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Welcome to The Journal Editorial Report I'm Paul if you go well another week but not many answers from the IRS or.
The Obama administration about the targeting of conservative groups during the 2012.
Election campaign you just heard.
Former I -- commissioner Douglas -- tell congress.
He wasn't responsible doesn't know who it is.
Agency official -- -- now on administrative leave invoked her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
But not before declaring her own investments and the administration's story about who in the White House -- And when they knew it continued to evolved joining the panel this week Wall Street Journal columnist.
And deputy editor Dan and -- senior editorial page writer Colin -- And Washington columnist Kim strap muscles so Colin.
What are we learned this week the most important things we learned this week that -- knew about this about the scale.
Right well we certainly saw a lot of cute answers in those congressional hearings and I think that it does raises many questions as they answered.
But I think -- the big things that we had confirmed this week and we now know the commissioner dogs only knew about this for -- in the springtime of 2012 that was about the same time that he was telling congress.
That there had been.
Absolutely no targeting we also know that -- Lerner knew about this in June of 2011.
So I think that's pretty clear you know the other thing that happened importantly was we learned a little bit about the process that was going on in Cincinnati in the firestorm that was happening there.
Because the -- that their process works it's now clear that there had to be a little bit broader.
Coordination and has previously been an Allen.
It's college -- -- coordination in in the Cincinnati officer coordination with a Treasury Department in Washington.
Well we know for sure that it had to have gone up the chain within the Cincinnati office but there are also reports.
You know individual reports that some of this was getting bounced back to Washington.
You know for -- for secondary review.
Kim what about the White House.
Response to this where -- accurate than their basic -- Point is look we didn't want to interfere with an investigation so we took complete hands off nobody told the president president -- need to know.
-- does that pass the credibility test.
No you know this week was all about the White House -- shifting story who knew what and when but it was increasingly the press and congress asserting that they.
What really matters is not what you knew over the -- last two months it's what you knew.
And what you didn't do over the past two years and the reality is is you've got -- president and -- campaign team.
That themselves back in 2008 were off and as -- campaign were targeting conservatives the idea that.
There was is no knowledge or understanding about what could be happening.
In the -- -- given all of these reports that were bubbling up -- the fact that congress is looking into it.
Seems harder and harder to believe.
And it's also somewhat hard to understand the White House is very strange proposition that.
They could not get involved in this in any -- because the inspector general is looking at this certainly has not been the standard.
You know for other presidents and other issues in the -- I you know I I.
Sympathize with a White House here in the sense -- -- on the simple point that you don't you want to interfere with investigations like this but that doesn't mean you can't manage the department.
And that means you couldn't have done something back in 20112012.
Define what is a tax exempt organization to -- instructions to the iris to say don't do this.
And didn't bring it up that the chain of command so that you don't have a -- few people in Cincinnati.
Ultimately responsible for harassing.
What could be turn out to be hundreds of of votes of groups that's the president's and the treasury secretary's responsibility.
Well as we know Paul none of the things you described -- write that into -- and my point instead.
The idea that because this investigate it was actually an audit the -- -- general does not it doesn't have subpoena power none of these people under legal pressure they were hiring lawyers.
So they gradually find out it's going on during the campaign but by doing nothing they let it rip.
They let the audit the bureau hold on to these applications from these groups.
Ask them for all of this information basically put all these political activist groups who simply want to -- -- to speak -- put them on the shelf some of them quit so that was the that was a practical political -- of saying we don't want to get involved well that doesn't mean nothing was happening I mean the conservative groups were on the shelf how do we contain.
And get back yet if I could just elaborate -- which I think one thing that's really important for people to understand here's.
It wasn't just the groups that had their applications on the shelf that were affected by this.
By the fact that no one spoke up about this -- -- hundreds of other conservative groups that we're hearing from their lawyers that this was happening.
Conservative groups were getting targeted this was all over the news so that have the effect of chilling the conduct of groups who.
Whose applications weren't even affected.
You have to Kim.
There are some calls now including in congress and the media for a special prosecutor to have an -- to it -- to look into this.
You agree with that -- you think this could be handled the way it's currently being handled by area.
By the just department on the criminal side but more important on congress on the public side.
Yeah it's a terrible idea to bring in a special prosecutor because what haven't at this point is this whole thing gets moved off to the side.
Where it's gonna -- in a way for two years or however many years as a special prosecutor looks into it.
The merit of the congressional investigation which by they would stop but there is a special prosecutor.
Is that this can continue to honor roll as they get more information the other thing that's important about those calls -- number of -- -- devise some of these groups either get filed this week.
Or threaten to be filed and the importance of that.
Is that they are themselves starting a legal proceeding in which there will be depositions where there will be documents they have to be turned over.
And that's an investigation that can proceed as well so there's plenty of opportunity to get to the bottom of this between the department of justice and congress and the legal system.
Yeah I agree with you -- -- in my as much about public education accountability as it is about to prosecutions may be the former is more important way.
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