A conspiracy is a secret plan or agreement between two or more persons to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act. One might rightfully assume that since Americans elected an African American man as President, Republicans conspired to thwart not only Barack Obama’s presidency, but economic recovery and ultimately the government’s ability to operate normally. Now it appears there was, and is, an ongoing conspiracy between a Republican member of the House and a George W. Bush appointee who is still with the Treasury Department. All indications point to a conspiratorial plot to mislead Congress and the public to harm President Obama and the Internal Revenue Service that prompted two Democratic Representatives to file a formal complaint with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) to put an end to the conspiracy and punish the participants.
On Thursday, the two Democrats called for a formal investigation of J. Russell George, a federal auditor who accused the Internal Revenue Service of gross mismanagement in targeting teabagger advocacy groups based on their organization’s names and policy positions on their 501 (C)(4) social welfare applications. The formal complaint with the special watchdog council questions George’s independence because he met and conspired secretly with Darrell Issa last year to issue a scathing, inaccurate, and misleading report accusing the Internal Revenue Service of specifically targeting conservative groups when, in fact, progressive groups were targeted as well. One eventually had their application for 501 status declined.
The two Democrats filing the complaint, Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.), accused George of giving Darrell Issa precisely what he asked for; a “fundamentally flawed performance audit” that was “incomplete” and “outright misleading.” The complaint reported that George held secret briefings with Republican members of the House Oversight Panel last year without Democrats on the panel’s knowledge to conceal the conspiratorial malfeasance between Bush-appointee George and corrupt Oversight Panel chairman Darrell Issa. Issa used the misleading audit to assert that the White House directed the IRS to target conservative groups. Issa’s corrupt machinations inflamed the public and conservatives. Issa profited by raising $450,000 more in campaign donations than the previous quarter and the most in his eleven year stint in Congress.
The 22-page complaint to the CIGIE says Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are concerned over George’s “troubling activities including noncompliance with respect to conducting a performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards…that are intended to provide a framework for conducting high quality audits with competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence.” Connolly and Cartwright requested that CIGIE “initiate a thorough review of the conduct of the Inspector General J. Russell George based on the facts, evidence, and analysis contained in this letter.” The complaint continued that “George produced a fundamentally flawed performance audit that harmed the public interest to such a severe extent that trust and confidence in the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s (TIGTA) independence, ethics, competence, and quality control have been called into question and its effectiveness threatened.” The TITGA report claimed the IRS singled out conservative and teabagger groups despite clear evidence progressive and liberal groups’ applications for 501 (C)(4) social welfare status were also targeted.
For his part, IG George admitted there were other organizations’ 501 (C)(4) social welfare applications the IRS scrutinized, and he confessed they were not what the audit focused on lending credibility to the contention Issa issued instructions to focus on teabaggers in private. George said, “We noted there were other ‘be on the lookout’ lists that included other types of organizations, but that was not the initial charge of the review and not the focus.” Of course it was not the initial charge or the focus because Issa met privately with George and conspired to focus on tea party groups. George’s team obligingly followed Issa’s instructions and not only focused on teabaggers, but deliberately omitted the IRS’s scrutiny of progressive groups’ applications to mislead Congress, and the American people, into believing that only conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status were scrutinized.
George’s misleading and faulty audit led to public outrage, six federal probes, and a leadership change at the IRS. The deceptive report prompted the Treasury Department to draft a new guideline to distinguish what types of political activities disqualify groups from tax-exempt status. The rule change sets clear boundaries to assist IRS employees to better understand which applications are truly for social welfare groups, but Republicans reject the new rule and sent a letter to IRS commissioner Koskinen warning him to withdraw the rules or risk being portrayed as working for the White House to silence the President’s political opponents, abridge teabaggers’ free speech, and reveal their dark money donors’ identities.
What really prompted Democrats to file a formal complaint is a revelation that Issa met with George again in private in January to discuss an audit of the Affordable Care Act. Representatives Elijah Cummings and Gerald Connolly complained in a letter to the inspector general that his staff held an “in-person meeting with Republican Committee staff in their offices on January 27, 2014 and discussed substantive information about a new audit your office has initiated on data security issues relating to the Affordable Care Act. Your staff also discussed specific documents relating to this audit that your office has obtained as part of its review. We object strongly to your office’s repeated partisan meetings with Chairman Darrell Issa and his staff after intentionally excluding Democratic Committee Members and staff—particularly regarding matters that currently are under active investigation by both your office and this Committee. According to subsequent accounts from your office, Chairman Issa’s staff forbade you from including any Democratic Committee Members or staff in that meeting, and your staff accepted these terms without even informing my office. Democratic staff became aware of this meeting only after it occurred.” It was at least the second time in less than ten months that the inspector general met secretly with Issa and it is obvious that they were involved in a conspiracy because Issa prohibited the IG from including Democrats on the committee or sending them copies of documents.
It is beyond dispute that IG George is guilty of meeting secretly with Issa and Republicans to produce a deliberately flawed, misleading, and incomplete performance audit to bolster Issa’s lie that the White House instructed the IRS to target and reject teabagger groups’ applications for social welfare status. According to responsibilities outlined in the Inspector General Act of 1978, George violated the requirement that he “provide a means for keeping the head of the establishment and the Congress fully and currently informed about problems and deficiencies relating to the administration of such programs and operations and the necessity for and progress of corrective action.” George deliberately did not inform Democrats on the Oversight committee because he was involved in an Issa conspiracy to mislead Congress and the American people. The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency has little option but to thoroughly investigate J. Russell George, a Bush appointee, and recommend his immediate termination with extreme prejudice for conspiring to produce a misleading performance audit.
However, because George is a participant in a conspiracy, it means the leader of the conspiracy, Republican Darrell Issa, also warrants an investigation by a House Ethics Committee for arranging the secret meetings, directing George to focus on conservative groups, using the flawed report for political gain, and wasting taxpayer time with six federal probes and numerous hearings. There is still an active petition demanding the House convene an ethics panel to investigate Issa who enjoyed such a level of success from last year’s secret meetings and phony audit report that he felt comfortable repeating the dirty trick again just two weeks ago.
Darrell Issa has a history of criminal activity and he brought that corrupt mindset to the House Oversight Committee. Issa knew full well that meeting with George to discuss an active investigation without Democrats on the committee in attendance, and withholding substantive evidence from the full committee, is unethical at least and in many people’s minds is downright criminal. For George’s part, he willingly participated in the conspiracy as a political partisan that is contrary to his job description as an independent government watchdog, but he is a Bush appointee and his loyalties obviously lie with the Republicans and their five year conspiracy to thwart the Obama presidency, economic recovery, and United States’ government.
This incident may be the best hope to get the slimy criminal Darrell Issa out of Congress at best, and at least off the House Oversight Committee where he has spent three years wasting taxpayer time and money chasing phony scandals of his making. If there is any justice left in America, when J. Russell George is terminated with prejudice Darrell Issa will be facing an ethics committee for conspiring to harm the Internal Revenue Service, President Obama, and the United States’ government that has been in a state of gridlock while the crook Darrell Issa wastes the House of Representatives’ time chasing phony scandals of Issa’s making.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.