Congressman Darrell Issa, the Chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, is hopping mad.
After months of waiting, the IRS still hasn’t provided his committee with the emails and documents that are necessary for Congress’ ongoing investigation.
Instead, the man Obama hired to clean up the IRS, John Koskinen, continues to stonewall the Committee. He answered questions during testimony and even had the chutzpah to say that providing the IRS documents and emails could take years. Several members were visibly angry.
The flash point was the issue of accessing Lois Lerner’s email. You may recall that Lerner is the IRS official accused of politicizing the tax exempt status for nonprofit organizations. In particular, hundreds of Tea Party organizations had their tax exempt status held up for months, and even years, before approval.
This past week, I heard Catherine Engelbrecht – the Founder of one of the targeted organizations – speak at the United in Purpose conference in Dallas, Texas. Her story was compelling… even frightening.
After joining a local Tea Party, she decided to volunteer on Election Day in Harris County, Texas. She was told by election officials that they desperately needed volunteers all over the country to help facilitate elections.
But while working as a volunteer, Engelbrecht and her group of friends saw numerous violations of law. Voters came in with multiple voter registration cards. Voters allowed election officials to cast their ballots.
Engelbrecht was so moved by the corruption she witnessed that she founded the organization True the Vote. She told us, “I had no idea what would happen to me next.”
Hunted By the IRS
Well, after she began to push for voter integrity, the Left in Harris County became unglued.
Engelbrecht’s entire family was put under the microscope by numerous governmental organizations. Her small manufacturing firm was audited by the IRS. Her personal taxes were audited by the IRS.
Her family-owned company had visits from numerous “alphabet soup” agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Texas version of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The message was loud and clear: They didn’t want an organization working to protect the integrity of the voting process. If she insisted on monitoring elections, she was going to pay a price.
And all of this occurred during the period when Lois Lerner was investigating Tea Party groups in Washington, D.C.
Yet to this day, Lerner refuses to testify before Issa’s committee on the grounds that she doesn’t have to give testimony that would put her in legal jeopardy.
Thus the standoff continues. Lerner won’t testify, and the IRS won’t give Congress Lerner’s emails, which would reveal what she was doing and what she was telling the frontline IRS workers. It’s a shameful debacle.
Even more disheartening is that the man tasked with cleaning up the IRS has now turned into a cover-up artist. We expect the IRS to treat everyone the same, regardless of political views.
I suspect that some members of Congress now believe that the only way to clean up the IRS is to abolish it.
This commentary appeared at CapitolHillDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo credit: Jonathan (Flickr)
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