Internal Revenue Service Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner(C) is seated before testifying to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee May 22, 2013 in Washington, DC. Others testifying L-R are: J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Douglas Shulman, Former Commissioner, Former Commissioner,Internal Revenue Service and Neal S. Wolin, Deputy Secretary, Department of the Treasury. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
According to the White House’s most recent records, former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the Executive Mansion at least 157 times during the Obama administration. Shulman was IRS commissioner from March 24, 2008 to November 9, 2012.
What a ton of visits! One hundred fifty-seven equals a baker’s-dozen dozen…plus one. Assuming that Shulman stayed just one hour at the White House each time he stopped by, he spent more than six-and-a-half 24-hour days there — or 19 eight-hour shifts. That’s just one shift short of four, five-day work weeks.
As the Daily Caller reported, and my inspection of the White House Visitors Records database confirmed, Shulman’s White House trips far exceeded those by current and former Obama Cabinet members between September 16, 2009 and February 28, 2013, the interval that this database currently covers. Specifically:
- Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited 17 times.
- Former Energy Secretary Steven Chu: 22
- Education Secretary Arne Duncan: 31
- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: 34
- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: 43
- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: 45
- Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner: 48
- Attorney General Eric Holder: 62
- Former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman: 157
Shulman visited the White House more than thrice as often as did his boss, Geithner. Shulman said his White House pilgrimages were necessary to discuss the IRS’ future as the muscle behind ObamaCare. Nonetheless, he entered the White House on 112 more occasions than did Sebelius, “the secretary [who] shall” make decisions on ObamaCare — as the original 2,801-page ObamaCare law mandates 883 times.
Indeed, Shulman ventured to the White House more often than did Gates, Clinton, Sebelius, and Geithner combined. This fact shatters White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s assertion that the IRS is “an independent agency.”
Shulman’s role as a virtual fixture at the White House could make Mark Everson jealous. While he was Shulman’s predecessor during the G.W. Bush years, Everson says he visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue exactly once. Everson also observed that his sense of isolation from the White House while IRS chief between 2003 and 2007 made him feel as if he had “moved to Siberia.”
It likely is too much for Obama’s critics to expect that Shulman spent every minute of his White House sojourns plotting with top presidential aides precisely how to torture Tea Party leaders and conservative activists. Conversely, it’s impossible to believe Shulman’s claim that this topic never arose during any of his conversations at the White House.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R – Ohio) voiced such doubts during a House Government Oversight and Reform Committee hearing last May 22. After explaining that “42 major news stories” had foreshadowed the IRS’s anti-conservative discrimination scandal between January 2011 and April 2013, Jordan incredulously asked the former taxman: “Are you sure you didn’t talk to anyone at the White House about this issue, Mr. Shulman?”
“Absolutely sure I did not talk to anyone at the White House,” Shulman replied.
“Not to my memory, and it wouldn’t be appropriate,” Shulman insisted. “And so I certainly believe I did not have any conversations.”
Shulman walked himself way, way, way out on a limb with that declaration. He already proved himself unreliable, when he told the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight on March 22, 2012 that “there is absolutely no targeting” by the IRS against conservatives. Shulman’s towering denial eventually was steamrolled by revelations that — no later than June 29, 2011 — tax-exempt-division director Lois “Fifth Amendment” Lerner knew that the IRS politically profiled and ideologically discriminated against groups that featured “Tea Party” or “patriots” in their names or wanted to “make America a better place to live.”
Douglas Shulman’s March 2012 statement already has been flattened by the truth. Thus, ongoing, robust congressional investigations — and relentless journalism — must prove whether America’s former tax collector were honest, forgetful, or perjurious when he testified under oath on May 22 that he visited the White House 157 times without even mentioning that conservatives were in the IRS’ crosshairs.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.