Although White House Chief Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler claims to have learned about the IRS audit scandal only last month, she had three unprecedented one-on-one meetings last year with the Treasury Department’s chief lawyer, who has known about the inspector general’s investigation of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative nonprofits since at least June 2012.
The Treasury lawyer in turn has a long history of extreme left-wing agitation.
Christopher J. Meade, Treasury Chief Counsel, met with Ruemmler on September 27th, December 11th, and December 13th, 2012, according to White House Visitor Records requests. The two had never met one-on-one prior to these meetings.
Meade was one of the first members of President Barack Obama’s administration to find out about the IRS investigation in June 2012, when he became the Treasury Department’s acting general counsel.
The two also met with fifteen other people on July 2nd, 2012 and with fifteen other people on July 17th.
The unusual timing of the meetings suggest that Ruemmler and potentially other White House members may have known of the IRS Inspector General Report months earlier than has been reported.
Meade himself is a long-time left-wing activist whose history of agitation goes back to his Ivy League days.
As a Princeton undergraduate, Meade, along with two other students, was arrested in February 1990 for disorderly conduct after disrupting Vice President Dan Quayle’s speech to Congressional Republicans.
“Protestors shouted ‘Stop the killing’ and ‘There’s women’s blood on your hands, Dan,’” wrote The Daily Princetonian on February 28, 1990. “They were taken out of the hall by Secret Service agents as they continued their heckling.”
Meade was charged with “attempting to disrupt a lawful meeting (and to) interfere and obstruct Vice President Quayle (by addressing) him in unreasonably and offensively abusive language,” according to the school paper. He was also punished by the university.
Meade was particularly anti-Republican. “Give me any issue, and I’ll tell you why we’re protesting the Bush administration’s policy on it,” Meade told the Daily Princetonian, citing Quayle’s favoring of “hardline military spending” and U.S. intervention in Central America and Panama.
“Another one is someone so dumb being the vice president,” Meade said, repeating a then-popular jibe about Quayle.
The arrest was the culmination of a long period of left-wing agitation at Princeton.
In April 1989, Meade led a class boycott against Princeton University after having planned a sit-in of the Dean of Students office that resulted in a letter of reprimand. “It just seems by doing things the nice way, no one listens,” he told the Daily Princetonian in April 1989. “This will get the administration’s ear.”
Meade also led the left-wing campus group, Urban Action, which according to Meade had as its “primary purpose” “mobiliz[ing] students to get involved in issues of homelessness, gentrification, poverty, and racism.”
In October 1989, Meade organized a Princeton delegation to march on Washington to protest homelessness.
In the 1990s Meade, then a “homeless prevention advocate for the Legal Action Center for the Homeless,” wrote two letters to the New York Times attacking proposals to reform welfare and decisions to fire government workers.
He then went to New York University Law School, where he wrote a note for the law review on capital punishment, “Reading Death Sentence: The Narrative Construction of Capital Punishment,” dealing with the use of narrative at forming public opinion.
“By providing a way for people to make sense out of the chaotic world around them,” wrote Meade, “narrative helps societies explain inexplicable events and helps jurors process the complexities of trial. Narrative is also a powerful persuasive tool, with applications in the public-opinion arena as well as the courtroom.”
Meade’s narratives do not appear to have led to much success as an attorney.
In 2007, he lost a 9-0 Supreme Court decision when he represented a legal immigrant from being who was fighting deportation for burglarizing cars. In 2009, Meade lost another Supreme Court case when he defended the city of New Haven, arguing that the city had the right to throw out a test that did not provide enough black and Hispanic firefighters.
Despite this unimpressive record, Meade got a job as the Obama Treasury Department’s Principal Deputy General Counsel in 2010.
Although he does not appear to have much access to the White House in his first two year, that changed after his promotion to Acting General Counsel last year.
Ruemmler has claimed that she was told by the Treasury Department that an inspector general report was nearing completing only in April of this year. She did not tell the president about the report, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But J. Russell George, the Treasury Department’s inspector general for taxation, told the House Ways and Means Committee that he informed Meade and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin in June 2012, disclosing for the first time that high-level executive branch officials knew of the inspector general’s investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of conservative political groups. Meade’s conferences with Ruemmler began the following month.