“I’ve worked in this town for over 20 years – I’ve worked in the White House and on Capitol Hill – and I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it,” ABC News’ Trey Hardin said during a radio interview. “It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that…without political advisors in the West Wing…knowing about it.”
Meanwhile, President Obama’s former chief adviser David Axelrod is saying the government is “too big” for President Obama to have known about this:
President Obama’s former campaign adviser David Axelrod on Wednesday said the president couldn’t have known about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting conservative groups because the government is too big for the Commander in Chief to know about everything that goes on below him.
“If you look at the Inspector General’s report, apparently some folks down in the bureaucracy, and you know we have a large government, took it upon themselves to shorthand these applications for tax exempt status in a way that was, as I said, idiotic, and also dangerous because of the political implications,” Axelrod said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“Part of being president is there’s so much underneath you because the government is so vast,” he added. “You go through these [controversies] all because of this stuff that is impossible to know if you’re the president or working in the White House, and yet you’re responsible for it and it’s a difficult situation.”
I suspect Hardin has the right of this more than Axelrod – it’s hard to imagine career bureaucrats deciding on their own to start targeting groups of one ideology but not another – but supposing Axelrod is right, what does that say about the size of US government?
What does it say when our federal government is so large a group of bureaucrats can go rogue and begin targeting a certain political ideology without the President knowing about it?
That our government is too large, perhaps. Of course, it’s unlikely that’s how this actually went down. It’s simply too much of a coincidence that the IRS began targeting the tea party just when the movement was really getting organized, and having an impact on election outcomes.