In his Super Bowl Sunday interview with Bill O’Reilly, President Obama declared that the IRS scandal was the product of “boneheaded decisions,” and there was “not even a smidgen of corruption.”
I suppose that’s just another way of saying “phony scandal.”
While the easy and immediate response is to ask the president whether senior IRS officials typically assert their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when there’s not even a “smidgen of corruption,” his statement actually has deeper problems.
First, it is not remotely appropriate for a sitting president to make such a declaration in the midst of an ongoing criminal investigation.
Given that the FBI hasn’t even interviewed the victims of IRS targeting, it’s safe to say the president hasn’t seen all the evidence.
How can we trust the results of an investigation when Barbara Bosserman, one of the lead attorneys, is not only a large donor to Obama’s campaigns, but the president himself has publicly issued to that attorney his opinion about the outcome?
Next, he ignores the context. The IRS scandal was orchestrated not by young, inexperienced government employees but by attorneys with decades of experience in the IRS and in the federal government. They knew that singling out applicants for additional scrutiny merely because of their presumed politics violates the Constitution.
Viewpoint neutrality is a basic legal requirement for federal bureaucrats, one they’re made aware of from day one of federal employment.
In other words, singling out conservatives wasn’t an accident or mistake; it was an intentional act by lawyers who knew it was wrong.