This is nothing short of amazing. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House 157 times during his tenure, with 118 of those visits occurring during the same time period his agency was targeting conservative groups for their political beliefs. In his testimony before Congress, Shulman claimed his frequent visits could be explained, at least in part, by his affinity for Easter Egg Rolls. That’s a lot of Easter Egg Rolls.
Anyway, let’s put the number of Shulman’s visits in context. First, how do his 157 visits compare with, say, the number of White House visits by his predecessor, Mark Everson?
Mark Everson, who ran the IRS during most of the George W. Bush administration, from 2003 to 2007, apparently visited a single time, grousing that he felt like he had “moved to Siberia” because the tax collection agency was so out of the policy loop.
I guess Everson wasn’t as big a fan of Easter Egg Rolls as Schulman. Second, how does the number of White House visits by Shulman compare to the number of White House visits by Obama’s cabinet secretaries? The Daily Caller has prepared this helpful chart:
So Shulman, whose IRS was undermining conservative groups during Obama’s re-election, visited the White House more than three times as often as the cabinet secretary to whom he reported (that would be Tim Geithner, who visited 48 times), and never once discussed or even brought up his agency’s activities which, coincidentally I’m sure, were aiding Obama’s re-election. Color me skeptical.
One of the excuses being floated by Team O to justify the unprecedented number of White House visits by an IRS Commissioner is the role the agency will play in the enforcement of Obamacare. But the above chart throws cold water on that theory, too. Kathleen Sebelius, whose Department of Health and Human Services is actually running Obamacare, paid the White House the same number of visits as Turbo Tax Tim. As is typically the case with thee most open and transparent administration ever, the facts aren’t consistent with the spin.
Update: Another thought occurred to me. Why would Shulman be involved in the nitty gritty details of IRS enforcement of Obamacare? He’s the Commissioner. Why would he get that deep into the weeds? Wouldn’t he delegate that function to someone like Sarah Hall Ingram, who’s in charge of the Obamacare enforcement division at the IRS? It seems to me that a meeting between Ingram and one of Sebelius’ bureaucrats would make more sense. Further, why would meetings to hammer out this kind of minutia take place at the White House in the first place? Wouldn’t it make more sense they be held at either HHS or the IRS? Just asking.