Last month many were questioning why Internal Revenue Service chief Douglas Shulman had visited the White House so often. Now, despite claims that there was no coordination between the White House and the IRS, a new report indicates that Shulman’s top aide visited the President’s residence perhaps as often as 300 times.
In May after news broke that the IRS had intimidated conservative and Tea Party groups trying to obtain an official tax status, reporters began to look into the activities of IRS chief Douglas Shulman. It wasn’t long before news emerged that Shulman appears on the White House visitor logs nearly 200 times.
This high number of visits occurred despite that the fact that both Shulman and President Obama claimed to have no knowledge of the IRS intimidation tactics. Both also said there was no coordination between the IRS and the White House.
Officials at the IRS and President Obama still maintain that there was no coordination between the White House and the IRS, of course, but this latest revelation makes that still harder to believe.
The Washington Examiner has found that Shulman’s chief of staff, Jonathan M. Davis, was as frequent a visitor to the White House as his boss, perhaps more.
“Davis,” the Examiner says “appears to have visited the White House and adjacent Eisenhower office building as many as 310 times between the fall of 2009 and February 2013.”
The report says that, “Davis’ background is in technology and had no expertise on tax issues, according to some IRS sources who said Davis served mostly as a political aide who served with Shulman to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, where Shulman was vice chairman, and then followed him to the IRS.”
Jason Stverak, head of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, told the Examiner that the visits cast further suspicion on the chain of events surrounding the IRS intimidation scandal.
“Why does this person have to go there 300 times when they probably don’t have the staff expertise to be discussing tax issues?” Stverak asked.
By contrast, the head of the IRS under George W. Biush, Mark Everson, reports that he only visited the White House once during his tenure there.