When news breaks about stunning government oversights or abuses of power, what ensues is a robotic and formulaic response from the Obama administration.
First, President Obama will feign surprise and outrage, condemning the behavior and pledging to hold those responsible accountable.
Then, papers will be shuffled, fingers will be pointed, and time will pass in hopes that a disinterested media will forget what happened and move on to the next issue.
Finally, months and years will pass. The President will then deny there is a problem, and try to distract the press with a shiny new topic or a pivot to a misleading statistic about Obamacare.
The outcome of this calculated response may be politically convenient for the President, but it leaves the American people to suffer the consequences of the Obama administration’s lack of accountability.
What we’ve seen in the year since the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups surfaced has been nothing more than the same old, tiresome paper shuffling and finger pointing that characterizes the Obama presidency.
Shortly after the news broke, President Obama said, “I’ll do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable, by putting in place new checks and new safeguards, and going forward, by making sure that the law is applied as it should be -- in a fair and impartial way.”
Barely three months passed before the President started calling the scandal “phony.”
And in a Super Bowl interview with Bill O’Reilly in February, he doubled down, saying that there is “not even a smidgen of corruption.”
Despite President Obama’s spin, the fact is that the IRS asked inappropriate, invasive, and unnecessary questions of tea party, conservative and faith-based groups, including the political affiliations of donors.
And the fact is that Lois Lerner knew what was going on, and IRS officials knew as far back as 2011 that these groups were being unfairly targeted based on their political beliefs.
In a recent House Report, emails surfaced that showed Lerner frequently transferred confidential taxpayer information to her personal email to avoid an official trail. And she also jokingly made note that the President’s political wing, Organizing for Action, was hiring.
This week, the House voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for repeatedly pleading the Fifth in her testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, despite waiving her right to do so by providing a statement and despite her testimony being crucial to congressional work.
One year later, many important questions, including how high knowledge of the targeting scandal went before it became public, remain unanswered.
Rather than pushing for the truth, the left’s response was to back measures that only further limit freedom of speech by cracking down on further political activities by tax-exempt groups.
As for that accountability? Nobody was fired. And millions of dollars in bonuses were handed out to IRS employees for performance awards, despite the IRS scandal not being the only concerning behavior the agency has engaged in.
After years of President Obama’s rhetoric against conservative groups, the IRS scandal should come as no surprise.
A consistent pattern of disregard for the rule of law is becoming the Obama administration’s legacy, and Americans’ faith in an overreaching government is quickly diminishing.
So get ready, the Obama administration is about to try to change the scandal, I mean, subject.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is the founder and chair of the Tea Party Caucus. Follow her on Twitter @MicheleBachmann.