"I learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this," said the president. "I think it was on Friday."
In no uncertain terms and with no hedging, The New York Times reports that the Obama administration was aware of the fact that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups as far back as June of 2012. The Treasury Department's Inspector General confirmed that he told senior Treasury officials in June of 2012, a full five months before Election Day:
The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.
We still don’t know for sure what the President knew or when he knew it, but this does confirm that the administration was aware of the fact that Obama's political enemies were under fire by the IRS and covered that fact up during an election year.
As Lisa Meyers of NBC News told "Morning Joe" today, "Imagine if we -- if you can -- what would have happened if this fact came out in September 2012, in the middle of a presidential election? The terrain would have looked very different."One conservative website run by the Franklin Center, Watchdog.org, may have found a smoking gun.
President Barack Obama’s executive staff reviewed Watchdog’s news website in record numbers at precisely the moment when Internal Revenue Service visits to the same site spiked, Watchdog.org’s analytics show.
A similar report reveals that the Executive Office of the President and IRS were the source of a similar December traffic spike on the website of Watchdog.org, the online news network of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. (Updated: an earlier version of this incorrectly reported that traffic spiked in January.)
The White House has said that IRS reviews of conservative nonprofits were procedurally “inappropriate on the part of fairly low-level agents.”
This new data suggests at least a coincidence of interests in Watchdog.
According to Google analytics, the IRS generated 456 unique visitors, between January 2009 and May 2013. The report notes 552 visits and 709 page views from the IRS. Most of the traffic occurred between the second half of 2012 and this week.
One day in December, watchdog.org received more than 100 visits from the tax agency.
The analytics show 60 unique visitors and 84 page views to Watchdog.org from eop.gov, the Executive Office of the President, between December 2009 and May 2013.So there's a lot that Obama needs to answer about: what he knew about Benghazi and if he gave the stand down order, plus, what did he know about efforts by the IRS to harass and audit conservatives.
And don't try to pretend you just don't know, because we know you're lying!