Obama in both his Presidential campaigns, and it spent a lot of money to ensure Tea Party opponents got elected in other races. Meanwhile, the union’s members, while on the job as ostensibly dispassionate tax collectors and government enforcers, used their positions to bully the Tea Party while giving their liberal political enemies the “all clear” on their way to tax-exempt status and timely election-season campaigning.
An anonymous staffer in the Cincinnati IRS office from which much of the Tea Party stonewalling emanated told The Washington Post that the agency’s worker bees didn’t act to take down the Tea Party on their own. Rather, said the source, everything they did was directed from on high:
“We’re not political,’’ said one determinations staffer in khakis as he left work late Tuesday afternoon. “We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do. . . . That’s why there are so many people here who are flustered. Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”
For now — and, if Congress doesn’t act, probably forever — Obama’s connection to the scandal is obscured for a lack of evidence. The Inspector General’s report is cursory, and it didn’t proceed from an evidence-based investigation. Attorney General Eric Holder isn’t going to take it upon himself to appoint a special counsel to investigate the scandal; and even if he does, it will be a dog and pony show, a farce perpetrated by an appointee “as loyal to Obama as John Mitchell was to Richard Nixon.”
But Congress can introduce a piece of Independent Counsel legislation to replace the law that expired in 1999, following the investigation by Ken Starr into the activities of the Bill Clinton Administration. If that happens, Obama — and Holder — will be subject to a level of scrutiny that, until now, they’ve only known how to perpetrate against others. And the Nation would learn whether Obama is, at best, an inept leader who remained disconnected from what his allies and appointees were doing — or, at worst, a criminal who hid behind the power of the Presidency to win at all costs.