A leading advocate for groups targeted by the Obama administration’s Internal Revenue Service is lambasting the president for his sudden reversal of tone over the IRS audit scandal.
When the IRS scandal first reached the public eye, President Obama expressed anger and outrage at the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
“If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous. And there’s no place for it,” Obama said in May.
“Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it,” Obama added days later when he announced the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, due to the controversy, days later.
Thursday night however, Obama was more frustrated with the people who expressed outrage at the targeting during an interview with MSNBC host Chris Matthews. (Related: ‘Suddenly Everybody’s Outraged’ Obama dismisses IRS targeting of conservatives, which he called ‘outrageous’ in May)
“If, on the other hand, you’ve got an office in Cincinnati, in the IRS office that — I think, for bureaucratic reasons, is trying to streamline what is a difficult law to interpret about whether a nonprofit is actually a political organization deserves a tax exempt agency. And they’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged,” Obama said, going on to express dismay that even “so-called progressives” were “outraged at the possibility” of targeting.
A lawyer with the American Center for Law & Justice — a conservative public interest law firm, which represents 41 of the conservative and tea party groups targeted by the IRS — analyzed the discrepancy between Obama’s reactions at the inception of the scandal to his reaction this week in an interview with The Daily Caller Friday.
“I love that quote,” ACLJ Senior Counsel David French, said, “because one of the people who was outraged, and properly so, was the President of the United States, the same person who made that statement. The same person who went on camera and proclaimed loud and clearly that what the IRS did was completely and totally unacceptable. He directed Eric Holder’s Department of Justice to begin an investigation. So there was a point in time when the President of the United States was outraged. I think that that point in time ended when it became clear that the initial spin — of just a few low level employees in Cincinnati — was completely false.”
As the blame moved closer to the White House “suddenly it becomes a phony scandal,” French added.
According to French, considering that the amount of coverage given to the fact that the scandal did reach Washington and that Obama has said he listens to news reports, “it is difficult to imagine he is just misinformed.” (Related: IRS lawyer says scandal was overseen by D.C., names names)
According to ACLJ, none of their clients have been contacted by the FBI, the Department of Justice or any other investigative agency about the targeting. (Related: Federal investigators still not contacting conservative groups targeted by IRS)
“I’m beginning to wonder if the so-called FBI investigation is really just a pretext for stalling the various congressional investigations and potential civil litigation that is pending against the IRS,” French speculated. “Because now the IRS officials have a shield to hide behind in refusing to comment by saying they are under investigation when the fact of the matter we cannot discern that any investigation exists at all.” (Lerner: ‘I have not done anything wrong,’ then pleads Fifth)
“At this point I am dubious that there is any criminal investigation ongoing about this at all,” French said, adding that if there is an investigation “it doesn’t seem to be conducted with any energy at all.”
French added that his organizations’ suits against the IRS are ongoing.