- - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Obama Administration seems to have taken a cue from Hillary Clinton’s now infamous refrain: “What difference does it make?”

Clinton was deflecting Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson’s scrutiny of the Benghazi timeline, but the White House now seems eager to recycle that line when approached with any inquiry of its mounting scandals.

Newly minted White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest made this more than obvious during Tuesday’s press briefing.

When asked why the IRS waited months to disclose the mysterious disappearance of patsy Lois Lerner’s emails, Mr. Earnest had a familiar response.

“What would Congress have done had they known about it in April or May or whenever the Commissioner first learned about it?” he said. “The fact of the matter is that there’s not anything that is tangibly different about this situation right now.”

Excuse me?

Mr. Earnest might as well have been wearing a green pantsuit and thick, black glasses, because he was channeling Hillary Clinton to a T.

The fact of the matter is, it does make a difference that the IRS dragged its feet in disclosing an explosive revelation to Congress.

If the administration is going to argue that lawmakers and the American people should take the disappearance of two years’ worth of emails at face value and feel comforted by thie promise that there was no shady business behind the scenes, they’re going to have to be a lot more forthcoming than that.

The White House is betting on Americans’ apathy. If they really believe the public won’t care about wrongdoing by the IRS, the agency responsible for more cases of heartburn than Chipotle, then we are in more trouble than we thought.

It proves that this administration is far, far more out of touch with the American people than even conservatives ever imagined. Or they are far more arrogant. I’m not sure which is worse.

So let me answer Mr. Earnest’s less-than-earnest question by using my own experience with the IRS’ faulty computer system.

As you may know, last year I was told by a TIGTA (IRS’ in-house watchdog) investigator that, on the very same day I announced my 2010 U.S. Senate candidacy, a government official inappropriately accessed my private tax records. Then just hours later, an erroneous tax lien was placed on a house I no longer owned. The dubious lien then was widely circulated in the media throughout my entire campaign.

After spending countless hours on hold with the IRS and being pawned off to numerous IRS operators, I was finally told that the lien was caused by a “computer error.” Oops!

It took years to get that erroneous tax lien off of my credit report, and it still pops up now and then. Dang computers! (insert sarcastic emoticon.)

But the computer saga doesn’t end there.

Last July, congressional investigators requested a copy of the computer records detailing who pried into my tax files and why. And guess what? Oops, again. Those records were most likely destroyed, we were told.

Fast forward about five months … the IRS magically found the “destroyed” records. They must have been misplaced during the last cubicle swap. Golly.

And wouldn’t you know it, the newly recovered records showed no evidence of wrongdoing.

That’s when the House Ways and Means Committee stepped in. Why do the rediscovered computer records contradict the information told to me by the TIGTA investigator? I still don’t know. Despite at least three ongoing federal investigations (TIGTA, US Senate Judiciary Committee and now the Ways and Means Committee), there still are no answers because of effective stonewalling by this administration.

So, Mr. Earnest, that’s the difference. Stonewalling buys time for cleanup. Unless public scrutiny gets so intense that accountability becomes inevitable, we may just see those emails resurface. And most likely when they do, they will exonerate Lois Lerner and whomever she may or may not be trying to protect.

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