Some history: House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa as early as June 4, 2013 asked the IRS to provide "all documents and communications sent by, received by, or copied to Lois Lerner" between Jan. 1, 2009 and the present." Note the "all."
Mr. Issa sent an official subpoena demanding "all" the records in August 2013, and another subpoena reiterating the "all" demand in February 2014. Former Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in August of 2013 told Congress, under oath, that the IRS was "reviewing every one of Lois Lerner's emails, and providing the response." Current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in February told Congress, under oath, that the IRS was sending all of Ms. Lerner's emails.
Yet in its letter on Friday the IRS slipped in the following: "In early 2014, Chairmen Camp and Issa reiterated their requests for all of Lois Lerner's email, regardless of subject matter . . . Fulfilling the request," said the IRS, meant it had to compile Lerner emails that went beyond the "search terms" it had "originally loaded for review." By mid-March, the agency admitted, it had produced for Congress only the Lerner emails that it—the IRS—considered "related" to the scandal.
Highly unwise. It's precisely because of behavior like this that the House has decided to spank the IRS. Or, rather, start the spanking process:
The Internal Revenue Service is about to get slapped with a harsh payback for messing around with conservative groups, blowing wads of tax dollars on employee conferences and helping implement Obamacare.
The House Appropriations Committee is set to OK an IRS budget of $10.9 billion, $1.5 billion under President Obama's request for fiscal year 2015, reducing the agency's budget to 2008 levels.
What will happen here, of course, is that said bill will get passed, and then Harry Reid will stupidly kill it in the Senate (ostensibly because the bill also provides for denying funding for the IRS implementing Obamacare's individual mandate). I say 'stupidly' because:
- A), the IRS's internal leadership needs to be reminded that it exists for the benefit of the American people, not the other way around. If Harry Reid won't do that, the Senate Majority Leader next year will.
- B), getting between the IRS and the reformers will go some ways in ensuring that there will be a different Senate Majority Leader next year.
- C), much as I personally enjoy watching the Democratic party leadership dig themselves ever deeper and deeper holes over this, the truth is that it's in the interest of both the country and the Democrats if the latter plead force majeur and just give up on this one.
And before anybody says that the GOP shouldn't have put that defunding language in, let me remind everyone: Obamacare ain't popular. It ain't never going to be popular, at this rate (and never mind the grammar). The House GOP campaigned on a platform of fighting Obamacare tooth and nail; the House GOP won, big. Killing the individual mandate is a meritorious act; it's not my fault that the Democrats decided to be on the other side on this one...
Moe Lane (crosspost)