"Sumthin' stinks here." That was the opening to a message I received from WND reporter Jon Dougherty last week.
A whole bunch of water has gone over the dam since I wrote about this in my Jan. 21 column, "Congressional complicity."
Jon and I have been working in tandem with the Bob Schulz-Congressman Bartlett controversy surrounding the cancellation of the previously scheduled tax forum that had been allegedly slated to take place in the House Cannon building in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 27-28.
I received an early morning phone call one day from Bob Schulz about the Congressman Roscoe Bartlett flap over the scheduled and cancelled tax-honesty movement hearings that were to take place in D.C. on Feb. 27-28.
The plot thickens. Schulz told me about a phone call he received from Jeff Donald in the House Science Committee. Donald had just received a copy of the "wait to file until the trial" flyer and was surprised and concerned. Donald is the guy who does all the scheduling for hearing rooms for the House Science Committee and he was clueless about the previously slated Feb. 27-28 meeting.
"I got a fax last Friday announcing the [tax forum] and I knew the room was already booked for other events," Donald -- who said he'd been scheduling the room "for years" -- told WorldNetDaily. In fact, he said, "the address listed [for the forum] was '2320 Rayburn,' which is actually our staff offices."
Donald said he then called a contact number on the fax and told a person who answered, "We're completely booked for those dates."
"There were staff meetings and an oceans group scheduled last September," but "nothing for Congressman Bartlett," Donald told WND. "Nothing in February, either."
According to Schulz no one from Bartlett's office had ever scheduled the room for any hearings on tax questions.
Schulz is of the opinion that members of Bartlett's staff are not communicating important information and data to the congressman. I was/am of the opinion Bartlett has been pressured to lock out Schulz.
Dougherty has been writing about the story for WND, and I have been talking about it on my syndicated radio talk program. Actually, I started exploring and interviewing various principles of the tax-honesty movement as far back as 1992. I gave Jon the numbers for Donald and other players and let him do the heavy lifting, and we stayed in daily communication throughout the week.
Lisa Wright (in Bartlett's office) had already lied about a number of items and Schulz thinks she is cherry picking what information she chooses to share with Bartlett and that Bartlett is a victim of staff malfeasance. Bob really believes that, as evidenced by his Jan. 31 letter. I just don't buy it ... yet.
WND did verify with Jeff Donald, the room scheduler, that no, he'd never been asked to block off time for the House Science meeting room, and did not know anything about any tax forum. He said the first he heard about it was from a fax he saw last Friday announcing the forum, to be held in a room he knew to be full that day with other meetings/conferences/hearings, etc.
In July of last year, the Department Of Justice, Internal Revenue Service and Bartlett's office signed an agreement to participate in the originally slated September hearings. In October DOJ again confirmed/guaranteed the participation of DOJ and IRS. Allegedly, they communicated to Bartlett's office their intention to renege on the deal around Thanksgiving -- Warren Rojas, who is a reporter for Tax Notes, in January first reported that. However, Bartlett's office refuses to allow Rojas to see the letter sent from DOJ? Why?
Later in the week Dougherty received an unsolicited call back from Donald that was "strange."
Dougherty told me he "talked to Donald again ... sumthin' stinks here ... He said he 'remembers' someone from Bartlett's office 'calling me last Nov. or Dec.' asking to hold the room 'for those two days' for the hearing, but they hadn't sent through any paperwork."
Note: Congressman Bartlett made a very definitive statement Oct. 17 publicly reaffirming his support for the Capitol Hill hearing challenging the legal authority of the IRS (you can view the video at GiveMeLiberty.org).
Jeff Donald told us he was in Ireland for a couple weeks: "took a few moments to try to remember the dates." Oh yeah? It actually took a few days after he initiated the query call to Schulz. We asked him if he wasn't under any pressure, and he said "No ... I just get a lot of these phone calls and requests, y'know?" Yeah ... we know.
I like Bob Schulz, but I really think he is in denial on this mess. If Lisa Wright is working independently or in concert with the DOJ and IRS to specifically exclude Bartlett from significant communications, she should be fired. That's what Schulz wants to believe. That Congressman Bartlett is a well-intentioned good guy being ill-served by staff. I think Bob is in denial big time.
My take is that someone, somewhere ... in the DOJ, IRS, or Bush administration has counseled/instructed Bartlett to back off, and that Bartlett is complying with the requests of his masters and/or has negotiated something more important to him than the tax questions or Schulz needing to be heard.
I have been following the tax honesty controversy for over a decade. I have always felt that the government should have some kind of hearing to specifically address the questions that have become persistent.
In an effort to get beyond the "he said-she said" soap opera that is developing, I hereby invite Congressman Roscoe Bartlett to join me on the air to tell his side of this complex and twisted story. I would hope we could schedule it before the February 27/28 forum Schulz is conducting.
program is syndicated on the radio in various markets and is available
online with live streaming. Additionally, I will write up the interview
and it will appear in a Sunday edition of WND as one of our weekly Q&A's.