Apologist from media wrong about IRS scandal
'Documents Show Liberals in I.R.S. Dragnet," read the New York Times headline. "Dem: 'Progressive' Groups Were Also Targeted by IRS," said U.S. News. The scandal has "evaporated into thin air," bayed the excitable Andrew Sullivan. A breathlessly exonerative narrative swept the news media this week: that liberal groups had been singled out and, by implication, abused by the IRS, just as conservative groups had been. Therefore, the scandal wasn't a scandal but a mere bungle—a nonpolitical series of unhelpful but innocent mistakes.Why are Democrats so eager to see this investigation go away? They obviously still fear the Tea Party and they know that as long as the investigation continues the Tea Party will become more active again. The media has the same agenda as the Democrats since they are usually in lock step on many issues.
The problem with this story is that liberals were not caught in the IRS dragnet. Progressive groups were not targeted.
The claim that they had been rested mostly on an unclear, undated, highly redacted and not at all dispositive few pages from a "historical" BOLO ("be on the lookout") list that apparently wasn't even in use between May 2010 and May 2012, when most of the IRS harassment of conservative groups occurred.
The case isn't closed, no matter how many people try to slam it shut.
On Wednesday Russell George, the Treasury inspector general whose original audit broke open the scandal, answered Rep. Sander Levin's charge that the audit had ignored the targeting of progressives. In a letter released Thursday, Mr. George couldn't have been clearer: The evidence showed conservative groups were singled out for abuse by the IRS, not liberal groups. While some liberal groups might have wound up on a BOLO list, the IRS did not target them. "We did not find evidence that the criteria you identified, labeled 'Progressives,' were used by the IRS to select potential political cases during the 2010 to 2012 timeframe we audited." One hundred percent of the groups with "Tea Party," "Patriot" or "9/12" in their names were given extra scrutiny. "While we have multiple sources of information corroborating the use of Tea Party and other related criteria . . . including employee interviews, e-mails, and other documents, we found no indication in any of these other materials that 'progressives' was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention."
According to a House Ways and Means Committee source, only seven of the 298 cases flagged by the IRS for extra scrutiny appeared to represent progressive causes. Not one of the seven was subject to harassment or abuse. Of the seven, only two were even sent follow-up questionnaires after their applications for tax exempt status were received. Neither of those two was asked inappropriate or invasive questions. And all seven saw their applications approved.
Conservative groups were treated differently, sent to a secondary review group after being flagged for scrutiny. They were subject to undue burdens and harassment—lengthy and invasive questions about donors and even prayer habits. There, in the secondary offices, some of them languished for years. "Some of them are still languishing," said the source.