Democracy Has Prevailed.

July 18, 2013

The Trib, The Washington Times, And The IRS Zombie Story

Don't these guys keep up with the news?

We'll start here at the Tribune-Review:
The Washington Times reports that the Treasury Department has admitted that confidential records of several political candidates and campaign donors were “improperly scrutinized by government officials, but the Justice Department had declined to prosecute any of the cases.” We've lost count on how many scandals are plaguing the Obama administration. But its fundamental lawlessness grows more stunning by the week. [Bolding in original.]
Ah...those Obama "scandals."  Is there a reason why we haven't heard much about them recently?

Turns out, there is but let's get back to the article Scaife's braintrust references.  Here's the third paragraph:
In a written response to a request by [Senator Chuck] Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, [the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell] George said a review turned up four cases since 2006 in which unidentified government officials took part in “unauthorized access or disclosure of tax records of political donors or candidates,” including one case he described as “willful.” In four additional cases, Mr. George said, allegations of improper access of IRS records were not substantiated by the evidence. [Emphasis added.]
And a paragraph or so later:
The investigation did not name the government officials who obtained the IRS records improperly, nor did it reveal the identities or political parties of the people whose tax records were compromised.
Wait.  Only four cases since 2006 with only one described as "willful" and with no indication as to who or when these cases took place?  So from the report we have no idea whether this is a Bush Administration thing or an Obama Administration thing, right?

And yet to the Scaife's braintrust, it's automatically an Obama scandal.  The Times fills in the myth:
The disclosures deal another blow to the IRS and the Obama administration, which are still grappling with revelations that IRS agents inappropriately targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extraordinarily burdensome scrutiny during President Obama’s first term.
And yet, that's not completely accurate, is it?  From a memo released by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:
On Thursday, the Committee will hold its second—and Congress’ seventh—hearing on accusations that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status for partisan political purposes. This investigation was initiated when the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report on May 14, 2013, finding that the IRS used “inappropriate” criteria to identify Tea Party organizations for review.

For the past eight weeks, Republican politicians, pundits, and commentators have engaged in a sustained and coordinated campaign to accuse the White House and the Obama Administration of using the IRS to target Tea Party groups applying for tax exempt status despite the absence of any evidence to support these accusations.
This memorandum provides the results of the Committee’s investigation to date. It finds that since the Chairman and other Republicans first began accusing the Administration of targeting “the president’s political enemies,” the Committee has identified no evidence whatsoever—documentary, testimonial, or otherwise—to substantiate these claims. Despite an extremely aggressive investigation involving thousands of documents and more than a dozen interviews of IRS employees, the overwhelming evidence before the Committee reveals no political motivation or White House involvement in this process.[Emphases added.]
The evidence that the memo does show goes something like this:
When asked if there was any evidence of targeting the President’s political enemies, a Republican Tax Law Specialist in Washington, D.C. answered: “No, not at all. That’s kind of laughable that people think that. No, not at all. This is purely cases that, unfortunately, Cincinnati didn’t have enough guidance on. That (c)(4) area is a very, very difficult area, and there’s not much guidance. And so the lingering length of time, unfortunately, was just trying to apply the law to the specific facts of each case.”
So tell me again how this is a scandal?

And what of the rest of those "scandals"?  Go read this.


Social Justice NPC Anti-Paladin™ said...

cases since 2006
One was Republican Christine O'Donnell
So Bush's fault.
It not that career Government Employee Democrats would abuse their authority under Bush.
Like the DOJ tried to railroad a Republican Senator with manufactured evidence.
accessing the personal information on state databases for someone who asked Obama a question.

EdHeath said...

But House Republicans did request the Treasury Inspector General produce a report on the IRS looking at (specifically) conservative groups requesting 501 (c)(4) status (and to ignore the IRS investigations of other groups requesting that status).