Meet William J. Wilkins -- the President's Man at the IRS

Carol Platt Liebau
Posted: May 16, 2013 9:26 AM

Yesterday, I outlined some questions raised by the IG report on the IRS

More probing reveals more questions.

On the time line (page 36), there is the following entry for August 4, 2011:

Rulings and Agreements office personnel held a meeting with Chief Counsel so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue [of developing new criteria for identifying which applications to send to specialists for more scrutiny]. 

In other words, the Chief Counsel of the IRS was informed about the issue on August 4, 2011.  So who is this Chief Counsel?

America, meet Obama appointee William J. Wilkins -- briefed on the political targeting of conservative groups as of 8/4/11.  Did he tell The White House about it at the time? Not that Jay Carney is aware of, as he told a skeptical press corps yesterday:

Q    And just one more thing.  The report also says that on August 4th of 2011, that the chief counsel at the IRS -- I believe that’s William Wilkins, appointed by President Obama in 2009; this is one of only two political appointees at the IRS -- that the chief counsel was briefed on this back in 2011.  Did he share that information with the White House?
MR. CARNEY:  I’ll have to look at that.  I don’t know that that’s the case.  I would point you to the Treasury Department for more information about I think the meeting that we’re talking about or that is represented in that.
Q    But shouldn’t he have?  This is one of the President’s political appointees, chief counsel.
MR. CARNEY:  What I can tell you is what I said yesterday:  The President found out about this through media reports on Friday.  That’s how I found out about it.  . . . .
Q    The purpose of briefing the chief counsel, according to the IG, was so that everybody would have the latest information on the issue.  As the President’s political appointee over there, shouldn’t there have been an effort for him to brief you?
MR. CARNEY:  Well, you can say what should have been or shouldn’t have been.  What I can tell you is what to my knowledge I’m aware of.

Two exit questions:

(1) Is it credible that William J. Wilkins, a well-trained lawyer with a history of counseling 501(c)(3)'s, would have learned of the political targeting of groups and not informed The White House?

(2) How is it that the systematic harassment of conservative groups continued at the IRS even after President Obama's man at the IRS knew of the previous targeting as of August 4, 2011?  For example, the timeline entry for January 25, 2012 reads as follows:

The BOLO ["be on the lookout"] criteria were again updated. The criteria was revised as "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement."