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May 10, 2013

IRS Apologizes For Targeting Tea Party Groups During The Election

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews.

Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong and she apologized while speaking at a conference in Washington.

I think the most amazing part of this story isn't that conservative groups were singled out. It isn't that the IRS even apologized. It's that about 50 journalists on twitter all just said the equivalent of "Wow, I can't belive that. I'd never even heard about that."

Iowahawk was talking about Benghazi when he wrote this, but it's one of those universal truths:


There's a lot unanswered questions here, not that I expect any journalists to show more than passing interest.

(1) When did the IRS malfeasance occur and when did it become public?
(2) Has anyone been disciplined for the IRS malfeasance. What are their names? What was the discipline?
(3) How did it happen that "low-level staffers" could cause such trouble?
(4) Why did no "high-level staffers" put a stop to it?
(5) How can this be prevented in the future?
(6) Which groups, specifically, were targeted?
(7) How much did the inappropriate targeting cost the groups?
(8) Are these the same staffers that are going to be working on Obamacare implementation?

That's a start. Oh, and, not to go all conspiracy theory on your asses, but isn't it nice that this story dropped on a Friday? Sooner than you think it'll just be old news.

Update: Glenn Greenwald (yes, that Gleen Grenwald) had a nice catch on Twitter. Last year, the NYTimes editorial board praised the IRS for targeting Tea Party groups:

These groups, which already have 501(c)(4) status, should be as thoroughly investigated as any Tea Party chapter applying for that tax exempt status. So should two other blatant offenders: the conservative American Action Network, a “social welfare” claimant reported by the Center for Public Integrity to have spent more than 80 percent of its expenditures on the 2010 elections; and Americans Elect, a third-party effort enjoying “social welfare” secrecy as it secures ballot space across the nation.

At the moment, the IRS press office is telling folks who call that they have no information about the targeting or even the apology.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:30 PM

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