Late last week we learned from a Washington D.C. veteran that it was an IRS political appointee who was responsible for coming up with guidelines used to target conservative groups. That political appointee is IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins, who was appointed by President Obama in 2009. Wilkins has a long history of donating to Democrats and represented Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church pro bono in 2008.
According to a report in the Daily Caller today, we're learning just one day before targeting guidelines for tea party groups were re-issued, top IRS officials including former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman (who visited the White House 118 times during the course of the targeting), met at the White House.
As a partner at Washington D.C. law firm WilmerHale in 2008, Mr. Wilkins helped lead the defense of Chicago Reverend Jeremiah Wright's United Church of Christ when the IRS investigated then Senator Barack Obama's involvement with the church for any violations of its 501(c)(3) status. "We were so interested in the case we offered to do it pro bono," Mr. Wilkins told The American Lawyer at the time.
Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and two other IRS officials met with a top official at the White House one day before the agency issued new guidelines on how to scrutinize tea party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.Wow, an eight hour meeting? I'm sure they weren't talking about anything significant, not to mention discussing how to get away with using the IRS to target Obama's political enemies.
Shulman — joined by his chief of staff and political aide Jonathan Davis and IRS spokesman Frank Keith — met with then-Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jeffrey Zients at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House complex on April 24, 2012.
Only Zients and the three men from the IRS attended the meeting, according to White House visitor logs. Their meeting ran for just under eight and a half hours, the logs reveal.
The very next day, April 25, the IRS’s chief counsel’s office — led by William Wilkins, who met with Obama at the White House that same week – sent Washington-based IRS officials “additional comments on the draft guidance” for approving or denying tea party tax-exempt applications, according to a report on the IRS scandal compiled by Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George.
At his Arizona State University commencement speech last Wednesday, Mr. Obama noted that ASU had refused to grant him an honorary degree, citing his lack of experience, and the controversy this had caused. He then demonstrated ASU's point by remarking, "I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS."