By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Jeffrey Lord’s story in the American Spectator about a “smoking gun” in the IRS scandal has backfired. He implied that the head of the IRS union had personally met with President Obama to plot against the Tea Party when there is no evidence of such a meeting or such plotting. Instead, as the Daily Caller and U.S. News & World Report have reported, the union chief had been part of a “Workplace Flexibility Forum” in the Old Executive Office Building attended by 200 people and featuring Obama as a speaker.
Lord is a fine columnist, but Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel had previously pointed out that the smoking gun evidence of presidential wrongdoing has been right in front of us all along, in the form of various statements by the President and other administration officials attacking and demonizing the Tea Party, as well as demands from Democrats and their allies that conservative groups be scrutinized by the IRS. This was pressure from above that had its intended effect—to disable the Tea Party movement during the 2012 elections.
“The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies,” Strassel commented. “But that’s not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.”
In fact, the pressure came not only from the Democratic Party, but from various George Soros-funded groups and journalists, one of whom, Seth Rosenfeld, obtained personal financial information about filmmaker Joel Gilbert and his financial backers. The Gilbert case, which involves a massive invasion of privacy and harassment of donors to an anti-Obama film, is potentially even more serious in a legal sense than scrutiny of Tea Party groups by the IRS. In addition, the IRS reopened Gilbert’s 2009 tax return, and simply denied all of his business expenses, even though they were well-documented.
Amy Pyle of the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) asked that I correct my article on this aspect of the scandal, saying that, “While Seth has done some freelance work for us in the past, as for many other outlets, he is not an employee here nor is he on any contract with us.”
I had reported that Rosenfeld “works” for the CIR and in fact he is listed on its website as a “correspondent” for the group. That suggests an on-going relationship. I told Pyle there would be no correction. In fact, why doesn’t the CIR help us get to the bottom of this scandal?
The CIR is funded by the Open Society Institute of George Soros and other liberal foundations. Its “media partners” include the Arab government-funded Al Jazeera English—a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood—The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio and PBS.
With these collaborators, it would appear that an investigation of Rosenfeld and his methods would have to come from Congress, rather than the media. Such a probe might help get to the bottom of the IRS scandal, although he would undoubtedly refuse to identify his sources in the government.
The progressives understand that Obama did not need to personally order this probe and are trying to discredit any reports or suggestions to the contrary. In this manner they hope to save Obama from impeachment, as various scandals continue to grow and implicate the White House in lies and cover-ups.
Jeffrey Lord was justified in asking why National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) president Colleen Kelley was at the White House. His mistake was assuming that her listing in a White House visitors log suggested some kind of high-level, one-on-one meeting with the President. His other mistake was assuming he could ever discover what they discussed, if such a meeting took place.
He won’t retract his story, saying “it is crystal clear there is a relationship between the NTEU and the Obama White House,” adding that Kelley has described her view of this relationship as being about “collaboration.”
He added, “As an ex-White House aide myself it makes no sense that someone in her position has as much access as she does to the White House and the President…speaks glowingly of ‘partnership’ and ‘collaboration’…yet has zero communication on a subject on which the President, his staff, and his congressional allies (Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Franken etc etc) have been loudly emphatic—The Tea Party.”
But communications of that nature, because of the relationship he described, was not necessary. Obama’s allies got the message without a smoking-gun meeting or memo. I think Strassel was making this same critical point in her column that was appropriately titled, “The IRS Scandal Started at the Top.”
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.