WaPo implies the IRS Tea Party debacle was due to insubordination and thus not that big a deal. Excuse me? Why did a group of IRS officials deliberately and knowingly disobey orders from the director? That’s the question. Instead we get spin from the Washington Post, the Beltway attempts to protect its own.
In the summer of 2010, in response to a huge surge in 501(c)(4) applications and media stories that some of these groups were illegally acting like political organizations, a group of IRS officials developed inappropriate criteria for identifying overly politicized 501(c)(4)s applicants. Those criteria included looking for the words “tea party” or related terms. In July 2011, the director of the IRS told them to knock it off and use more politically neutral criteria that focused on the activities of the group rather than the name or ideology of the group.
Here’s where things get interesting: In January 2012, that same group of IRS officials goes rogue and changes the test back without getting management approval.
Why did the officials do this? And why did other officials lie about it to Congress? WaPo is decediely uncurious. Sounds like a limited modified hang-out to me.
The LA Times is considerably more damning and suspicious.
A new report by the Internal Revenue Service’s inspector general offered a few new details Tuesday about the scandal revolving around the IRS’ treatment of “tea party” groups seeking tax-exempt status. Those details were in part damning and in part exculpatory. Collectively, though, they shred the argument from the agency’s defenders that the IRS was right to crack down on those groups. Nor does it address why top IRS officials were telling Congress repeatedly in 2012 that there was no targeting of conservative groups.
Bear in mind that the report doesn’t address important aspects of the scandal. Most notably, it says nothing about any communications IRS officials may have had with the White House or President Obama’s political appointees about the reviews.