The Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal has so far brought one "curious whopper" of a revelation, said a former aide to John H. Sununu, who served as Chief of Staff in the George H.W. Bush White House.
That is — according to Ed Rogers — how White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough learned of an impending report on the agency’s targeting of conservative groups but did not tell President Barack Obama about it.
McDonough found out about the report, from the Treasury Department's inspector general, in April from White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler.
Obama, officials say, found out about the IRS targeting when it became public on May 10.
"I sat in a White House chief of staff's office every day for more than two years," Rogers said on Wednesday in a blog in The Washington Post. "The only reason the legal counsel would tell the chief of staff about an impending report or disclosure would be so the chief of staff could tell the president."
Rogers is the chairman of the BGR Group, a lobbying group he founded with former Mississippi GOP Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991. He also worked on Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign and served in the office of political affairs under Reagan.
"The legal counsel would assume the chief of staff would know how and when to bring up the matter," Rogers said. "The chief of staff would be expected to know if there were additional factors surrounding the issue that needed to be considered before the president was told, or whether or not others needed to be included in the conversation when the information was shared with the president.
"There are many valid reasons why the chief of staff would tell the president, but I can’t think of a reason why he and the legal counsel would both agree that this news nugget would go no further. It’s very odd.
"The legal counsel would never assume that information shared with the chief of staff would not go to the president," Rogers said. "In my experience, a legal counsel never would believe that there was information that was appropriate for the chief of staff to know but that was inappropriate for the president to know.
"Out of all the news that has emerged regarding the Obama IRS scandal, this is the most curious whopper I’ve heard so far,” he said. “I can’t wait to hear the real story."
A special prosecutor in the case is inevitable.
"Does the administration appoint the special prosecutor sooner or later?" Rogers asked. "If the president is innocent, he will end up needing and wanting a special prosecutor sooner rather than later.
"If he and his White House already have too much to hide, then they must clam up, cry partisanship and hope their allies on the Hill and in the media have the stamina for the long, hard slog ahead."
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