Whether it's Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, top officials at the State Department, the IRS or the Treasury, getting answers to the key questions surrounding the government scandals are proved difficult, thanks to the selective memories of so many in the Obama administration.
All we're getting from the congressional hearings are vague statements that smell more of a coverup than of pointing us to the truth. Congress and the public are becoming increasingly frustrated by the evasive tactics. Polls are showing that the administration is being hurt by Benghazi, the IRS and press intimidation scandals.
For the congressmen probing the scandals, trying to dig out the truth is an ordeal. U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan of Delaware County and U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have joined the ranks of lawmakers who appear frustrated.
At Wednesday's hearing, Meehan reflected the frustrations that many of us are feeling.
"In all the scandals we hear the same thing from time after time by the government officials that are involved - Benghazi, IRS, AP reporters, Fast and Furious - time after time we're hearing people: 'wasn't my job, I don't know, it was the other office, I recused, I didn't find out about it until you found out about it,'" Meehan told former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman. "People lives are on the line in these things overseas, peoples' constitutional rights are at stake here. Where does the accountability begin?" he asked.
Sen. Toomey can't understand how anyone can consider the IRS targeting of conservatives as anything but political. When Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, stated that the targeting was "intolerable," but not an act of partisanship, Toomey questioned how Miller could reach such a conclusion. The reluctance of IRS leaders to say who allowed tea party groups to be targeted raises more doubts about who is hiding what and why.
"We don't even know who made the decision. How do we know what motivated that decision?" Toomey asked. "It's frustrating to have no answers for a hearing like this."
Sen. Casey was angry that Miller and Shulman were so unemotional and showed no remorse.
"I wish there was more of a sense of, frankly, of outrage, or at least more contrition being demonstrated," Casey stated. He said he expected "at a minimum a sense of disappointment and contrition as opposed to 'We didn't know' and, I think, an attitude that only makes the problem worse."
When Shulman was asked to account for his 118 visits to the White House within a two-year period, he managed to come up with one explanation. He took his kids to the White House Easter Egg Roll! Shulman visits the White House 118 times in 104 weeks and that's his one big memory? No recollections concerning the administering of tax policy or the national budget, but an Easter egg roll?
And there was Lois Lerner, who was in charge of the unit that targeted conservative groups, who took the fifth at Wednesday's hearing but only after making an opening statement, something that jeopardized her fifth amendment rights according to legal experts. Lerner has been placed on administrative leave, but with full pay!
The more we see and hear from the House hearings, the more questions are raised about the credibility and accountability of this White House.
We heard a good line regarding the selective memories of so many in the administration, from the president on down: "We can't believe they can be so dumb to not know so much."
By Jim Zbick