Malice and Incompetence

by Dave Schuler on August 30, 2014

You know, I generally believe that incompetence is a better explanation than malice, particularly when I’m talking about the government. That having been said the bill of particulars against the IRS really makes one wonder.

The only course of action you could take with a department of a private company that had been caught in so many lies, mistakes, actual crimes, and obfuscation would be to dissolve it and start over. The culture there precludes any manager turning it around,

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Guarneri August 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I fail to see what the issue is. Just a few rogue agents in Cincinnati. There’s not a smidge of corruption here, Obama told us so. Despite that, doggone it, he’s really mad. I mean really mad. Why, by January 2017 he’ll probably have a plan.

And that’s good enough for the vast majority of the press. So it’s good enough for me. It’s only the politicization of the IRS you know.

steve August 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Too bad vague accusations now pass for evidence.

Steve

Will Truman August 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Republicans can’t even produce these allegedly missing emails to show they are incriminating. Until they can, it’s only vague accusations and spurious allegations.

Jimbino August 30, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Correct would be:

“The culture there precludes any manager’s turning it around.”

jan August 30, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Just the targeting of political groups over others is enough to raise suspicions, similar to the days of Nixon. However, when there is so much foot dragging, conflicting stories and statements from the IRS brass, about what is and isn’t available in recapturing emails, calculations of wrong-doing and cover-up only increase — at least to those who aren’t part and parcel fans of protecting the elite currently in power.

... August 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm

The Republicans can’t produce the evidence that the Administration destroyed and that means everything is copacetic? Further evidence of a lack of corruption would be that the IRS has already admitted to wrong-doing and that the key person can’t testify to Congress about her work as a federal employee without incriminating herself.

With all that lack of evidence, how could anyone suspect anything?

Wow, you Dem partisans are so full of shit!

... August 30, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Seriously, I have yet to hear any of you admit to Obama being anything less that God-like in His Perfection at every single thing he does. Come on, tell me how awesome the tan suit was!

Dave Schuler August 31, 2014 at 12:43 am

I don’t think the suit was awesome but I think the complaints about it are pretty picayune. Not every suit has to be a blue or charcoal grey power suit.

Dave Schuler August 31, 2014 at 12:46 am

The IG has already identified multiple instances of lying to Congress in the matter and evidence of wrongdoing. Multiple IRS officials have already acknowledged systematic lawbreaking in the matter. Res ipsa loquitur. These are no longer in dispute.

I continue to doubt direct White House involvement. I think it was more a case of what Dan Rostenkowski once said: “Never take a bribe. Just give ‘em your business card.”

steve August 31, 2014 at 6:22 am

They can resolve it all by giving Lerner immunity. They won’t do that since they want to keep this going on for as long as possible. I strongly suspect that Lerner actually did engage in some cover up. I don’t know if she had any help. Neither does anyone else.

As to the details, they are on a fishing expedition. They want every email she has ever written. They are hoping to find non related stuff that will be embarrassing. As to the laws broken, we have already agreed that they should not have singled out the conservative groups. However, I also think we now know that those laws are nonsense. We have a bunch of accountants trying to figure out if a bunch of groups are 51% political or 51% social welfare. Some people seem to think that a few of these groups were really social welfare groups, but I am very dubious. They all came in a big wave in response to the formation of the Tea Party. I just can’t get that worked up over a poorly written, bad law being transgressed, especially when no harm was done.

Steve

Dave Schuler August 31, 2014 at 6:26 am

When I wrote about “systematic lawbreaking” I was referring to the violation of laws on data retention. I find that very concerning.

The basic point is that future juries may be instructed to draw their own conclusions about the contents of data destroyed in contravention of data retention laws.

PD Shaw August 31, 2014 at 8:44 am

Destruction of evidence is evidence.
Taking the Fifth Amendment is evidence of civil wrongdoing.
All e-mails are routinely subpoenad in civil rights cases.

On that last point, my county just settled a lawsuit for a wrongful death in the jail cell for about $5.2 million, half went to the plaintiff and half went to the legal and technical cost — every electronic recording relating to the jail was retrieved and examined.

TastyBits August 31, 2014 at 11:31 am

@steve

Immunity will not work. Lois Lerner will thinks she got away with it, and she is not going to rat on herself. The criminal mind does not work like the nice middle class mind. They have nothing on her, and she has no reason to believe that they ever will. Criminals use a different logic than non-criminals.

If she is not a criminal, immunity is pointless.

jan August 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Learner has consulted with Eric Holder regarding the moves/stances she should take with Congress. Consequently her rights have been maximized, while the scope of scrutiny that can be used against her has been minimized — even though she was a “pubic servant” of the people. When you have the President’s DOJ on your side it makes you kind of untouchable.

... August 31, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Dave, the tan suit was a nothing-burger. A squirrel nothing-burger at that. It wasnt as bad as portrayed, and the portrayals were stupid in their utter vapidity.But on the other hand, Barry O’s supporters have been having orgasms over his style for years now, everything from his not wearing a tie in the Oval Office and putting his feet on the desk to his overall GQ-ness.

So I’d like to hear how awesome the tan suit is, I really would.

CStanley September 1, 2014 at 6:37 am

@icepick: the worst thing about the suit is the likelihood, IMO, that it was chosen specifically as a diversionary tactic. On domestic political concerns, this White House always seems to have a strategy.

The best line about the suit I’ve seen was on a comment thread at Althouse: “The audacity of taupe.”

... September 1, 2014 at 10:03 am

The Photoshop of Obama as David Byrne from the Talking Heads was good too, if you haven’t seen it.

And I doubt they were thinking that far ahead. Labor Day was still a few days away, so light suits are still in! He just needed a straw hat, but he couldn’t have worn that inside anyway.

... September 1, 2014 at 10:09 am

I think the suit reaction wase a reflection of the intellectual vapidity and moal bankruptcy of the Washington press corps more than anything else. This wasn’t a throw-away press conference when nothing is happening in the middle of summer, this was a president addressing the two major foreign policy crises of his term in office. With our middle eastern and east European/Russia foreign policies collapsing, the press corps decided to Pee themselves over a lousy suit. Disgusting.

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