July 5 2013

Hey, Uncle Sam, You Need to Listen to Us!

Charlotte Hays

Do you ever feel like we’re being ignored?

We were told that the FBI is carrying out an investigation of the IRS scandal in which conservative groups were targeted and harassed. Yet FBI director Robert Mueller couldn’t provide the name of the investigator earlier this month in hearings on Capitol Hill.

Lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who represents nine tea party groups targeted by the IRS, is dubious:

“I have no reason to believe there is an investigation. It appears to me the Obama administration is only talking to itself,” Mitchell stated in an e-mail. …

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) Executive Director Jordan Sekulow, whose organization now represents 41 tea party groups in a case against the IRS, told CNSNews.com that they, too, are waiting to hear anything pertaining to the investigation.

“To date, none of our clients or any of our attorneys has been contacted by the FBI. The Director continues to assert that this is a priority for the Bureau, but at this point, there’s little evidence to suggest that this probe is on the fast track,” Mr. Sekulow wrote.

But the IRS investigation, if one is being conducted, isn’t the only example of requests for information being ignored. The Free Beacon reports today that the Treasury Department has so far refused to released results of an (alleged?) investigation into whether former Obama financial adviser illegally examined Koch Industry tax records. It is hard to underestimate the seriousness of this charge.

In response to a request for information from the Free Beacon, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) responded:

“With regard to your request for documents pertaining to a third party, TIGTA can neither admit nor deny the existence of responsive records,” said in its response. “Your request seeks access to the types of documents for which there is no public interest that outweighs the privacy interests established and protected by the FOIA (5 U.S.C. §§ 552(b)(7)(C) and (b)(6)).”

Why on earth would such information not be public? Certainly, if the charges are false, Mr. Goolsbee deserved to be formally exonerated, and, if otherwise, we all deserve to know.

For our system to work, our government has to answer legitimate questions from Congress and the public. But this administration simply hangs tough and ignores us.

Did the U.S. Attorney General perjure himself in speaking to a congressional hearing? Hard to know, as the AG only agreed to limited questioning on the matter—and in a forum that was unlikely to elicit information. What happened in Benghazi? Old news, we’re told. The United States has never had an administration so willing to refuse to answer questions in the hope that the public would give up and go away. It is an unprecedented problem. And it seems to be working: what can citizens do if an administration simply refuses to budge?

Since this is something not normal in the American system, we don't really have a mechanism with which to handle the problem. 

Hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress? Been there done that.

We simply have no remedy for our current situation.

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