Did Lois Lerner's admission last week that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups come from a planted question?
During testimony today, outgoing IRS head Steven Miller seemingly admitted that the inquiry, posed by tax attorney Celia Roady, was, indeed, plotted. When asked, "Was Ms. Roady's question to Ms. Lerner about targeting conservative group's planned in advance?," the embattled former IRS leader answered affirmatively.
"I believe that, uh, we talked about that, yes," Miller said.
National Review has more about the supposed plant:
Ousted IRS commissioner Steven Miller told the House Ways and Means Committee today that the revelation of the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups came from a planted question, and that Lois Lerner, the IRS official who managed the exempt organizations division, may have planted it.
Lerner disclosed the information last Friday while speaking at a tax conference organized by the American Bar Association. Asked about the incident, she said only that she answered honestly a question that was posed to her. The question, however, was posed to Lerner by Celia Roady, a Washington, D.C. tax lawyer who sits on the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities.
Miller indicated today that Roady was in fact instructed by the IRS to ask the question, and the Lerner knew about the question in advance.
Watch the exchange during which this question was asked, below:
Later, Miller was asked additional questions about the question. Texas Rep. Kenny Merchant, a Republican, inquired who told Roady to ask the inquiry about IRS targeting.
"I don't know, actually, I’m not sure, might have been Lois Lerner, but I really am not sure," the former agency head answered.
Miller continued, saying that he didn't have conversations with Roady about the question beforehand. As a result, he didn't have additional information to give to the committee surrounding the matter, National Review notes.
If it was, indeed, Lerner who asked Roady to deliver the question, some curiosities arise. Just how much did the IRS leader know about the targeting, if anything at all?
Earlier today, TheBlaze's Mike Opelka also asked: Was Lois Lerner, the director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division lying when she denied knowing about the IRS policy of targeting 9/12 groups, local Tea Parties and other small government supporters?
TheBlaze published letters that seem to call into question whether Lerner knew about the targeting before reading about it in media outlets (although there are some factors, as Opelka notes, that make it difficult to discern whether she's hedging). He explains:
In a media conference call from last Friday afternoon, Lerner said she was made aware of the scrutiny by media reports about it. Granted, she does not specifically state the exact date when she learned about the scandal. However, TheBlaze first started covering the scandal in early February of 2012. A second story that featured the specific group that received two letters from the administrator was published on TheBlaze before the end of February.
National Review's Kevin Williamson provides a list of some lies that Lerner purportedly told. It's worth checking them out, especially with new questions arising about who might have planted the question.