Major Garrett, CBS News: Is this White House satisfied with the responsiveness of the people [the IRS] sends up to testify about matters of Congressional interest?
Jay Carney: Well that's a broad question, but the answer is 'yes.' And if it's specific to this matter [the IRS scandal], the answer is 'yes.'
The Obama administration has pronounced itself satisfied with the responsiveness of IRS personnel brought before Congress to testify about the agency's years-long political targeting scheme. Good to know. Let's recall just how "responsive" they've been so far. Lois Lerner, the woman at the heart of the scandal refused to answer any questions, regardless of subject. Carney declined to offer an opinion on her performance last week, but now the verdict is in: Satisfactory. Former IRS chief Douglas Shulman couldn't quite recall whether he'd discussed IRS abuse during any of his 118 White House visits between 2010 and 2011. This is a man who furnished Congress with false information about whether inappropriate targeting was taking place in 2012, then chose not to correct the record when he discovered the truth (he claims he found out weeks after his infamous Congressional testimony). Amidst a blizzard of carefully-worded obfuscations and evasions of personal responsibility, Shulman said he was "very comfortable" with his job performance. The IRS' now-departing acting commissioner chalked up his organization's deliberate program of abuse to "horrible customer service." Neither Shulman nor Miller could (read: would) name a single name regarding who, specifically, was responsible for the targeting abuse. Even the IRS' Inspector General couldn't adequately explain why his findings were delayed until after the election -- or why he didn't keep Congressional investigators updated on the key findings of his audit as it unfolded, as required by law. Remember, the IG became aware of the revelation that the IRS' own internal audit had determined wrongdoing as far back as May of 2012, but didn't share that information with lawmakers.
So that's the level of "responsiveness" Congress has enjoyed from high-ranking officials at the IRS. Their intentional opacity and unhelpfulness has left even some Democrats spitting mad and calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor, which the White House opposes. (The Chicago Tribune supports appointing a special counsel to break through the "stonewalling," while WSJ editors oppose the idea). Why would the administration agree to a more thorough and independent investigation of the IRS if they're pleased with what they've already seen? I'll leave you with Carney referring tough questions about Eric Holder's potential perjury to the Justice Department:
Holder is prepping for a media "charm offensive" to try to mitigate some of the reputational damage he's incurred over the last few weeks. That's what his passive-voice "regrets" tour is all about. Hilariously, his planned confab with a group of Washington bureau chiefs will be...strictly off the record. Perfect. The Attorney General of the United States is currently being investigated for perjury, having already been held in contempt of Congress on a totally separate matter. Can't wait to see what his investigation into himself turns up.
UPDATE - The New York Times says 'thanks, but no thanks' to Holder's insulting offer:
Jill Abramson says NY Times "will not be attending the session at DOJ," citing off the record ground rules.
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