- N.C. math whiz to unveil secret of March Madness picks
- An appealing offer: Chiquita merges with Fyffes to make world’s largest banana firm
- Amnesty International says Syria guilty of war crimes for food blockade
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: ‘We are going to crush them’
- Adam Lanza’s dad: He would’ve killed me ‘in a heartbeat’
- North Korea holds election: 100% turnout, Kim Jong-un gets — 100% of vote
- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
White House plotted with Treasury on how to reveal IRS misdeeds
The White House revealed that it had even deeper knowledge of the IRS scandal than it first let on when press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that a top aide to President Obama talked with a Treasury Department official about how to break the news of the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups.
Despite the preliminary strategy sessions between the White House and Treasury, Mr. Carney repeatedly said the White House did not know or approve of the Internal Revenue Service’s eventual plan: to plant a question at a panel discussion attended by a key IRS official.
But he acknowledged that Mark Childress, the White House deputy chief of staff, twice spoke with Treasury Department officials about the best way to let the public know that conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status had been singled out for special scrutiny and sometimes invasive questioning.
In one scenario that was discarded, Lois Lerner, the IRS official who led the agency’s tax-exemptions office at the time, would use a speech to reveal that an inspector general’s investigation had uncovered the political targeting and would publicly apologize for the untoward activity. The pair also discussed another potential method of disclosure — that acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller would receive a question about the IG probe during congressional testimony.
Mr. Carney characterized the discussion as Treasury giving the White House a “heads up” on its plans but also portrayed it “as just part of trying to find out when and under what circumstances this information would be released, made public, and what those findings would be.”
“It’s a nice hypothetical, but that didn’t happen,” he said.
He also largely repeated his assertion that he and Mr. Obama were kept in the dark about the IRS probe on purpose — something he said the president has since indicated was the right decision.
Mr. Carney has said that White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler first knew about the IRS inspector general’s probe in the political targeting April 24 and told other senior staff but decided not to inform the president.
That decision was made, Mr. Carney said, because the IG’s probe was not finished so it would be wrong for him to do anything that might be perceived to be meddling in the investigation’s outcome.
Mr. Carney told reporters last week only that Ms. Ruemmler knew about the IRS probe April 24. He waited until days later to reveal that several senior White House aides, including Mr. McDonough and deputy chief of staff Mr. Childress, knew that same week.
Mr. Obama and Mr. Carney said they found out about the IRS probe from reporters May 10. Mr. Carney explained his shifting statements about who else in the White House knew before that date by telling reporters he “answered the questions that were asked of me” last week and is providing more information this week in response to additional questions.
On a separate controversy about the Justice Department’s seizure of reporters’ emails and phone records in an attempt to investigate national security leaks, Mr. Carney seemed more deliberate and assured about his response.
On Monday, news broke that the Justice Department accused a Fox News reporter of “potential criminal liability” in order to obtain a search warrant for his email. Mr. Carney said Tuesday that Mr. Obama does not believe that journalists reporting leaked classified information are committing crimes.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Investigators puzzle: How does a 777 jetliner just disappear into thin air?
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- As Crimea falls, Obama takes Key Largo golf vacation, Biden hits Virgin Islands
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CURL: Today's GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- Adam Lanza's dad: He would've killed me 'in a heartbeat'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again