What was the IRS chief counsel doing in a meeting with the President of the United States? According to the Daily Caller and Dick Morris and verified by downloadable visitor logs, William Wilkins came to the White House on April 23, 2012 at 3:54 in the afternoon and departed shortly after 11 pm that evening. Assuming that Jay Carney doesn’t personally know three William Wilkins who would get seven hours of face time with Barack Obama, it appears that the man who at least knew of the targeting of Tea Party and other groups had an opportunity to brief the President — and take action afterward:
The Obama appointee implicated in congressional testimony in the IRS targeting scandal met with President Obama in the White House two days before offering his colleagues a new set of advice on how to scrutinize tea party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, who was named in House Oversight testimony by retiring IRS agent Carter Hull as one of his supervisors in the improper targeting of conservative groups, met with Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 23, 2012. Wilkins’ boss, then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, met with Obama on April 24, 2012, according to White House visitor logs.
On April 25, 2012, Wilkins sent Hull and fellow Washington-based IRS official Lois Lerner “additional comments on the draft guidance” for approving or denying tea party tax-exempt applications, according to the IRS’ inspector general’s report.
Obama had quite a full schedule on that afternoon and evening. Several names, including that of Wilkins, appear on the visitor log at roughly the same time with “POTUS” as the visitee. They include officials in HUD, a financial officer from the Air Force, the VA, and the USDA. Most of those left earlier than Wilkins did, according to their exit info (some of which is missing), suggesting a series of meetings rather than one single conference.
A couple of them stayed late, though. Denise O’Donnell, who works at the Department of Justice, appears to have left the White House only 22 minutes before Wilkins. The combination is interesting, although not necessarily meaningful. A better question might be why Wilkins was meeting with Obama at all. Any communication on IRS matters should route through the executive rather than the office of chief counsel, one would presume. A chief counsel’s job would have been to brief Douglas Schulman, at that time preparing to hit escape velocity, or the chief counsel for Treasury.
Unless, again, there’s another William Wilkins who can get up to seven hours of face time with the President. The IRS chief counsel seems to fit the bill most closely, though.
Two days after this meeting, and a day after Schulman dropped by the White House on one of his regular visits, the BOLOs got changed, but not dropped. Does that prove a connection? Not on its own, but it gives investigators very good reason to demand testimony from both Wilkins and Lois Lerner, who acted as the point person on this project, according to Carter Hull.
Cross-posted at Hot Air.