The only thing you can count on as we learn more about the unlawful IRS targeting scandal is the Obama administration’s dedication to misleading the American people and Congress.
After being told repeatedly by a number of administration officials -- including the IRS Commissioner -- that former top IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer problems resulted in the destruction of thousands of her key emails, we have now been told that those emails actually exist - backed up by an emergency system in the event of a catastrophe.
Justice Department officials have now told a federal court that the problem was not that the Lerner emails couldn't be found, but that the back-up system was “too onerous to search.”
“Too onerous to search”? Unbelievable. The truth is that the Obama administration is doing everything it can -- including presenting false and misleading information -- to stall what can only be described as a faux investigation.
At the same time, we are now learning from the filing in federal court that Lerner’s Blackberry was wiped clean -- destroyed -- after her computer hard drives “crashed” and after Congress began its probe into the targeting scheme.
“There is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any BlackBerry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this investigation,” according to Stephen Manning, Deputy Chief Information Officer for Strategy & Modernization for the IRS.
Sadly, this has become standard operating procedure for the Obama administration. Delay. Derail. Deceive.
This faux investigation is riddled with conflicts of interest.
New documents obtained by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reveal a current Justice Department attorney defending the IRS actually worked at the IRS and was involved in the IRS’s illegal scheme to target conservatives. And, as it turns out, he also worked in the White House Counsel’s office.
This disturbing finding, posted here, is outlined below:
The Committee has learned that Andrew Strelka, currently an attorney at the Justice Department’s Tax Division, worked from 2008 to 2010 at the IRS in the Exempt Organizations (EO) Division, formerly headed by Lois Lerner. Emails show that Strelka was directly involved in the IRS targeting of conservative tax-exempt applicants. In March 2010, Strelka received an e-mail from IRS manager Ronald Shoemaker directing him to “[b]e on the lookout for a tea party case.” Shoemaker directed Strelka: “If you have received or do receive a case in the future involving an exemption for an organization having to do with tea party let me know.”
Strelka also received an email in June 2011 about the crash of Lois Lerner’s hard drive. Until recently, Strelka represented the IRS in civil litigation relating to the IRS targeting.
Let’s not forget another significant conflict of interest that came to light several months ago. Civil Rights Division attorney Barbara Bosserman -- a top donor to President Obama’s election campaigns and the Democratic National Committee -- heads up the DOJ’s ongoing criminal investigation. The Justice Department has refused to remove her because of that conflict.
Most Americans understand that a credible investigation must be independent – and conducted free of politically partisan investigators who simply should not investigate themselves. But an arrogant Obama administration apparently does not.
This is exactly why a Special Counsel is needed in this probe. We believed there was plenty of evidence available back in February when we first called on Attorney General Holder to take this action.
And at the end of July, after additional revelations about new and ongoing conflicts of interest, I testified before Congress outlining the need for such action.
In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, I argued that the Justice Department has demonstrated that it “can no longer fairly and justly oversee” any further investigations into the ongoing IRS targeting scandal and the “only opportunity for justice” for those targeted lies with an independent Special Counsel.
In our ongoing federal lawsuit against the IRS representing 41 organizations from 22 states, we look at the evidence. We examine the facts.
And the truth is that evidence clearly shows the DOJ was involved in the coordinated targeting and was directly engaged with IRS officials – including Lois Lerner – to “piece together” criminal prosecutions against the ACLJ’s clients, without any evidence of wrongdoing or any complaint of improper behavior.
When it comes to getting to the bottom of really what happened at the IRS, the Obama administration appears to be doubling-down on its game plan --- a commitment to a culture of corruption that only gets worse.
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He also serves as a member of President Trump’s legal team. Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.