The Washington Post narrative surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups is that it began as a scandal involving low-level employees at a Cincinnati office, the “Determinations Unit,” a natural outgrowth of an increase in political activity by these groups. This belies other reporting by the Post’s Fact-Checker, which indicates that there was little growth in the number of groups applying for tax-exempt status at the time the targeting occurred.
As more details come to light, responsibility for the IRS actions keeps moving up the ladder and has landed, at least in part, at the White House. Top-level White House staffers knew about the scandal before a manufactured apology was made to the public on May 10.
“The White House on Monday once again added to the list of people who knew about the IRS investigation into its targeting of conservative groups—saying White House chief of staff Denis McDonough had been informed about a month ago,” reported Reid J. Epstein for Politico on May 20. White House Chief Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said she learned about the IRS scandal the week of April 22, but didn’t tell the President.
A public relations storm was brewing, but the public is supposed to believe that the President himself was kept in the dark. “Press secretary Jay Carney said again that no one had told President Barack Obama ahead of the first news reports: not his top aide McDonough, nor his chief counsel Kathy Ruemmler, nor anyone from the Treasury Department,” wrote Epstein. “Monday’s revelation amounts to the fifth iteration of the Obama administration’s account of events, after initially saying that the White House had first learned of the controversy from the press.” Epstein called this the White House’s “shifting” account.
When Politico and the Post’s Fact-Checker, Glenn Kessler, note that the President’s story doesn’t quite add up, you know there’s trouble.
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