One of the narratives the Obama administration has developed to spin the IRS scandal is one in which the targeting of conservatives was an activity not sanctioned officially at the IRS and carried out by a few rogue employees.
Undermining that narrative is, among other things, the fact that one of the IRS employees involved in bullying conservative groups was apparently promoted:
President Obama may have promised “to hold the responsible parties accountable” for the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative non-profit groups, but one of the agents at the center of the scandal was recently promoted, an IRS source tells The Washington Examiner.
Through 2012, then-Exempt Organization Specialist Stephen Seok signed many of the intimidating letters sent to conservative nonprofits. For example, this January 2012 letter sent to the Richmond Tea Party demanded the date, time and location of all group events, as well as copies of all handouts provided at the events, and the names and credentials of all organizers. Seok also demanded the names of all speakers and the contents of the speeches they made.
According to WXIX-TV/Fox 19 in Cincinnati, Seok is no longer an exempt organization specialist. He has since been promoted to “supervisor IRS agent.”
It becomes difficult to believe that the IRS targeting conservatives was the result of a small group of federal employees going rogue when the agency felt comfortable enough promoting at least one of the employees doing the bullying.
Meanwhile, we learn that IRS official Lois Lerner – who is at the center of the present scandal – attempted to bully him out of politics back in the 1990’s when she worked for the FEC:
Former Illinois state representative Al Salvi, who ran as a Republican against Democrat Dick Durbin in his state’s 1996 U.S. Senate race, said that embattled IRS official Lois Lerner intimidated him in her then-capacity as a Federal Elections Commission (FEC) official and told him she would drop various complaints against him if he never ran for office again. …
Salvi told Illinois Review this week that he went head-to-head with Lerner after his 1996 electoral loss to Durbin, when she was head of the commission’s Enforcement Division. The FEC hit his campaign committee with a small handful of complaints related to a $1.1 million personal loan he made to his campaign in its final weeks.
Though a federal district court dismissed the case against Salvi, the FEC appealed it to the 7th U.S. District Court of Appeals, and featured Salvi’s case multiple times in the official FEC magazine.
Salvi said that Lerner offered to drop the case if Salvi agreed never to run for office again.
“She said, ‘If you promise to never run for office again, we’ll drop this case,’” Salvi said, noting that he thought Lerner was helping Durbin keep him out of Illinois politics in the future.
Assuming Salvi’s allegations are true, and they certainly have the ring of truth to them, it seems Lerner has made a career out of using her positions in the federal bureaucracy to bully political opponents.
“It is appropriate that the worst scandal of the Obama administration— the IRS targeting of conservatives — is a scandal of administrators and bureaucrats, of otherwise faceless people endowed with immense power over their fellow citizens and running free of serious oversight from elected officials,” Rich Lowry wrote in Politico yesterday. “They are the shock troops of the vast bureaucratic apparatus of the federal government. Its growth has been one of President Obama’s chief goals, and the one he has had the most success in achieving. He has greatly enhanced the reach and power of regulatory agencies that are an inherent offense against self-government, even when they aren’t enforcing the law in a biased way.”
Tacitus put it more succinctly: “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.”