Not only did Barack Obama's IRS illegally target conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status with hellish harassment, it engaged in clandestine surveillance of them even after its illegalities were exposed, investigators say. If it takes an old-fashioned public pillorying followed by tarring and feathering to bring the IRS to justice, then so be it. [Bolding in original.]Let's start with the IRS targeting. We've already posted this from Salon, but it bears another read:
We already know that the IRS targeted progressive groups in addition to Tea Party ones, but new information released today adds further details, showing that the tax agency also targeted “ACORN successors” and left-leaning “Emerge” groups. Emerge Nevada, Emerge Maine and Emerge Massachusetts were the only groups to have their applications actually denied 501(c)4 tax-exempt status. Conservative groups had their applications delayed, in some cases for over a year, but not rejected outright.The above was from late August of this year. The link in the first sentence goes back two more months to June, 2013. So we've known for a while that it wasn't only conservative groups that were targeted but liberal ones as well. It's just that there were more conservative groups than liberal groups applying for tax-exempt status.
But let's take on some more recent reporting on this issue. Here's what the AP reported a few days ago:
A May report by the IRS inspector general said the agency gave extra scrutiny to 298 groups when they applied for tax exempt status from the spring of 2010 to the spring of 2012. The vast majority of the groups — 248 — were conservative, while 29 were liberal and 21 were neither, according to an analysis by the Republican staff of the House Ways and Means Committee.Take another look at that last paragraph. A little over 34% (38/111 = .342) of the conservative groups approved were flagged for further review while a whopping 35% (7/20=.35) of liberal groups approved were also flagged for further review.
Of the 111 conservative groups that had their applications approved, 38 were flagged for additional monitoring, according to the staff review. Of the 20 liberal groups that had their applications approved, seven were flagged for additional monitoring.
And yet this story is about how the IRS targeted the tea-party.
But did it? Further down the AP story we read this:
After the hearing, the IRS issued a statement saying that while some groups had been flagged for additional scrutiny in the future, that monitoring never took place because the program was put on hold this summer.Now of course the IRS could be lying. But still it's a long way from the assertion that they had "engaged in clandestine surveillance" now isn't it?
‘‘This means that none of them received special scrutiny,’’ the IRS said. ‘‘This precautionary step was done out of an abundance of caution and to ensure a fresh, independent evaluation to determine if these groups needed review at a future point in time. We are continuing to assess the situation going forward.’’ [Emphasis added.]
But what would that monitoring have looked like had it taken place?
Cue the next AP paragraph:
The monitoring, known as a review of operations, would have fallen short of a full audit in most cases. Under the program, agents monitor groups to assess whether they are adhering to the activities described in their applications for tax-exempt status.So Scaife's braintrust is saying that nothing like this should ever be taking place? As I've written before, it's not the scrutiny that's offensive, it's the way the scrutiny took place. Legal monitoring of this is absolutely necessary.
But let's move on to another "less than accurate" assertion from Scaife's braintrust. We can all read this from the AP:
So far, congressional investigators have shown that IRS supervisors in Washington knew that applications by tea party groups were being delayed for months and even years. However, investigators have not publicly produced evidence that anyone outside the IRS ordered the targeting or knew it was happening.That would include, of course, the White House. But that didn't stop the braintrust from calling it "Barrack Obama's IRS" did it?
And then finally:
The IRS has been under siege since May when agency officials acknowledged that agents working in a Cincinnati office had improperly targeted tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. Shortly after the revelation, President Barack Obama forced the acting IRS commissioner to resign and appointed Werfel to run the agency temporarily.The implication from the braintrust, of course, is that Barrack Obama's IRS has not yet been punished - because it's Barrack Obama's IRS. And yet, in reality...
In August, Obama nominated John Koskinen, a retired corporate and government turnaround specialist, to a five-year term as commissioner. Werfel continues to run the agency while Koskinen awaits Senate confirmation.
Three congressional committees and the Justice Department have launched investigations, and much of the leadership at the IRS has been replaced.
Did you get them all?