The wingnuttosphere is freaking about this bit of old news regurgitated today by the Daily Caller:
IRS's Shulman had more public White House visits than any Cabinet memberUm, yeah -- which is when the Huffington Post's Paul Blumenthal tweeted this perfectly rational explanation:
Publicly released records show that embattled former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House at least 157 times during the Obama administration, more recorded visits than even the most trusted members of the president's Cabinet.
Shulman's extensive access to the White House first came to light during his testimony last week before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee....
More questions about Shulman WH visits. The majority of those visits were to the OEOB to talk about health care implementation.— PaulBlumenthal (@PaulBlu) May 22, 2013
Well, duh. A big, complicated new government program needs to be implemented -- and so there are many discussions of that at the White House. Imagine!
Of course, that explanation would strike the right as even more sinister, because "Obama will use Obamacare to target conservatives for death!" is the new birtherism, except that it's not a marginalized belief on the right -- it's mainstream Republican thinking. So it won't satisfy the vultures.
UPDATE, FRIDAY: At The Atlantic, Garance Francke-Ruta elaborates:
[Shulman] was cleared 40 times to meet with Obama's director of the Office of Health Reform, and a further 80 times for the biweekly health reform deputies meetings and others set up by aides involved with the health-care law implementation efforts. That's 76 percent of his planned White House visits just there, before you even add in all the meetings with Office of Management and Budget personnel also involved in health reform.End of story.
Complicating the picture is the fact that just because a meeting was scheduled and Shulman was cleared to attend it does not mean that he actually went. Routine events like the biweekly health-care deputies meeting would have had a standing list of people cleared to attend, people whose White House appointments would have been logged and forwarded to the check-in gate. But there is no time of arrival information in the records to confirm that Shulman actually signed in and went to these standing meetings.
Indeed, of the 157 events Shulman was cleared to attend, White House records only provide time of arrival information -- confirming that he actually went to them -- for 11 events over the 2009-2012 period, and time of departure information for only six appointments.