Opinion: Morning Examiner

Rough times ahead for Obama's political appointee at IRS

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Beltway Confidential,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Barack Obama,Tea Party,IRS,Darrell Issa,Conservatism,Jim Jordan

Remember President Obama's vow that lobbyists would not be welcome in his White House? That promise is proving to be no more credible than the one about keeping your health insurance plan.

More than 100 lobbyists have been appointed by Obama to top jobs in his administration, according to the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney, and one of them is about to hit the headlines, again.

Early in his first term, Obama appointed William Wilkins to oversee the general counsel's office at the IRS. He is one of only two Obama political appointees in the tax agency and for many months of his tenure has been the only one there.

Refreshing his memory

Wilkins claimed not to recall on 80 occasions during his testimony earlier this year before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on IRS harassment of Tea Party, conservative and evangelical non-profits.

Wilkins' foggy memory didn't impress committee chief Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., or Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who chairs one of the panel's subcommittees.

Issa and Jordan told Wilkins in a recent letter that his lack of recall "suggests either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate your involvement in this matter or gross incompetence on your part."

Let's try this again

Issa and Jordan have summoned Wilkins for a return engagement on a date to be determined. The two GOP inquisitors aren't likely to settle for "I don't recall" this time around.

Wilkins epitomizes the Washington insider. At the time of his appointment to the IRS, he was with WilmerHale, an influential law firm with a strong lobbying presence at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

"During his tenure at WilmerHale, he helped defend Obama's former church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and its then-pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright after the IRS began looking at then-presidential candidate Obama's speaking engagement at the church," according to Fox News.

Just another "coincidence" in the nation's capital.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: Detroit bankruptcy ruling clears way for public employee pension cuts.

Cal Thomas: Bankruptcy gives Detroit its comeuppance.

Gregory Kane: Maryland's O'Malley only poses as a crime-fighter.

Luke Rosiak: Obama invites whistleblower-squashing appointee under investigation to speak at the White House.

Susan Crabtree: Watchdog groups blast Obama secrecy on White House event participants.

Susan Ferrechio: Hearing highlights Obamacare's big cuts in Medicare Advantage.

In other news

USA Today: Mass hack affects nearly two million Internet accounts.

The Washington Post: NSA tracking cellphones worldwide, Snowden documents show.

The New York Times: Corporations prepare to pay carbon tax.

CNN: What is the world's most corrupt nation?

New York Post: Mysterious "China City of America" planned.

Los Angeles Times: Karzai accuses U.S. of causing civilian deaths in November drone strike.

Lefty Playbook

Talking Points Memo: The budget deal Patty Murray and Paul Ryan are nearing.

New Republic: When it comes to a free press, greed is good.

New York Observer: Why Hillary Clinton fans aren't counting Chris Christie out.

Bonus must-read

Center for American Progress: On American income inequality from an international perspective.

Righty Playbook

The Weekly Standard: The oil-spill windfall for the Right's governors.

National Review Online: Drafting doctors is the next logical step for Obamacare.

Washington Free Beacon: Top Clinton ally ducks questions about anti-Israel book.

Bonus must-read

American Conservative: Can Sen. Mike Lee get libertarians to put family first?

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