Cross-posted from Testosterone Pit. Contributed by Chriss Street: Specialist in corporate reorganizations and turnarounds, former Chairman of two NYSE listed companies. His latest book, The Third Way, describes how to achieve management excellence and financial reward by moving organizations from Conflict and Confrontation to Leadership and Cooperation. He lives in Newport Beach, CA.
Lambert here: Of course. Tim Geithner [slaps forehead].
Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller was forced by to resign, predominantly due to the July 7, 2011 memorandum that I published last weekend in my report, IRS HAD ENEMIES LIST IN 2010 & 2012. The document, written on U.S. Treasury Department stationary, demanded that senior IRS management terminate attempts to have donations to selected tax-exempt groups be fully taxed as gifts.
The IRS admitted the groups examined were conservative, such as Tea Parties. The Miller memo appeared to confirm that he knowingly lied to Congress while under oath at least twice last year about predatory audits of conservative organizations. But Mr. Miller has told the press he is only resigning when his “acting assignment ends in early June.”
I was suspicious Mr. Miller’s resignation was an effort to prevent him from being required to testify again under oath on Friday to three Congressional Committees. But if Mr. Miller is staying until June, he must testify on Friday. With the President throwing the IRS Commissioner “under the bus,” Mr. Miller may be ready to throw former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and President Obama under the bus.
Steven T. Miller is a career civil servant at the IRS. He holds a Juris Doctorate law degree from George Washington University and a Master of Laws in taxation from Georgetown University. He has held several senior positions at the IRS and worked for a number of years as an attorney in the IRS Chief Counsel’s office. He also served as a Congressional staff member for the Joint Committee on Taxation. Holding prestigious law degrees and having given harsh warnings to senior IRS staff in 2011 to ban predatory examinations, it is doubtful Mr. Miller would have authorized continued examinations unless ordered to by his direct boss, former IRA Commissioner Douglas H Shulman.
Douglas H. Shulman was nominated by Republican President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate as IRS Commissioner on Friday March 14, 2008 at the youthful age of 41. Mr. Shulman formerly served as the Vice Chairman of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), at an even more youthful age, where he made a name for himself working closely with New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy Geithner, pioneering over-the-counter trading of derivatives by banks. As IRS Commissioner, he reported directly to Timothy Geithner as U.S. Treasury Secretary.
Over the next four days after his confirmation, the legendary Bear Stearns Brokerage firm collapsed, heralding the beginning the worst recession since the Great Depression. The U.S. Federal Reserve was required to take responsibility for $29 billion in toxic sub-prime assets from Bear Stearns’ portfolio. As the FINRA whiz-kid he was the regulatory architect that championed banks and brokerage firms’ taking on sub-prime asset leverage. Douglas Shulman again showed incredible timing for avoiding horrific personal blame for scandal by resigning on November 9, 2012, a day after the reelection of President Barack Obama.
By the time Barack Obama came into office in January of 2009, real estate was collapsing, the stock market was down by 40% and unemployment was about to vault to over 10%. President Obama summed up his opinions of leveraged banks on CBS’s “60 Minutes” stated: “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.” Mr. Obama went on to say: “They’re still puzzled why it is that people are mad at the banks. Well, let’s see. You guys are drawing down $10, $20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it’s gone through in—in decades, and you guys caused the problem. And we’ve got 10% unemployment.”
It was always baffling to me that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman had managed to convince the President to not demand his resignation as punishment for his dubious leadership at FINRA that contributed to the financial crisis. As IRS Commissioner, Mr. Shulman must have received a copy of Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steven T. Miller’s memo of July 7, 2011 that screamed the audits and examinations had: “significant legal, administrative and policy implications with respect to which we have little enforcement history.” It is documented President Franklin Roosevelt used the IRS to investigate and intimidate his political enemies, so IRS Commissioner Shulman must have known that Mr. Miller was concerned the retaliation against conservative groups exceeded FDR’s using the IRS against political enemies.
The IRS continues to mislead the public, as Fox News reported that at least 471 tax-exempt organizations, not the 300 admitted to by the IRS, were examined with “extra scrutiny.” Then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner must have received a copy of the 2011 Miller memo, because it was written on Department of Treasury stationary and Shulman and Miller reported to him. Therefore, to find out if the IRS has been running a massive enemies list for the White House, Congress must demand that Timothy Geithner testify under oath.
Harry Truman said that he took personal responsibility for the actions of his Administration’s by saying: “Buck stops here.” Barack Obama said at his Benghazi press conference “there is no there, there.” The question the American people want to know about any illegal use of the IRS for political purposes, “Is there any here, here?” By Chriss Street.
During their second term, Presidents not only get tangled up in scandals but also become obsessed with “legacy.” This includes their performance as measured by the stock market. Many people can relate to it. Retirement depends on it. Outside of a few shorts, everyone wants it to go up. But President Obama must be biting his fingernails down to the quick. Read…. Every President His Bubble – And Its Aftermath.
Lambert here: This, to me, is the key paragraph:
Then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner must have received a copy of the 2011 Miller memo, because it was written on Department of Treasury stationary and Shulman and Miller reported to him. Therefore, to find out if the IRS has been running a massive enemies list for the White House, Congress must demand that Timothy Geithner testify under oath.
Grant “must have received” (though these people are one and all twisty as corkscrews, and I don’t see why Timmy’s dog couldn’t have eaten that memo). Therefore, if the Republicans do not demand that Geithner testify, wouldn’t that show this scandal is all kayfabe? In that regard, note this paragraph from
Pravda’s WaPo’s Editorial Board:
The origins of the IRS’s practice of targeting tea party-type groups applying for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status are still murky. In testimony on Friday, Steven T. Miller, the outgoing acting IRS commissioner, couldn’t identify whose idea this was — though so far there is no evidence that it came from Washington.
But surely the “origin” of the practice is less interesting than who signed off on it? And here WaPo’s coverage, like most other coverage, seems to think that the chain of command in the executive branch goes Miller -> Shulman -> White House, when in fact the chain, as Street points out, goes Miller -> Shulman -> -> White House. Why move Geithner out of the line of fire?
From accounts of Miller’s four hours of “mistakes were made” testimony Friday (yesterday), he denied White House involvement, but if Miller threw Geithner “under the bus,” it didn’t make the news. (The last hit for “Geithner” at the FedNews transcript service is Thursday 5/16.) The Reuters account summarizes who knew what when at Treasury:
Deputy Treasury Secretary , an Obama political appointee, learned nearly a year ago that a government watchdog was looking into inappropriate targeting by the IRS.
Wolin, the No. 2 official at Treasury, is due to testify next week before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. …
Treasury Secretary was told [by whom?] about the investigation when he took office in March, the department said, but neither he nor Wolin was told about its findings even as a preliminary version circulated elsewhere within the department.
Of course, being told about an investigation isn’t the same as being told about the Miller Memo. Odd, though, how Geithner’s name just keeps not coming up. “He wasn’t there again today / O how I wish he’d go away…”
Miller and Shulman testify before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday. Will the Democrats make the demand that the Republicans didn’t? Or will some Republican staffer clever up, read Street’s post, and induce their boss to take a bite at the Miller Memo apple?