After reading the WSJ round-up of testimony about the planted question by the IRS, I have to wonder: if Lois Lerner and Steve Miller spent time that week carefully planting a question for the ABA conference as a vehicle to reveal the targeting of conservative groups, why didn't they do the exact same thing in preparation for Lerner's appearance before Congress two days before the ABA conference? Would it have been impossible to call a representative or staffer and say, "given that I'm testifying this week, here's the text of a question we've worked out and would like you to ask us"? If they planted the question with a private practice lawyer, why not with the Congress? After all, Congress had been persistently asking about that issue for a long time and the IRS had persistently been giving false answers.
UPDATE: It appears that powerful Democrats are calling for Lerner to be removed from her position and are incensed over this issue. Joe Crowley (D-Queens) said that he asked Lerner about the issue two days [before Lerner responded to the planted question], at a May 8 subcommittee hearing. Crowley said he was “outraged” that she answered, “at a press event,” the same question she failed to address before the committee two days before.
UPDATE (5/21): AP is reporting that the IRS informed the White House in late April that the IRS would be correcting the record about the targeting. Of course, that makes the "planted question" ruse even worse, because the IRS knew it had a duty of correction but rather than go to Congress or the press, it snuck in a planted question and pretended it was spontaneous. Key quote:
"A Treasury official also disclosed Monday that the department told the White House twice in late April about IRS plans to address the targeting publicly, including during congressional testimony and a possible speech by Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. White House deputy chief of staff Mark Childress and Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson were in communication on the matter, as were lawyers at the White House and Treasury."
I think that a WH lawyer would want to insulate the president from the news of the targeting if it expected that the IG report would be published and that it would be in appropriate to create an inference that the WH interefered with the report.
UPDATE (5/21): At this film clip, Sen. Hatch nails Miller for "lying by omission."