Nothing to see here, folks. It's nothing more than an Obama cabinet secretary repeatedly declining to describe the role William Wilkins -- one of the president's two political appointees at the IRS -- played in the agency's targeting of conservative groups between 2010 and 2012. Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace phrased and re-phrased the question, but Jack Lew wasn't about to detour from his scripted talking points:
Lew insists that "no evidence" exists that any political appointees were involved, and there's "no suggestion" that Wilkins was in the planning loop. The IRS has lots of lawyers, after all. Wallace asks if Lew -- as Wilkins' boss -- ever asked his subordinate about the latter's level of involvement in, or knowledge of, the IRS' abusive actions. That wouldn't be "appropriate" for some reason, Lew responds, adding that he's happy to leave the investigating to the investigators. Which investigators? Lew really can't say, but he assures Wallace that "a lot of questions" have been asked of "a lot of people." Carol marvels at Lew's "dazzling" lack of curiosity. Two reminders: (1) Senior Treasury Department officials were made aware of the brewing targeting firestorm back in June of 2012 -- at the latest. That's six months prior to the presidential election, and nearly year before the scandal went public. (2) According to the Inspector General's timeline, Wilkins found out about IRS targeting practices as early as 2011. Between 2011 and 2012, he would have had several opportunities to brief the president or his team about what was happening. Did he? If not, why not? In addition to the targeting malfeasance, the IRS has been accused of throwing lavish, wasteful, taxpayer-funded conferences for its employees (and "misplacing" their receipts), as well as leaking private tax information of conservative groups, political donors, and candidates. Even in a case about which the IG determined the privacy breach of a major donor or candidate was "willful," Eric Holder's Justice Department hasn't pursued any legal action against the responsible parties. Just a bevy of non-controversies related to a "phony" scandal.