White House scandals are nothing new. And neither is political posturing when a scandal breaks.
It happened in the wake of Watergate and Monicagate and now with the latest gate, IRS-gate?
Whether the IRS scandal — Internal Revenue Service had targeted conservative groups — is important or not important depends, as the old saying goes, on whose ox is being gored.
Politics aside (something that’s nearly impossible in Washington), when power is abused it matters. It is a breach of the public trust.
And right out of the, well, gate the story on the IRS scandal seems to be changing. That’s concerning.
The Washington Post reported on Monday a new account of what occurred at the White House. Officials said some in the White House staff were aware of what the IRS was suspected of doing far earlier than they previously said but President Obama was not briefed.
White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other top officials about the IRS findings nearly a month ago, presidential press secretary Jay Carney said Monday. Ruemmler made the decision not to transmit the information to Obama because the IRS Inspector General’s report was not finished, he said.
“The judgment of the White House counsel was that this is not a matter that she should convey to the president,” Carney said. “This is not the kind of thing, when you have an ongoing investigation or an ongoing audit, that requires notification to the president, because what is important is that we wait until that kind of process is completed before we take action.”
Originally, Carney said Ruemmler was told “only about the fact that the (Inspector General’s Office) was finishing a review” of the IRS’s conduct, and he portrayed it as a “normal sort of heads-up” notification, according to The Post.
The different versions are concerning because, one way or the other, an effort was made to alter the account of what happened.
If there is one lesson to be learned from scandals, it’s that the cover up that will result in careers being destroyed and jail time.
Although this might well be what happened, it doesn’t ring true Obama’s staff knew of a potential political bombshell and didn’t tell him.
It seems more likely, based on previous scandals, the White House staff is claiming Obama was out of the loop so he has plausible deniability if the bombshell goes off.
Obama should have been told and if he wasn’t, he should take those responsible to the woodshed or worse.
And if Obama did know about the IRS targeting of conservative groups he should come clean.
What did the president know and when did he know it?