Columnist Charles Krauthammer thrashed Steven Miller on “Special Report” Friday, saying the previous acting commissioner of the IRS’ testimony on the conservative targeting scandal fell under the category of, ‘How stupid do you think we are?’
“Here’s a guy who says that the IRS openly discriminated against groups on the basis of their politics, but the action was not a political action,” he said. “It was instead an attempt at efficiency. You’ve got to be a knave or a fool to say that, and you have to be an idiot to believe it. It’s simply a contradiction in terms. It’s a matter of definition. It isn’t even a matter of facts.”
Miller told Congress he did not believe it was illegal for the agency to create targeted lists of individual citizens and groups who would be singled out for special scrutiny, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Yet, Miller and Inspector General J. Russell George thought the real culprit was incompetence by IRS officials. Instead, Miller said agents had engaged in “terrible customer service” and used “obnoxious” criteria:
While he acknowledged that the IRS actions were inappropriate, he objected to the characterization that conservative groups were targeted:
“When you talk about targeting, it’s a pejorative term,” Miller said. “What happened here was … that [an IRS employee] saw some Tea Party cases coming through, they were acknowledging that they were going to be engaged in politics … [and so IRS officials] in Cincinnati decided ‘let’s start grouping these cases.’”
“The way they centralized them [was] troubling. The concept of centralizing [was] not. We’re not targeting these people,” Miller added.
Krauthammer also commented on Miller’s revelation that he had planted a questioner at the American Bar Association last Friday to ask Lois Lerner, the director of the IRS Exempt Organization Division, about the singling out of conservative organizations.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) said it was a “scheme” and “a manipulation” to reveal the targeting in such a manner, and Krauthammer also found it indicative of a shadowy agency.
“I’m not even sure I understand the logic of doing that,” Krauthammer said. “Why not just issue a press release, say it, but to do it in this sort of ridiculously devious way shows you an institution that is sort of given intrinsically to being untruthful and deceptive.”