As the IRS scandal unfolds, there have been a couple of developments that don’t look good for the Administration. Well, outside of the fact of the scandal itself, when it came to light that the Cincinnati office of the IRS was targeting conservative groups for added (and illegal) scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. So far, acting IRS chief Steven T. Miller has been forced out, but he was on his way out anyway, and is obviously a fall-guy.
It seems that Sarah Hall Ingram, who served as the commissioner of the IRS tax-exempt office from 2009 – 2012, is now the commissioner of the IRS Affordable Care Act office. Yes, the person who oversaw the branch of the IRS that was harassing law-abiding organizations is now in charge of enforcing the individual mandate provision of the ACA. And that’s not all. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, the years in which the harassment was taking place, Ms. Ingram received bonuses in excess of $25,000. Bonuses that required Presidential approval.
To be clear, there is no evidence to date that Ms. Ingram was aware of the extra-legal activities of her department. But that doesn’t excuse her. Like every other head of department, she was, and is, responsible for the actions of her subordinates. On the surface, it certainly looks like Ms. Ingram was rewarded for the harassment of the President’s political adversaries. If she was honorable, she’d resign. At the very least, she should be required to return the bonus money.
The other development involves Louis Lerner, the current head of the IRS tax-exempt office. She has been called to testify before Congress, except she won’t. She’ll appear before that august body, but she plans to invoke her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination to refuse to answer questions. Ms. Lerner is the IRS official who put out the ‘watch list’ to field offices so the they could be on the lookout for groups using inflammatory names like ‘patriot’ and ‘tea party’. When caught, she change the criteria to groups “critical of how the country was being run”. Oh Hell yes. That’s much better.
Ms. Lerner can’t even use the ‘privacy’ argument as a justification for her refusal to answer questions. She is a public official working at a public agency paid for with public dollars. There is nothing private about her work or position.
So to recap, we have one public official refusing to answer to the people via their elected representatives, and we have another whose circumstances suggest she was rewarded for using government to intimidate political opponents. Situations like this are exactly why the Founders wrote the Second Amendment.
The Highest Place on Earth
No, it’s not Washington or Colorado. Nor is it in Tibet. The Earth’s highest point is apparently in China, as this website notes:
We’re also considering getting some altitude-sickness medicine. Xiahe sits at about 2,900 meters (95,000 feet). Considering I didn’t feel great during our trip to Qinghai where we made our base in Xining at 2,275m (7,465 feet),
Wow. I’d think you’d need more than a few pills to survive at 95,000 feet. On the other hand, the view is spectacular.
A name for a fitness business occurred to me the other day, and if someone’s not using it, they’re missing a bet:
“Pilates of the Caribbean”