As the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal continues heating up, more fingers are pointing to the White House. And some political watchdogs are using the “I” word: impeachment.
At the first congressional hearing into the IRS scandal, J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel of his investigation on June 4, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly thereafter,” according to the New York Times.
Meanwhile, CNN reports Steven Miller, who had no choice but to resign as acting IRS commissioner this week, offered testimony that put President Barack Obama's administration on the defense.
"I think that what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people who were trying to be more efficient in their workload selection," CNN reported Miller saying. Miller called the practices described in the inspector general's report as "intolerable" and a "mistake," but "not an act of partisanship."
Is there a cover-up in the making? Did Obama know about what evangelist Franklin Graham called the “un-American” moves in the IRS?
“The second article of impeachment for President Nixon was misuse and abuse of the IRS. We don’t have the information yet showing that this has gone to the White House, but I will tell you this: The answer President Obama gave at the Thursday press conference certainly didn’t give anybody any assurance,” Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, told Charisma News.
When asked if he could assure the American people that no one inside the White House knew about this IRS scandal until his White House counsel was notified in the middle of April, Obama said:
"I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the I.G. report before the I.G. report had been leaked ... through the press. Typically, the I.G. reports are not supposed to be widely distributed or shared. They tend to be, you know, a process that everybody's trying to protect the integrity of. But what I'm absolutely certain of is that the actions that were described in that I.G. report are unacceptable."
Sekulow charges that Obama did not answer the question—and that has raised very serious concerns. Beyond the House Ways and Means Committee, Sekulow expects to see other committees get involved, as well as a strong push for independent special counsel.
And at the end of the day, Sekulow says, the more we learn, the worse it gets for the White House. Now there is talk of impeachment.
“Impeachment requires a very high standard. You’d have to show direct knowledge by the White House. But whenever there’s been a problem, it’s been the cover-up. And that’s true in the Nixon matter and the Clinton matter—it was the cover-up,” Sekulow said.
“I think it’s too early to say impeachment, but I would say this has been an awful week for the White House, for the Justice Department, for the Internal Revenue Service and for the State Department, all of which are executive agencies, all of which report to the president," he said.