By Rick Manning
Lois Lerner was apparently patient zero of deadly computer viruses within the United States government as it has been learned that some of her former colleagues at the Federal Election Commission also mysteriously lost their computer hard drives. Of course, they had to be destroyed as well.
The evidence must be pretty damning to have involved what appears pretty clearly to be an interdepartmental cover up.
Two separate federal courts are now involved demanding an explanation from the IRS about how they could have destroyed all of the pertinent records in the case due to separate cases filed by Judicial Watch and True the Vote.
Now in a bi-partisan vote, the House of Representatives has signaled that they have had enough, going on a cutting frenzy on the IRS’ enforcement budget.
Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) started the action by authoring a $353 million cut saying, “The use of a government agency to harass, target, intimidate and threaten lawful, honest citizens was the worst form of authoritarianism.” Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., followed up with an amendment to cut an additional $788 million, all on top of the $72 million cut from last year’s $5 billion enforcement budget in the underlying bill. The overall cuts to the IRS’s enforcement budget when the smoke cleared — $1.2 billion or 25 percent, all on a voice vote.
The IRS abuse of power has gotten so politically toxic that no Democrat wanted to be on the record voting to defend them, allowing them to go forward without a recorded objection.
The news is even worse for Lerner personally, whose pension would be defunded under the House passed legislation so long as she remains in contempt of Congress.
And with the IRS abuse extending well beyond Lois Lerner’s reach to other divisions within the Agency, the House also voted to stop career employees at the rogue Agency from receiving merit bonuses this year.
This last act will likely create a firestorm of whistleblowers coming forward to tell the truth about the Agency’s abuse of power and the political motivations behind it, as angry civil servants react to getting hit in the pocketbook due to the malfeasance of others.
We also know in a separate federal court room earlier this month, the IRS is being brought to heel in a case of political targeting unrelated to conservative groups, but instead focusing upon a pro-Israel group that was also abused for their political beliefs.
Yet, even as the IRS house of cards collapses, the obvious question is how far up the chain of command at the White House did this scandal go?
We know that IRS officials had hundreds of meetings with the White House during this time period, and we know that then press secretary Jay Carney admitted that there was at least one White House meeting about the targeting of conservative groups prior to Lois Lerner’s initial revelation to the public.
With the across the government lengths that have been taken to cover up this abuse of power only the most naïve would not ask who they were trying to protect?
It should be an interesting few months.
Rick Manning is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.