by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Kevin D. Williamson sets out for National Review Online readers a series of lies related to Lois Lerner’s recent apology for the IRS attacks on conservative groups. Lie No. 1: The apology was a spontaneous reaction to an unexpected question. On the contrary, Williamson explains, the question almost certainly was planted.
Lie No. 2: Lerner said about 280 organizations were given extra scrutiny, about 75 of them tea-party groups or similar organizations. The actual number of organizations that were targeted is closer to 500.
Lie No. 3: This was the work of low-level grunts in Cincinnati. In truth, very senior people within the IRS, including its top lawyer, were aware of the situation, and had been since at least 2011. The home office in Washington was very much involved in the process.
Lie No. 4: Lerner says that the situation came to her attention through allegations from tea-party groups carried in media reports. In fact, the matter has been under both internal and external investigation for some time.
Lie No. 5: Lerner says she put an end to the practice as soon as she found out about it. In fact, the IRS continued to do precisely the same thing, only monkeying a little bit with the language: Instead of targeting “tea party” groups explicitly, it targeted those groups with an interest in such esoterica as limited government, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc.
Lie No. 6: She says that the commissioner of the IRS didn’t know about the targeting project. While the targeting was going on, Ms. Lerner’s boss was being asked some very pointed questions by Congress on the subject of targeting tea-party groups. He enthusiastically denied that any such thing was going on, in direct contravention of the facts. Ms. Lerner says he didn’t know about the situation, because it was confined to those aforementioned plebs in Cincinnati. But given that this was not the case, her explaining away the commissioner’s untrue statements to Congress is a lie based on another lie — a compound lie, if you will.