Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) addressed Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and the House Oversight Committee on Thursday and also retiring Internal Revenue Service lawyer Carter C. Hull and Cincinnati-based IRS employee Elizabeth Hofacre. The Daily Caller reports that Hull "implicated the IRS Chief Counsel's office, headed by Obama appointee William J. Wilkins, and Lois Lerner, the embattled head of the IRS' exempt organizations office, in the IRS targeting scandal and made clear that the targeting started in Washington, according to leaked interviews that Hull granted to the Oversight Committee in advance of Thursday's hearing. However, it was Gowdy that really demonstrated the spin the administration has put on the IRS scandal and had some shots to take against IRS official Lois Lerner.
"I've been fascinated by, and not in a good way, by the evolution of the defense in this case," he told the Chairman.
Gowdy then proceeded to elaborate on the evolution. "Initially it started when Lois Lerner disclosed this information in a fashion most calculated to be ignored with a planted question at some boring conference. And then the second iteration of this defense was blaming two rogue agents in the Ohio field office."
"Make no mistake, Jay Carney advanced and furthered that narrative and he did so intentionally," said Gowdy. "Mr. Carney's willingness to say 'I don't know' is exceeded perhaps by his willingness to acknowledge that he appreciates the question."
However, Carney didn't say "I don't know." According to Gowdy, "He advanced the narrative that two rogue agents were responsible for this insidious, discriminatory practice. Then we had colleagues that said this matter was closed months ago."
"Now the new iteration of the defense is 'Well at least the White House isn't directly involved in this,' as if that's the new standard for propriety in this town," Gowdy said, appearing flustered.
He then added, "Then the defense morphed into this. The IRS is too poorly managed to be capable of concocting a scheme this sophisticated. That was the defense. My clients were too dumb to have committed this crime."
Finally, Gowdy spoke of the most recent defense. "We didn't just improperly target conservative groups, we improperly targeted all groups. So while we may be guilty of improper conduct, we're not guilty of discrimination because we did it against people at both ends of the political spectrum."
"Now to see the Inspector General attacked," Gowdy said. He then referenced an axiom used in court. "If you have the facts, pound the facts. If you have the law, pound the law. If you didn't have either one, pound the judge."
"What's been said about Mr. (J. Russell) George is reprehensible and I can't wait until he has an opportunity to defend himself," said Gowdy.
"Let me tell you what else is reprehensible," he said. "Lois Lerner sat where those two witnesses sit today, several weeks ago, and these two witnesses put on a uniform and fought and defended this country and the Constitution so she could hide behind the Constitution and invoke her Fifth Amendment right, but only after she blamed them."
"She blamed two rogue agents in Ohio," said the South Carolina Congressman, "and then didn't have the courage these witnesses…..I ought to be thankful anytime IRS agents don't invoke the Fifth Amendment. I ought to be glad that anyone is willing to come before a committee of Congress and testify, but to have these two people's reputation or whoever she was talking about besmirched by someone who doesn't even have the courage to come do what they're doing…." Obviously Gowdy was frustrated and furious over the circumstances.
Rep. Gowdy, like many of us, simply shakes his head at the asinine manner in which the Obama administration does things and how the Democrat Party defends his actions. I'm glad there are a few good men in Washington, DC, like Trey Gowdy who can think through these issues and aren't afraid to confront them head on.
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