- Douglas Shulman made 157 visits to the Obama White House, while his boss, the treasury secretary, was there only 43 times
- Congressional staffer on ‘best-case scenario’: Shulman gave the White House ‘a heads-up about the possible illegality of what they were doing’
- White House visitor records may shed new light on how much the Obama administration knew about the IRS targeting conservative groups
- Shulman visited more than the combined total of the secretaries of energy, defense, education, homeland security, and health and human services
PUBLISHED: 15:33 EST, 30 May 2013 | UPDATED: 15:43 EST, 30 May 2013
According to public records of White House visitors, the IRS commissioner who left office shortly after President Obama’s re-election visited the White House far more often than any cabinet official.
Visitor logs show that Douglas Shulman visited the White House 157 times during his time in the Obama administration. Those visits included 118 separate appearances at the White House between January 2010 and December 2011, when the IRS was engaged in targeting tea party and other conservative groups for special scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.
Shulman’s predecessor, Mark Everson, made just one visit to the Bush White House during his four years as IRS commissioner between 2003 and 2007.
An analysis published by The Daily Caller shows that the White House has disclosed 62 visits by Attorney General Eric Holder since Obama took office. Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Shulman’s superior, made 48 such visits. Hillary Clinton was in the White House 43 times while she was Secretary of State.
Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testified on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2013 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The hearing was called to investigate the extra scrutiny the IRS gave to tea party and other conservative groups
Shulman also has more recorded visits to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue than the 48 logged by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a key figure in the passage and implementation of Obamacare. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been in the White House 31 times. Steven Chu made 22 visits while he was Secretary of Energy. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited just 17 times.
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Other than Shulman, the official with the most visits was Rebecca blank, then the acting Secretary of Commerce. After Blank on the list came Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who has been nominated to serve as Labor Secretary; and Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker, the president’s recent choice for Commerce.
Mark Everson (2nd from L), the IRS Commissioner during most of the George W. Bush administration, visited the White House just once. Shown at center is then-Deputy U.S. Attorney General James B. Comey, whom Obama is expected to tap this week to lead the FBI
President George W. Bush appointed Shulman to the post in March 2008 despite his history of donating to the Democratic National Committee. Insiders said at the time that picking him was a conciliatory move to Democrats in the U.S. Senate who said they would refuse to confirm a conservative.
Shulman left the IRS in November 2012, shortly after Obama’s re-election, and years after his agency began unethically targeting tea party groups and other right-wing organizations.
Shulman’s White House visits, almost one per week during a 40-month period, were the subject of questions during a May 22 House Oversight Committee hearing, when Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly asked him for ‘some of the reasons you might be at the White House?’
Hillary Clinton (L) visited the White House just 43 times while she was secretary of state, during the same months when Douglas Shulman racked up 157. Attorney General Eric Holder made just 62 such trips
WHO’S THE BOSS? Then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (R) was Shulman’s boss but made just 43 White House visits while his subordinate was there 157 times. Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (L) made even fewer treks to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Shulman suggested that participating in ‘the Easter Egg Roll with my kids’ was one explanation, before adding ‘questions about the administrability of tax policy they were thinking of; our budget; us helping the Department of Education streamline application processes for financial aid.’
But one Republican staffer on the Hill told MailOnline that Shulman’s visits ‘clearly were part of a strategy to give the White House a heads-up about the possible illegality of what they were doing to tea party groups.’
‘That’s a best-case scenario,’ added the staffer, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly about investigations into executive branch offices.
‘In the worst-case, Shulman could have been updating the White House on the progress of something the president’s people proposed in the first place. I mean, the tea party was huge in 2010, and the Obama machine could have been interested in slowing it down.’
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