Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1321: Maureen Dowd, Donald Trump, And The IRS Scandal

IRS Logo 2New York Times:  Election Therapy From My Basket of Deplorables, by Maureen Dowd:

My little basket of deplorables, as I call my conservative family, gloated with Trump toasts galore, and [my brother] Kevin presented me with his annual holiday column with an extra flourish. ... [H]ere is what Kevin, an affluent, educated suburbanite, has to say in his column, titled an “Election Therapy Guide for Liberals”:

Donald Trump pulled off one of the greatest political feats in modern history by defeating Hillary Clinton and the vaunted Clinton machine.

The election was a complete repudiation of Barack Obama: his fantasy world of political correctness, the politicization of the Justice Department and the I.R.S., an out-of-control E.P.A., his neutering of the military, his nonsupport of the police and his fixation on things like transgender bathrooms. Since he became president, his party has lost 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats and 14 governorships. ...

As Eddie Murphy so eloquently stated in the movie “48 Hrs.”: “There’s a new sheriff in town.” And he is going to be here for 1,461 days. Merry Christmas.

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Oh, and Pubs, I neglected to mention the current DOJ engaging in unwarranted tapping of reporters telephones, and attempted to prosecute one reporter for not revealing his sources in a terrorism-related case. There are other examples I can point to, as well.

When will an extreme partisan such as yourself stop invoking Bush era wrongdoing to excuse Obama era wrongdoing? Answer: never. Reason: probably because you don't believe in holding the DOJ, or the IRS, or any other Executive agency to an ethical standard of behavior, as long as "your guy" is running the White House.

Posted by: MM | Dec 22, 2016 11:55:14 AM

Publius Nadler,

How is the Gonzalez affair, which for the record should've been investigated, a defense of the current Justice Department? The former Attorney General, in addition to making false statements to Congress multiple times, literally authorized gun-running whereby fully-automatic firearms found their way into the hands of the likes of El Chapo and the Brussels terrorists?

That's your defense, honestly? A Dem. DOJ is better than a GOP DOJ, never mind the abuses of power involved? Intellectual honesty and consistency have always been your weak spot, but I give you credit for transparency: a hack is easy to spot a mile away.

Posted by: MM | Dec 22, 2016 11:44:33 AM

That really doesn’t change much. US Attorneys have been replaced within term before and I think those in question had already fulfilled their original 4 year term. Yes, Democrats made overwrought accusations in this case but no evidence was ever found to substantiate any of them. Not only did the IG and the Obama Justice Department investigate but an independent prosecutor was named and a grand jury convened. They never found evidence of anything criminal.

Requesting a political appointee (such as a US attorney) to resign is by definition political but that does not make it inappropriate. There was never any evidence that any of them were fired to impede an investigation. Where they got into trouble was trying to manage the PR afterwards. Rather than outright admit that they wanted to replace them with attorney’s more closely in tune with the President’s priorities (which is within his prerogative) – they tried to say that some of them were fired for poor performance. By falsely impugning them it made it look like they had something to hide and brought about worse PR than if they had been honest from the beginning. Most of not all of the resignations had to do with managing PR as well.

Posted by: sigh | Dec 21, 2016 7:35:57 PM

BTW Mr. sign, President Obama did not fire all of the USAttorneys. The USAttorney for Maryland was appointed in July 2005, and is still serving today. In fact, as late as 2010, one-third of the USAttorneys were Bush 43 holdovers. Unlike his predecessors, Obama did not engage in wholesale replacement of USAttorneys.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Dec 21, 2016 9:22:05 AM

Mr sigh: Of course that is true, and has been true with respect to most newly inaugurated presidents for a long time. But that is not what happened in 2006—2007. In summary, on December 7, 2006, Bush 43's DOJ ordered the midterm dismissal of seven USAttorneys. Several congressional investigations focused on whether DOJ and the WH were using the USAttorney positions for political advantage (right-wingers now call this “weaponizing” the DOJ. The right wing is much better at the dramatic naming stuff.). It was alleged that some of the USAttorneys were targeted for dismissal to impede investigations of Republican politicians or that some were targeted for their failure to initiate investigations that would damage Democratic politicians or hamper Democratic-leaning voters. The USAttorneys were replaced with more amenable, interim appointees, under provisions in the 2005 USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization.

A subsequent report by the DOJ Inspector General in October 2008 found that the process used to fire the first seven USAttorneys and two others dismissed around the same time was "arbitrary", "fundamentally flawed", and raised doubts about the integrity of DOJ prosecution decisions. In July 2010, the DOJ prosecutors (Obama Administration) closed the two-year investigation without filing charges after determining that the firing was inappropriately political, but not criminal.

As a result of the scandal, Michael A. Battle, Kyle Sampson, and AG Alberto Gonzalez resigned. Monica Goodling resigned after asserting her 5th Amendment privilege, refusing to testify before Congress. Joshua Bolton and Harriet Miers were held in contempt of Congress. You forgot all of this stuff?

Posted by: Publius Novus | Dec 21, 2016 9:11:48 AM

U.S. Attorneys can be fired/asked to resign at will. They serve at the pleasure of the president. Clinton fired all of them when he came into office. I think Obama did too.

Posted by: sigh | Dec 20, 2016 5:20:32 PM

Mr. MM: Short memory. How about Alberto Gonzalez, Monica Goodling, and Sara Taylor? Do seven fired U.S. attorneys, lost emails dealt with the firing of U.S. attorneys, and allegations of failure to investigate voter fraud ring any bells for you? Probably not. Selective memory.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Dec 20, 2016 11:12:24 AM

Politicization of the DOJ was a prerequisite, and far more serious, than that of the IRS or any other agency in the Executive Branch. Once the former occurred, no serious investigation of the latter was ever going to take place. And that worked just fine for the President for 4-8 years. Now it may work just fine for a polar opposite President for another 4-8 years...

Posted by: MM | Dec 20, 2016 7:28:55 AM

That had to be one interesting Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Tom N. | Dec 20, 2016 7:16:09 AM

Trump beat both parties in the same year, a feat which had seemed impossible. We live in interesting times.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Dec 20, 2016 2:57:10 AM