IRS Scandal Expands

You may have wondered, as I did, why the IRS suddenly announced yesterday that it was guilty of harassing conservative groups, especially Tea Party groups. The answer now appears clear: the agency was trying to get out front of a story that was about to break.

Politico reports that next week, the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration is expected to release a report on a nearly yearlong investigation into the political abuse of the IRS. According to Politico, the inspector general’s report will contradict the IRS’s anticipatory spin in several respects:

A federal watchdog’s upcoming report says senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups in 2011.

The disclosure contradicts public statements by former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who repeatedly assured Congress that conservative groups were not targeted. …

That report says the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups learned that groups were being targeted in June 2011. It does not say whether Shulman was notified.

So the harassment of conservative groups began much earlier than the IRS told us yesterday, when the agency’s spokesman said the improper conduct occurred “during the 2012 election.” As I wrote yesterday, I was skeptical about that since I had heard of the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS well before the 2012 campaign season.

It now appears that this is one more scandal that the Obama administration managed to keep quiet until after November’s election. One wonders how many more skeletons will come tumbling out of the closet, now that Obama is safely re-elected.

STEVE adds: The line of defense I heard last night on NBC Evening News (the chief network apologist for Obamaworld, which is why I watch it) downplayed this outrage by saying it was committed by career IRS employees, and not political appointees.  But this should be regarded as much worse than if political appointees did it, as it shows once again that “career employees” and the permanent bureaucracy have chosen sides.  And it’s not the side of the American people.

As Glenn Reynolds likes to say: Tar, feathers.

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