On May 22, 2013, Ms. Lerner told the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, “I have not done anything wrong.” She made this statement then invoked her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. The problem is that she can’t have it both ways: She can’t proclaim her innocence, and then claim a privilege that requires silence.
The same duplicity is seen in the White House’s shifting explanations on the IRS scandal. The White House claims the president was not aware of the IRS targeting of conservative groups until news reports broke the story. Yet Kathryn Ruemmler, the president’s top lawyer, knew of the IRS investigation and the IG’s report, and she apparently failed to notify the president.
If she knew, that likely means many other White House officials on the president’s senior staff also knew. Did none of them inform the president? If not, why not?
The IRS scandal, the most recent of many to conveniently emerge after the 2012 election, demonstrates a consistent administration pattern: when the facts don’t fit the Obama political narrative, the truth is buried, ignorance is claimed by those at the top, and no senior staff is held accountable.
Prior to the election, the White House calculated that the president could, under the guise of campaign finance concern, demonize conservative groups, question their funding, and then claim ignorance and outrage when low level functionaries took actions consistent with his comments. We now see the fruits of this strategy in the IRS scandal. But the strategy goes beyond the IRS.
Obama claimed during the 2012 campaign that the War on Terror was over so the administration could not acknowledge terrorism at work in Benghazi. The Administration lied about what happened, lied about the explanation, and no one has been held to account.
Similarly, on immigration reform, the White House has been so obsessed with granting amnesty to illegal immigrants that it covered up the Fast & Furious gun running debacle, which proved the border is lawless and the government hapless to address it.
The law holds individuals responsible for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of their actions. But not in Washington, where truth and accountability give way when they conflict with the political narrative. No senior political appointees lost their jobs as a result of Fast & Furious, Benghazi, or the IRS scandal.
In a more just world, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Hall Ingram and Lois Lerner would have been fired. But this isn’t that world. This is the Obama administration, where everything – the Fast & Furious debacle, the Benghazi deception, the IRS targeting – comes from the top.