Monday, June 10, 2013

Five IRS Scandal Myths | National Review Online

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1. It was a few rogue agents in Cincinnati

This claim has crumbled in recent weeks.


But the notion that the targeting was directed by low-level employees Cincinnati has been refuted on multiple fronts. A number of conservative groups that asked about the status of their applications, for example, were told that the Cincinnati office was awaiting guidance from officials in Washington, D.C.

Employees in the Cincinnati office made clear to members of the House Oversight Committee that they received direction from the Exempt Organizations Technical Unit in Washington.

2. The targeting stopped in 2012

Jay Carney told reporters last month that the IRS targeting "stopped in May of 2012." Apparently not. After more than three years, some conservative groups are still awaiting a decision on their applications for non-profit status. Dozens of conservative groups report receiving letters from the IRS in the fall of 2012 — and later. Linchpins of Liberty, a student-mentoring organization in Tennessee, which has been the target of numerous invasive requests from the IRS (it was asked to identify the names of its student participants, for example), received another letter on May 6, 2013, days before news of the scandal broke.

3. Liberal groups were also targeted

One way in which the administration's defenders have sought to downplay the severity of the scandal is claiming that the IRS also singled out liberal political groups for extra scrutiny. That doesn't appear to be the case. As McClatchy reported last week, "virtually no organizations perceived to be liberal or nonpartisan have come forward to say they were unfairly targeted" since the scandal came to light on May 10.

In fact, groups with words like "Progress" or "Progressive" in their names were quickly approved, while tea-party groups saw their applications delayed repeatedly.

4. Absolutely no political motivations

Democrats also insist that, in the words of former White House adviser David Plouffe, the IRS targeting of conservatives "was not a political pursuit." Although the inspectors general's audit found no evidence of political motivation "at this time," there are numerous factors suggesting a systemic liberal bias within the tax-collecting agency.

Douglas Shulman, who was IRS commissioner when most of the targeting occurred, is a Democratic donor, and he  is married to liberal activist with ties to the Occupy Wall Street movement. IRS employees donated twice as much money to President Obama as they did to Mitt Romney in 2012, and nearly 30 times as much to Obama over his 2008 challenger John McCain.

5. The case is 'solved'

Elijah Cummings, ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, seems to think so. "Based upon everything I've seen, the case is solved," he said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "If it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on."

Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), certainly disagrees. And so does the Treasury's inspector general, who has emphasized that the findings of his audit are merely preliminary, and that many details are "still to be determined."

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