Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

How Republicans Will Try to Pin the IRS Scandal on Obama How Republicans Will Try to Pin the IRS Scandal on Obama

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Politics

How Republicans Will Try to Pin the IRS Scandal on Obama

They plan to connect the dots between the agency's chief counsel and the White House.

Ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller, right, speaks to an unidentified aide as he takes his seat on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

So far, President Obama's inner circle has yet to be directly implicated in the controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service's selective targeting of tea party groups for special scrutiny.

But a top Republican leading the charge into what went wrong at the tax-collecting agency offered a peek into the playbook for how Republicans hope to tie the president to the scandal on Friday.

It centers on what William Wilkins, the chief counsel of the IRS, knew and when he knew it. The chief counsel is one of only two political appointees at the sprawling agency. 

 

Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., the chairman of the oversight subcommittee of House Ways and Means, didn't name Wilkins during a Friday appearance on C-SPAN's Washington Journal. But he did say "what did the chief counsel know" is a crucial question.

Why? Because the IRS' chief counsel, Boustany said, reports to the chief counsel of Treasury. And that would bring the scandal one important step closer to the White House.

In the report that has set off the firestorm, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration said that a meeting was held on August, 4 2011 with the chief counsel "so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue."

While that would suggest that Wilkins learned early on about the targeting of conservative groups, the IRS has tried to quash that idea. In a statement released earlier this week, the IRS said that Wilkins "did not participate in any Aug. 4, 2011 meeting," which instead "involved staff attorneys several layers below Wilkins."

The former Treasury general counsel at the time, George Madison, meanwhile, told the Wall Street Journal that he didn't learned about the targeting while in office.

Still, Republicans remain unsatisfied. At the start of Friday's hearing, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., insisted that acting IRS commissioner Stephen Miller take a formal oath to tell the truth because the panel had been "so repeatedly misled" by the tax authorities.

Camp said one of his top questions was: "Who started the targeting, who knew, when did they know and how high did it go?"

If Republicans are to link President Obama to the scandal, the IRS' chief counsel will have to be at the center of those questions.

Job Board
Search Jobs
Digital and Content Manager, E4C
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
PRODUCT REVIEW ENGINEER
American Society of Civil Engineers | CA
Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Bellevue, WA
United Technologies Research Fellow
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
Process Engineering Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Conshohocken, PA
Electrical Engineer Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Findlay, OH
Application Engineer/Developer INTERN - Complex Fluids
American Society of Civil Engineers | Brisbane, CA
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Detroit
American Society of Civil Engineers | Livonia, MI
Chief Geoscientist
American Society of Civil Engineers
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Boston
American Society of Civil Engineers | Burlington, MA
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Civil Enginering Intern - Water/Wastewater/Site-Development
American Society of Civil Engineers | Sacramento, CA
Staff Accountant
American Society of Civil Engineers | Englewood, CO
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus