Where is the “all concerned about Americans’ rights” press?????????
Congressional investigators keep uncovering troubling facts in the IRS political targeting scandal, which makes us wonder: Where is that independent and intrepid G-Man James Comey ?
The FBI director told the HouseJudiciary Committee on June 11 that his agency’s IRS investigation—ordered a year ago by Attorney General Eric Holder —is still “very active” and “something I get briefed on a regular basis.” We’d like to know how he defines “regular” because two days later the IRS finally disclosed that it had “lost” emails sent by former IRS tax-exempt chief Lois Lerner and six other IRS employees. Mr. Comey failed to disclose this mysterious loss of evidence in his testimony.
Some in Congress are beginning to wonder if there is any investigation at all. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan noted in a letter to Mr. Comey last month that “one of the FBI’s first actions in its criminal investigation” should be “to identify and seize all documents relating to Ms. Lerner.” Had it done so, the FBI would have known a year ago that Ms. Lerner’s emails had gone walkabout.
We now know that the IRS told Treasury and the White House about the missing emails in April—yet the Obama Administration withheld that information from Congress and the public. Did the FBI know too?
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has testified that he didn’t tell the FBI about the missing emails. But if that’s the case, why aren’t the G-men shouting to high heaven? If the FBI discovered a private company had withheld documents in the course of a federal investigation, the handcuffs would be flashing. The FBI’s gumshoes seem to be remarkably relaxed about getting IRS answers.
Ditto the rest of the Justice Department. Congress learned in January that Justice assigned the IRS probe to an Obama donor, Barbara Bosserman, an attorney in the Civil Rights Division. Justice has refused to reassign the case—despite her political conflict of interest—and Ms. Bosserman has so far turned up nothing.
Then there’s the House’s May 7 contempt citation against Ms. Lerner. The section of the U.S. code governing contempt is clear: The House votes and then the Speaker sends the citation to the appropriate U.S. Attorney, “whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action.” U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ron Machen has possessed that citation for eight weeks, yet his spokesman told us in late June that the matter is “still under review.”
What’s to review? Under the statute, Mr. Machen—an Obama appointee—has no role in analyzing the merits of the citation. His duty is to get it to a grand jury. Administrations have in the past directed U.S. Attorneys not to proceed—as the Obama White House did in a citation against Mr. Holder, and the Bush Administration did in citations against Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten. But unless the Obama White House is now stepping up to give Ms. Lerner special immunity from prosecution—she took the Fifth rather than testify to Congress—Mr. Machen’s job is clear.
Mr. Jordan is asking Mr. Comey to explain what the FBI knew and when, and that’s the least he owes the taxpaying public. In his Judiciary testimony, Mr. Comey said Americans should trust his agency “because of what they know about the FBI.” On the public evidence so far, Mr. Comey should worry that he is damaging his reputation—and the FBI’s.