Monday, June 23, 2014

The Untouchables

I hope that by now you've seen the video of Congressman Paul Ryan's attempt to dress down IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at the Ways and Means Committee meeting on Friday.  Ryan used his five minutes of allotted time to call out Koskinen for what have been obvious attempts to stonewall the investigation into whether the agency targeted conservative political groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

What I found most disturbing during the exchange--and during most of the entire hearing--was not the refusal to explain how it just so happens that the IRS employees who may have spearheaded the targeting effort ALL had their agency emails lost in a "server crash".  Or that the IRS made no effort to salvage the hard drive data before sending them off to be destroyed.  What got my blood boiling was the smug look on Koskinen's face every time he was questioned by a Republican on the matter.

That is the look of someone who believes himself to be untouchable.  John Koskinen was not sitting in that hearing room worrying about going to prison, or having his agency shut down.  The worst that could happen is he might be "asked to resign" by the President--in which case he rides out of Washington with a huge severance package and a government pension.  Wow, what a "punishment". 

I'd be willing to bet that while Paul Ryan was going on his rant, Koskinen's main thoughts were about how his agency could make the Congressman's life a living hell.  If I was Paul Ryan, I'd probably quadruple check my last seven federal income tax returns--and I'd hire the best tax prep firm in the country for the rest of my life because we all know what happens when you try to poke that bear.

Now, John Koskinen is not the only government official to sit in front of a Congressional committee and act like those lawmakers had no right to interrupt his or her "busy day" of shuffling papers and checking their emails (when the server hasn't "crashed" of course).  Officials from the FBI, the CIA, the Pentagon, the VA and countless other agencies have donned that same smug look when called on the carpet to answer for yet another failure of oversight, operation or internal control.  And everyone of them has walked back out to their corner office to continue serving in the giant, unaccountable bureaucracy that is Big Government.

1 comment:

  1. Have you noticed that very same smug look on Scott Walker's face when he signs legislation that benefits his party but not the people? He had that very same look when he dropped the bomb and said that we weren't paying attention that he had campaigned on Act 10. That look as you allude to above is the look of a liar and someone who thinks that they are above the fray and untouchable.