Stop telling me that civil service people are “hard to fire.”That alone is a scandal…
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) May 15, 2013
The reason presidents are accountable for the actions of bureaucrats within the Executive is that these folks know what their CEO believes. And, unless their own political bent takes them in another direction, they act on it.
I imagine IRS apparatchiks read the paper, watch TV, and listen to their Executive’s speeches just like the rest of us. And it’s clear that what these folks did is entirely congruent with what all of us have heard their boss say nearly every day for four and a half years.
I like how Erick Ericksson put it today:
In 2012, the White House directly coordinated with outside groups to influence the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision. About the time these meetings with “dozens of leaders of nonprofit organizations” were happening in the White House, tea party groups were suddenly getting inquiries from the IRS, bogging them down and distracting them from the fight at hand.
President Obama did not have to tell the IRS specifically to harass conservative, evangelical, and Jewish groups who might oppose him. His rhetoric on the campaign trail and in the permanent campaign of the White House operations made clear what he wanted. IRS agents not only harassed conservative groups, evangelical groups, and Jewish groups, but also leaked their confidential tax information to left-leaning groups. The National Organization for Marriage and other groups had their donor lists leaked subjecting those donors to harassment. A Romney donor was harassed by the IRS. More than one person has emailed me to say that after they reported themselves to firstname.lastname@example.org they were audited by the IRS — in one case audited several times about just one tax year.
Obama went on the campaign trail in 2010 and told supporters to “punish our enemies.” The IRS did just that. The need for specificity or explicitness was unnecessary, just like in 1170.
In order to get the reference to 1170, just read Erick’s great post.