Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) visited The Kelly File last night for several friendly minutes of showboating over the Republican-driven IRS witch-hunt investigation. Jordan’s hammy outrage was due to the IRS saying it will take time to redact confidential taxpayer information before handing over documents to his committee. According to Jordan, the IRS should work “round the clock” on this issue of “paramount importance as anything in the country.” Host Megyn Kelly did not challenge the ridiculous assertion.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Wednesday told a congressional committee that he will hand over all of the emails of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official under investigation for the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.
…Koskinen warned lawmakers the effort will take enormous amounts of time. That is because the agency is restricted by law from divulging taxpayers’ confidential details.
To ensure no accidental disclosure, Koskinen said the IRS is must go through Lerner’s emails one-by-one to redact any such information before sending them to the committee.
But, apparently, concerns about taxpayer confidentiality take a distant backseat to Jordan’s political agenda. He told Kelly last night, “When this story broke a year ago, you know the IRS was combing through every piece of correspondence. …It’s not like they haven’t looked at this stuff.”
Of course, looking at it and redacting confidential information are two different things. I don’t know about you but I would not want my personal, financial information in the hands of an obvious partisan like Jordan or, even worse, a guy with the criminally shady record of Chairman Darrell Issa.
But to Jordan, getting the investigation done quickly, presumably in time to exploit it for the 2014 midterm elections, is more important than just about anything.
In a rare moment of balance, Kelly paraphrased the IRS commissioner, saying the agency has already devoted “250 employees and millions of doctors (sic) to six separate investigations. We’ve produced hundreds of thousands of pages of documents so far and we at the IRS have to get down to managing – you know, the business of the IRS and we can’t devote all of our time to redacting these emails and sending them to you.”
Megyn, there are 2400 employees in the Chief Counsel’s office, the lawyer’s office at the IRS. Put some of this lawyers on this full-time. After all, think about this! Even the Democrats, some Democrats admitted this. This is about First Amendment rights to political speech. Free speech rights. This is as basic and fundamental – as important – of paramount importance as anything in the country! So put some lawyers on this, work round the clock, and get us the information!
In fact, even Chairman Issa has admitted the investigation may well “dead end” at Lerner. That Kelly quickly changed the subject after this statement by Jordan suggests she knew it was ludicrous to argue the IRS should make this a priority instead of, say, collecting taxes during tax season.
As for the First Amendment rights part, it’s easy to see why Kelly wouldn’t want to go anywhere near that - despite her stated desire to “keep everybody honest” on her show. Otherwise, she might have to reveal, as reporter Alex Seitz-Wald did:
(W)e know that in fact the IRS targeted lots of different kinds of groups, not just conservative ones; that the only organizations whose tax-exempt statuses were actually denied were progressive ones; that many of the targeted conservative groups legitimately crossed the line; that the IG’s report was limited to only Tea Party groups at congressional Republicans’ request; and that the White House was in no way involved in the targeting and didn’t even know about it until shortly before the public did.
In short, the entire scandal narrative was a fiction.
Instead, Kelly nodded and murmured agreement as Jordan spoke. She even deliberately gave him a little extra cred at the end. She said, “When the IRS wants documents from the average citizen, …you can’t turn around and say, ‘It’s gonna take me several years, I’m very busy.’”
As if the one has anything to do with the other.
Then, she’s quoted as saying, "When the IRS wants documents from the average citizen, …you can’t turn around and say, ‘It’s gonna take me several years, I’m very busy.’”
One would think that Kelly would know the difference in the two situations. I wonder if the FoxNoise e-mail servers display or mask the users’ passwords? And do you think that the FoxNoise hosts redact personal information (such as e-mail addresses or even physical home addresses) when they read “viewer mail” on the air?