IRS Hearings Are ‘Political Theater’ With Little Impact

Barb Wire

White House attorney Jennifer O’Connor appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Tuesday. But it took a subpoena from Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) for her to testify about the “lost” emails of ex-IRS official Lois Lerner. The Office of White House Counsel refused Rep. Issa’s first request for O’Connor to appear at this morning’s hearing, which then prompted the subpoena.

Ms. O’Connor worked at the Internal Revenue Service from May to November 2013 as counsel to former IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel. Regarding her appearance, FOX News reports:

“Issa said her testimony was necessary because during that period she had a primary role in gathering the documents to be presented to the committee. … But O’Connor’s [current] boss, White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston, initially responded by telling the committee that O’Connor’s testimony was not necessary because she left the IRS before the agency discovered that the emails were missing.”

The House Oversight Committee’s Ranking Member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), blasted Issa for subpoenaing O’Connor, saying:

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“Chairman Issa is now trying to generate additional headlines with unsubstantiated links to the White House … These actions undermine the credibility of our Committee and our work.”

Cummings claim of undermining the committee’s “credibility” is ironic because Issa levied a similar charge against the current IRS commissioner John Koskinen last week. At a rare evening hearing of the House Oversight Committee, the Republican railed against the embattled agency head accusing him of giving false information to the committee:

“We have a problem with you, and you have a problem with maintaining your credibility. Again, you promised to produce the documents. You did not. You promised to be forthcoming and candid. You were not.”

Demand Congress immediately appoint an independent special counsel to fully investigate illegal IRS targeting of conservatives!

Another day of hearings on Capitol Hill may provide some compelling “political theater.” But even after O’Connor’s testimony today, lawmakers are still no closer to the full truth. The unconstitutional targeting of conservatives by one of the government’s most powerful and most feared agencies is an outrageous attack against ALL Americans, not just Republicans.

This scandal needs an independent special counsel to go beyond the stonewalling, obstruction and excuses to reveal the full extent of the illegal IRS targeting of conservatives. The IRS has refused, repeatedly, to be forthcoming and cooperative in its dealings with Congress. It’s time for We, the People to take action and demand the truth.

I contend that every organization that was subjected to additional IRS scrutiny had their constitutional rights violated by our government. That concerns me as a constitutional attorney, and it should outrage every American — regardless of their party affiliation.

A federal agency like the IRS cannot be used as a political “attack dog” for any administration, but especially not for this one.

It’s long past time for the appointment of an independent special counsel.

(Click here to demand lawmakers take immediate action.)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Mathew D. Staver
Mathew D. Staver is Chairman and Founder of Liberty Counsel®, an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. With offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and an outreach in Israel, Liberty Counsel has hundreds of advocates around the world.

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