Streckfus Respond’s to Caron’s “The Media Ignore IRS Scandal”

Paul Streckfus of the EO Tax Journal has written a response to Paul Caron’s USA Today oped which I linked to yesterday.  It is reprinted below with permission.

1 – Professor Calls for Immunity for Lois Lerner in Exchange for Her Testimony

Pepperdine Law Professor Paul Caron, editor of the influential TaxProfBlog, had an opinion article in USA TODAY on Monday titled “The Media Ignore IRS Scandal.”

He says “We need to get to the bottom of [the IRS scandal] by giving Lois Lerner full immunity in exchange for her testimony.” I agree, but why now? That should have been done months ago.

He says “The timeline of the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups reveals nothing less than a scandal.” Well, I guess it depends on how you define a scandal. The evidence to date shows mostly dysfunction and incompetence.

He says “the press has been far from curious” about the scandal. Maybe the press realized there was little evidence of a scandal here. “IRS Inept” isn’t really news.

He says a stupid joke by Obama in 2009 was actually “a ‘dog whistle’ intended to declare open season on the president’s political opponents.” A little paranoid, perhaps?

He intimates that everything that has happened since Citizens United demonstrates evidence of the brewing scandal.

He intimates that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, appointed by George W. Bush, resigned because of the scandal. Actually, his five-year term was running out.

He intimates that if Obama had been a Republican, we would be having “aggressive reporting by the media and thorough investigations by the FBI, Justice Department and a Senate Select Committee.” Instead, he says “Today’s news media are largely ignoring the IRS scandal, and it is impossible to have confidence in the current investigations by the FBI, Justice Department, and House committee.” He doesn’t say what House committee he is referring to, but the House is controlled by Republicans, and both the House Oversight Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have had numerous hearings and have been engaged in extensive investigation of the IRS. To date even congressional Tea Partiers such as Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) have come up with nothing to link the Obama Administration with the “scandal.”

I find it highly unlikely that if Lois Lerner ever testifies she will say anything we don’t already know. Sure, Obama shouldn’t have said there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” before the investigations were complete, and the Justice Department should not have appointed an Obama supporter to its investigation, but as far as proving a scandal directed by the White House, those making the charge are down to their last strike in the bottom of the ninth.

Professor Caron concludes his essay by saying Lois Lerner should be given “full immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony. And then let the chips fall where they may.” I say the chips have already fallen. From all we have learned over the past year, I am confident that Lois Lerner has nothing to add. It really was dysfunction and incompetence, two conditions very common in Washington, D.C.

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