Rod St. Aubyn: Will We Ever Be Able To Trust The IRS Again?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a broken institution.  First we hear about the agency allegedly going after conservative groups and delaying approval for their tax exempt status.  We were told it was a couple of rogue IRS agents in Ohio.  Then Congress rightfully launches an investigation into these alleged practices and we find out how one (Lois Lerner) of the key player’s computer conveniently crashed and her emails were suspiciously destroyed.  We have since found out that confidential information was shared with entities within the Justice Department.  Ms. Lerner began to talk a bit to the Congressional Committee, but she then asserted her 5th Amendment rights.  Republicans argue that she lost her right to assert her 5th Amendment right by already making a statement.  That will have to be settled by the courts.   She then decides to retire.

Multiple reports indicated that the lost computer data may still be recoverable.  The Obama administration has continued to stonewall the investigation.  There were calls for an Independent Counsel to be appointed to dig into this alleged scandal.  In the meantime, a key witness who had worked for the Justice Department and the IRS cannot be found to testify before the Committee.   Isn’t that convenient?

The President was interviewed by Fox’s Bill O’Reilly during the Super Bowl and the President said that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” within the IRS.

Up to this point, Attorney General Eric Holder has refused to appoint an Independent Counsel.  Now recent discoveries find that 5 other key IRS employees’ computers also crashed with the loss of potential evidence.  This entire situation is really beyond belief.  Still no Independent Counsel!

Exactly what does trigger the need for an Independent Counsel for this Attorney General?  His inaction only fosters even more suspicions about this entire situation.

To make a real mess even messier, we now find out that a spokeswoman within the Justice Department was caught trying to work with Democrats on the Congressional Committee to coordinate messaging on the IRS probe.  If I were a Democrat in Congress I would insist on the appointment of an Independent Counsel to restore some type of credibility for the Justice Department, the IRS and the Democratic members of the House Committee.  This is hard to believe that the Democrats are being so openly partisan in this entire investigation.  If the IRS, Justice Department, and the White House are innocent and have nothing to hide why are they continually throwing road blocks and other obstacles in the way of the investigation?  What do they have to lose by appointing an Independent Counsel to investigate this entire situation?  If the parties are innocent, this will only come back to hurt the Republicans for alleging or insinuating wrong doing.  Could it be that insiders know that there is some wrong doing going on?

Oh yeah, now Breitbart, a conservative news organization, is reporting that they are being audited by the IRS and suspect that this audit is politically motivated.  This could be a routine audit by the IRS, but with this cloud of suspicion hanging over the IRS, the Justice Department, and the White House, how will we ever know.  The IRS has lost all credibility which is very unfortunate.  I am sure that there are many good IRS employees who are also disgusted with the agencies behavior regarding this mess.   The Republicans are claiming a major conspiracy is going on while the Democrats are alleging that the Republicans are on a witch hunt.

We are way past the time for an Independent Counsel to be appointed to investigate all aspects of this fiasco and get down to the bottom of it.  The American people deserve to know the truth and we urgently need to know if we can EVER trust the IRS again.   Let’s get an Independent Counsel appointed.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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