IRS targeted conservatives as early as 2010: WSJ; Update: ABC corroborates

posted at 9:21 am on May 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

On Saturday, we discovered that the IRS targeting of conservative groups didn’t start in 2012 and wasn’t limited to a few rogue low-level agents.  Senior officials became aware of the practice at least as early as June 2011, including the top lawyer for the IRS.  Today, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters report that an upcoming IG report will show that the practice first began in the 2010 midterm cycle (via TPM):

But questions continued to swirl about the failure of IRS officials to disclose the problems until the inspector general’s report was about to become public.

The timeline contained in the draft report indicates that IRS scrutiny of tea-party and other conservative groups began as early as 2010 and came to the attention of Ms. Lerner, the head of the tax-exempt-organizations division, at least by the following year.

The report’s timeline indicates that the criteria were changed to be more neutral in July 2011 after Ms. Lerner “raised concerns.” The criteria for heightened scrutiny continued to evolve over the next year or so, even as complaints from tea-party groups—and questions from GOP lawmakers—mounted over IRS inquiries to various groups about their activities.

Lerner seems to have deliberately misled Congress, which was demanding answers after receiving a raft of complaints about aggressive IRS agents:

Letters from Ms. Lerner in April and May 2012 responding to questions by Republican lawmakers made no mention of the problems that had surfaced in the IRS unit.

According to the draft report, on April 24 and 25 of last year, officials in Ms. Lerner’s office were reviewing “troubling questions” that had been asked of organizations, including “the names of donors.”

One way the IRS attempted to throw people off the trail was by subtly changing their search criteria.  They started off by looking at Tea Party groups, but then expanded to any group unhappy with the administration’s performance:

When tax agents started singling out non-profit groups for extra scrutiny in 2010, they looked at first only for key words such as ‘Tea Party,’ but later they focused on criticisms by groups of “how the country is being run,” according to investigative findings reviewed by Reuters on Sunday.

Over two years, IRS field office agents repeatedly changed their criteria while sifting through thousands of applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status to select ones for possible closer examination, the findings showed.

At one point, the agents chose to screen applications from groups focused on making “America a better place to live.”

Who knew that motive was so sinister? Does the IRS want America to be a worse place to live?  If so, they’re well on their way with this scandal.

Reuters mentions Friday’s announcement ahead of the report:

After brewing for months, the IRS effort exploded into wider view on Friday when Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, apologized for what she called the “inappropriate” targeting of conservative groups for closer scrutiny, something the agency had long denied.

At a legal conference in Washington, while taking questions from the audience, Lerner said the agency was sorry.

She said the screening practice was confined to an IRS office in Cincinnati; that it was “absolutely not” influenced by the Obama administration; and that none of the targeted groups was denied tax-free status.

In retrospect, this looks like a strategy to spin the report ahead of its release. Rather than wait for the results to drop like a bombshell in the media, the IRS sent Lerner out for damage control, admitting to as little as possible while sounding as though the agency was taking responsibility for their errors.  That way, when the report did come out, the media could proclaim it “old news,” taking a page from Jay Carney’s Benghazi scandal strategy, and castigate anyone demanding more answers and drawing the obvious conclusion that the Obama administration has politicized the IRS.

Unfortunately, that strategy didn’t work very well.  Lerner turned out to be a very poor choice for that job, bungling the media handling badly enough that the media ended up more annoyed than mollified.  Mostly, though, this is news that’s just not spinnable.  The report now appears to implicate the highest levels of the IRS in either misleading or outright lying to Congress, and raises questions about how exactly this effort got put into place at all.  They basically threw gasoline on a fire that would have exploded anyway, making the conflagration even more eye-catching as a result.

Update: The New York Times’ headline focuses on the real scandal — “I.R.S. Focus on Conservatives Gives G.O.P. an Issue to Seize On”.  If you pay for the subscription, presumably you get the audio of the Gray Lady weeping over this blow.

Update: Jon Karl also reported this morning that it’s been going on for three years:

ABC News has obtained a draft of a soon-to-be-released investigative reporting showing that the Internal Revenue Service began targeting conservative groups as far back as 2010 and that senior IRS officials in Washington have known about it for almost two years. Last week, we learned that the IRS was targeting groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, but it goes beyond that, ABC’s JONATHAN KARL reports. The draft report, conducted by the IRS’s internal watchdog, says the agency was tracking groups who’s goals included, quote “limiting government” and “educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights” and that, “criticize how the country is being run.” Friday, the White House says it had it no idea the IRS was targeting Tea Party-allied groups.

That little game Lerner played isn’t fooling anyone. This is going to get very ugly very quickly. Here’s the question, though — can anyone put any reliance on this Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute this corruption? I think we’re heading into special prosecutor territory.


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People died because of Benghazi and Fast and Furious.

Unknowing and unwilling martyrs. The price for achieving the ultimate goal.

hawkeye54 on May 13, 2013 at 11:31 AM

It’s amazing what the trolls are willing to defend in order to give their boy king a pass.

Well, not really amazing.

CurtZHP on May 13, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Yep, spinning fast and furiously this morning.

slickwillie2001 on May 13, 2013 at 11:34 AM

For those that think, as Michelle Bachmann does, that this is a ‘distraction’…

I disagree. The IG is set to release his report this week…and it is going to be explosive, according to some of the MSM that have been read portions of it. The IRS admitted its wrongdoing and apologised on Friday to try to make this ‘old news’ and to be able to say ‘Look, it was just some low-level flunkies in Cincinnati and we’ve apologised already. It’s time to MOVEON.org…’

It’s ALWAYS time to ‘move on’ when Democrats get busted. That’s what Hillary said during the Lewinsky scandal and the meaning behind the name MoveOn.org.

Resist We Much on May 13, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Why don’t your read the entire thread before wetting your pants. Ms. Lerner joined the IRS in 2001, and as a career government employee matriculated under Bush, I said that she didn’t represent the type of Obama political appointee that some are suggesting was responsible for this policy.

bayam on May 13, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Which make her even more of a perfect person to be thrown under the bus! Obama gets a twofer.

LeftCoastRight on May 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM

cozmo on May 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM

I know, there are always the die hards but I’ll compare numbers with the Dems any day of the week. I remember thinking back when Watergate was going on that the press would be happy if Nixon would go as long as they got to keep Kissinger. I will never understand why Nixon did what he did, it made zero sense, I think Obama may end up regretting relighting the fire under the Tea Party.

Cindy Munford on May 13, 2013 at 11:36 AM

By the way, obtaining nonprofit status, as a non-qualified organization, won’t get in you legal trouble. But you know what will? Obtaining that status, not paying taxes, and then engaging in political activity that disqualifies you from being a nonprofit. When you’ve reached that point, you’re in violation of the law and subject to huge problems with the IRS. So the IRS should try and protect people from ending up in that situation. But obviously this policy was completely unacceptable and a stupid way of doing it.
 
bayam on May 13, 2013 at 11:21 AM

 
Because this was all just a flawed way to try and PROTECT conservative groups, morons.

rogerb on May 13, 2013 at 11:36 AM

They know who you are regardless of the moniker under which you post…and they know where you are when you are posting.

Resist We Much on May 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Nobody knows who I am.

Cindy Munford on May 13, 2013 at 11:37 AM

rogerb on May 13, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Flawed? Progressives role in life is to make sure they protect everyone from themselves. Sad little people.

Cindy Munford on May 13, 2013 at 11:38 AM

BTW:
 

…as a career government employee matriculated under Bush…
 
bayam on May 13, 2013 at 11:12 AM

 
DRINK!

rogerb on May 13, 2013 at 11:40 AM

But this policy was related solely to nonprofit applications, not tax enforcement or audits.

Uh huh.

Which is why Romney donors got audited, and Barack Obama supporters like Charlie Rangel, Claire McCaskill, and the White House staff could run massive back taxes liability without being in jail.

And how confidential donor lists of organizations got leaked to Obama supporters.

And how Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, as well as the rest of the Obama Party, were shrieking that they knew exactly what was on Mitt Romney’s tax returns.

Forget all of that, brayam? Oh, that’s right; we forgot Obama supporters like yourself don’t see anything wrong with politicizing the IRS and using it to punish your political opponents.

There’s a long back-log of 301(c) applications, typically about 12 months at a time (I’ve seen groups wait even longer). One reason for the long wait is widespread misunderstanding of the qualifications required to attain nonprofit status. But obviously the type of form letter is started sending out to politically-oriented groups is unacceptable.

bayam on May 13, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Wrong. It is perfectly acceptable to you and your fellow Obama puppets, and we have the editorials to prove it.

Such a worthless lying piece of sh*t you are, brayam. Moreover, why aren’t you holding Obama the Super-Genius at fault for this, when you insisted that every single decision made in the executive branch during Bush’s tenure was his fault?

Scream and lie some more, brayam. Show us what a pathetic little sniveling criminal pig you are. You and your fellow Obama halfwits just destroyed the credibility of the IRS, and you are going to have your tax-sucking asses sued off because of it.

northdallasthirty on May 13, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Why don’t your read the entire thread before wetting your pants. Ms. Lerner joined the IRS in 2001, and as a career government employee matriculated under Bush, I said that she didn’t represent the type of Obama political appointee that some are suggesting was responsible for this policy.

bayam on May 13, 2013 at 11:12 AM

No, moron, you suggested that the policy (that you NOW admit had to be an obama responsibility) was somehow the fault of Bush. I realize your only hope is to keep moving goalposts, and asking questions you refuse to investigate yourself, but the facts are the facts. This happened under obama. This didn’t happen under Bush. Please feel free to argue against these facts, which you yourself have now confirmed to be true.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t you just admit what everyone else already knows? Just say it. obama corrupted the IRS and used it to try to silence his political enemies, your fellow Americans, who he (and you) wants destroyed.

Moron.

runawayyyy on May 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM

The draft report, conducted by the IRS’s internal watchdog, says the agency was tracking groups who’s goals included

“Journalists” can’t even spell or use grammar correctly anymore.

Nutstuyu on May 13, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Six times the IRS has been accused of punishing President Obama’s political opponents

3. Austan Goolsbee, Then Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, Divulged on a Conference Call Confidential IRS Information on How Koch Industries Was Organized

In a background call with reporters, a “senior administration official” used Koch Industries as an example of how large corporations used corporate structures to avoid taxes.

In the course of attacking Koch Industries, which employs over 50,000 people and is owned by prominent conservative philanthropists Charles and David Koch, the official divulged confidential tax information about the company. The official was later outed as Austan Goolsbee, the former director of the president’s Economic Recovery Board and then chair of the Council Of Economic Advisers.

“Neither the Koch website nor Forbes’ list of private companies has information regarding Koch’s tax filling status. This is confidential information,” according to Koch Industries lawyer Mark Holden.

In 2010 an investigation led by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, Russell George, was opened after Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee requested it. The results of the investigation have not been publicly communicated, and will not be released unless Senate Democrats permit it.

Resist We Much on May 13, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Why don’t your read the entire thread before wetting your pants. Ms. Lerner joined the IRS in 2001, and as a career government employee matriculated under Bush, I said that she didn’t represent the type of Obama political appointee that some are suggesting was responsible for this policy.

bayam on May 13, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Don’t give me any of this ‘Blame Bush!’ shit. This targeting was known by senior IRS officials and likely high-level officials in the Treasury, like Geithner, and even in the White House at the latest LAST YEAR. NOTHING HAPPENED. NO ONE WAS FIRED. That is condoning such behaviour.

Resist We Much on May 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM

They know who you are regardless of the moniker under which you post…and they know where you are when you are posting.

Resist We Much on May 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Oh, I don’t doubt that. I’m sure they could trace me to all of my handles. I use a bunch of them, never spread any too thin, and several are nicknames that aren’t very original and therefore used in other places by different people. Doesn’t matter, they can trace IP and follow.

Doesn’t mean I’m going to go off and make it obvious for them. There are those who are pushed into tyranny, and there are those who bring it on themselves. Let them give enough of a crap to do the work.

Gingotts on May 13, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Isn’t it interesting that Republicans didn’t back Nixon shenanigans but liberals will rationalize the same crap in one of their own? Wrong is wrong until a Lib does it.

Cindy Munford on May 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Forgot who said it, so I can’t attribute it (apologies), but roughly…

This is why we need Republicans in charge – this kind of thing would actually be illegal and taken seriously, and consequences would happen.

People would be up in arms about it – all of us, Dems *and* Republicans – and rightly so.

Funny how that works; Reps in charge and in trouble, and Dems and Reps hold them accountable. Dems in charge and in trouble, and Dems largely don’t give a crap.

Midas on May 13, 2013 at 11:53 AM

By the way, obtaining nonprofit status, as a non-qualified organization, won’t get in you legal trouble. But you know what will? Obtaining that status, not paying taxes, and then engaging in political activity that disqualifies you from being a nonprofit. When you’ve reached that point, you’re in violation of the law and subject to huge problems with the IRS. So the IRS should try and protect people from ending up in that situation. But obviously this policy was completely unacceptable and a stupid way of doing it.

bayam on May 13, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Isn’t it weird that the IRS hasn’t sought to ‘protect’ Media Matters, one of whose stated priorities is to ‘Destroy Fox News,’ and groups with ‘Progress’ or “Progressive’ in their names?

You would think that they would want to reach out and help them before they violate the law, too.

Bray(am)ing at the Moon, epically fails, AGAIN.

Resist We Much on May 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM

It’s time for conservatives to radicalize.

This was not a third rate burglary to record a few worthless hours of tape in an ad hoc “DNC office” run out of a hotel suite. It’s much worse than that.

This is official corruption that pummelled the fearsome Tea Party, irreparably, after the biggest upset in the House since the 1940s, when the Tea Party almost single handedly seized the gavel from Nancy Pelosi and ended the progressive agenda.

Fearing 2010 redux in 2012, the White House abused the powers of the executive branch to deprive tea partiers of their constitutional rights to free speech, association, and freedom from search and seizure without due process.

In so doing, Obama’s administration compromised our democracy and rendered illegitimate the results of the 2012 election.

This is on top of the Administration’s coverup of a vicious Al Qaeda attack that killed an ambassador, staff and troops, and Obama’s decision to leave Americans to die, blaming incitement by an American citizen.

Don’t let them escape their own standards:

’He has, through his subordinated and agents, endeavored…to cause, in
violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits
or other income tax investigation to be initiated or conducted in a
discriminatory manner,’

— Section 1, Article 2, the impeachment articles of Richard Nixon.

(drafted by House Democrats with Hillary Clinton on staff).

Anil Petra on May 13, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Very curious statement issued by the White House…

The President believes that the American people expect and deserve to have the very best public servants with the highest levels of integrity working in government agencies on their behalf. Based on recent media reports, he is concerned that the conduct of a small number of Internal Revenue Service employees may have fallen short of that standard. We understand that the matter is currently under review by the Inspector General. If the Inspector General finds that there were any rules broken or that conduct of government officials did not meet the standards required of them, the President expects that swift and appropriate steps will be taken to address any misconduct.

Once again, he acts like he has no role in this. He should be firing people and not expect someone else to take ‘swift and appropriate steps to address misconduct.’ That’s what an executive does…especially one that is offended by unconstitutional, illegal, unethical, immoral, and UN-AMERICAN behaviour.

Resist We Much on May 13, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Very curious phrasing indeed. They could have removed exactly four words from that statement and made Obama seem like less of a spectator.

If the Inspector General finds that there were any rules broken or that conduct of government officials did not meet the standards required of them, [the President expects that] swift and appropriate steps will be taken to address any misconduct.

Read it without the bracketed words, and you get the kind of statement a normal executive might issue. So why did Obama say it the other way? It’s almost like he doesn’t think he can promise any such actions.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM

If this wasnt’ such a serious issue, I’d be mildly amused by the fact that they were screening for conservatives by looking for groups that were concerned with “how the country is being run,” and making “America a better place to live,” thereby implying that non-conservatives don’t care how the country is run or about making America a better place to live. Says a lot about them.

hopeful on May 13, 2013 at 12:28 PM

If the Inspector General finds that there were any rules broken or that conduct of government officials did not meet the standards required of them, [the President expects that] swift and appropriate steps will be taken to address any misconduct.

Read it without the bracketed words, and you get the kind of statement a normal executive might issue. So why did Obama say it the other way? It’s almost like he doesn’t think he can promise any such actions.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM

It’s simply framing it such that Obama is outside the scope of being on the receiving end of ‘swift and appropriate steps’.

He hopes so, any way.

Midas on May 13, 2013 at 12:31 PM

meanwhile….almost 100,000 federal workers are behind on their taxes, including 700 congressional employees. These workers owed more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes 2010, up from just under $600 million in 2004….

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Deafdog on May 13, 2013 at 12:33 PM

If the Inspector General finds that there were any rules broken or that conduct of government officials did not meet the standards required of them, [the President expects that] swift and appropriate steps will be taken to address any misconduct.

 
Read it without the bracketed words, and you get the kind of statement a normal executive might issue. So why did Obama say it the other way? It’s almost like he doesn’t think he can promise any such actions.
 
There Goes the Neighborhood on May 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM

 
That’s been his entire technique since I first heard of him. All of the credit, none of the blame.
 
I’m willing to be shown I’m wrong, though.
 
Can any of our resident (D)s show me where he has taken any actual responsibility for something? Not silly basketball brackets or skeet shooting nonsense, but failures related to his administration and the job we hired him to do.

rogerb on May 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Can any of our resident (D)s show me where he has taken any actual responsibility for something? Not silly basketball brackets or skeet shooting nonsense, but failures related to his administration and the job we hired him to do.

rogerb on May 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM

There is no answer to your question. You see, since nothing is his fault, there is no reason for him to take responsibility.

BobMbx on May 13, 2013 at 1:01 PM

copied from the IRS thread:

They know who you are regardless of the moniker under which you post…and they know where you are when you are posting.

Resist We Much on May 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Nobody knows who I am.

Cindy Munford on May 13, 2013 at 11:37 AM

cindy, Cindy!! You’re too kind Dear.

Of course, I don’t have that problem, Heh

hey all you Mo*her Ef*ing jackazzes!!

You can jam all this sh*t up your Rect*ms, and come find me!

My house is the one with the Giant Middle Finger greeting you
when you arrive.

ToddPA on May 13, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Goebbels wasn’t this smart and creative.

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Isn’t it weird that the IRS hasn’t sought to ‘protect’ Media Matters, one of whose stated priorities is to ‘Destroy Fox News,’ and groups with ‘Progress’ or “Progressive’ in their names?

You would think that they would want to reach out and help them before they violate the law, too.

Bray(am)ing at the Moon, epically fails, AGAIN.

Resist We Much on May 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM

bayam is the bigges fraud of HA.

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Some how some way it’s clearly got to be George W’s fault.

Oxymoron on May 13, 2013 at 1:08 PM

biggest fraud

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Goebbels wasn’t this smart and creative.

Goebbels, et al, would be jealous and proud of what our current crop of progressives have been able to achieve.

hawkeye54 on May 13, 2013 at 1:16 PM

If Zippy can hold out until August 8 of next year, it will be the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation.

bw222 on May 13, 2013 at 1:23 PM

So I wonder how many audits will be conducted this year compared to a normal year? More or less? Bets?

txmomof6 on May 13, 2013 at 1:32 PM

They got caught doing this back in 2010. And in 2011. And in 2012.

They’ve had all this time to come up with one single example where they targeted a leftist organization the same way. If any leftist organization had been so targeted, we’d hear them screaming it from the rooftops right this minute, and it would be the lead on every leftist news show there is (i.e. most of them).

And yet, not one example has come forward or been presented. Why do you think that is? Could it be that they refused to ask such questions of leftists? Naw, just conservative conspiracy nuts. Got it.

runawayyyy on May 13, 2013 at 1:57 PM

If the Inspector General finds that there were any rules broken or that conduct of government officials did not meet the standards required of them, [the President expects that] swift and appropriate steps will be taken to address any misconduct.

Read it without the bracketed words, and you get the kind of statement a normal executive might issue. So why did Obama say it the other way? It’s almost like he doesn’t think he can promise any such actions.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM

It’s simply framing it such that Obama is outside the scope of being on the receiving end of ‘swift and appropriate steps’.

He hopes so, any way.

Midas on May 13, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Who would possibly buy this as a disclaimer of responsibility?

Besides the media, of course.

Are we really sure that there isn’t a low-level staffer at the new York Times who was assigned to write Obama’s “statements” for him?

Seriously, though, I think the wording of the statement is all due to the fact that someone else is actually writing the statement for him, including deciding what “the President expects.” They just forgot that they were supposed to be pretending to be the president when they wrote it.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 13, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Oh, my, shades of Colson and Dean. I would dearly love someone to leak this Administration’s Enemies List. Of course, I’m pretty confident that many of the names on it would be of little surprise.

These little lib children sure get their panties in a wad when Dear Leader and the Famiglia is is caught out, don’t they?

The political lesson of Watergate Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Benghazi, Affordable Care Act, DREAM Act shenanigans, etc. is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election.

Thank you, again, President Ford. We should have listened better the first time. I think this generation can add that we not allow these arrogant, elitist bastages to dictate the course of our country, either.

Oh, libbies, keep this in mind: US Constitution Article 2, Section 4. Paybacks a b**ch, ain’t it?

There is only one thing to say to socialism and little libbie communist overreach when it slimes its way to the surface:

Not today.

creekspecter on May 13, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Are we entering a new phase of history?

Is the facade of lies and deceptions finally beginning to crack?

Is the the beginning of The Obama Disambiguation?

Not holding my breath, but I said it before. This guy is nothing but facade. What little remains beyond the lies is repulsive. If the facade cracks and what lies beneath is revealed, the entire con collapses. The consequences of public opinion turning on him could be powerful.

His policies aren’t that popular. He survives on personal approval and popularity. If he loses that, he is finished. He might remain in office, but he will be unable to do anything significant.

novaculus on May 13, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Every ponzi scheme collapses at some point. It’s just a matter of time…

Nutstuyu on May 13, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Ms. Lerner joined the IRS in 2001, and as a career government employee matriculated under Bush, I said that she didn’t represent the type of Obama political appointee that some are suggesting was responsible for this policy.

bayingatthemoon on May 13, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Bwahahaha! A career IRS employee is automatically a registered Republican, simply because she started to work for the IRS under a Republican President? I really would like to come visit your planet sometime. Must be spectacular seeing all of your UrAnus-shaped moons circling above.

Do you actually know that she is a Republican? Of course not. But that didn’t stop you jackasses from claiming last week that the Benghazi whistleblower Hicks was “a Republican Hack”, because he started working for the State Department when Pappy Bush was President. But it turned out that Hicks in fact voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary, and for Dear Leader later that year, and again in 2012.

U- (U for UrAnus)

Del Dolemonte on May 13, 2013 at 3:49 PM

If Zippy can hold out until August 8 of next year, it will be the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation.

bw222 on May 13, 2013 at 1:23 PM

AFAIK Tricky Dick formally announced his resignation on the night of August 8, but it didn’t take effect until noon the following day.

Del Dolemonte on May 13, 2013 at 3:51 PM

That way, when the report did come out, the media could proclaim it “old news,” taking a page from Jay Carney’s Benghazi scandal strategy, and castigate anyone demanding more answers and drawing the obvious conclusion that the Obama administration has politicized the IRS.

Before you can make that claim, you need to determine whether, at the very least, political appointees were involved. Ms. Lerner joined the IRS in 2001, so by your logic George Bush might be partly to blame for her behavior.
The federal government is filled with career employees with no allegiance to any political party or single administration. To correlate a cultural change in the IRS with a misguided policy instigated by some career employees is a very far stretch.

bayam on May 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

That makes no sense, from top to bottom.

Before you can make that claim, you need to determine whether, at the very least, political appointees were involved. Ms. Lerner joined the IRS in 2001, so by your logic George Bush might be partly to blame for her behavior.

The argument was that Lerner might have preemptively apologized to try to undermine the IG report. At that point, does it matter whether she was a political appointee behind the decision or a career employee given the job of implementing policy? Either way, it’s going to reflect badly on her for either making a policy or implementing a policy that was clearly wrong. Either one would be motivation to try to get ahead of the report.

And the connection with George W. Bush is ludicrous. Anyone in a position of power in any federal agency who is not a direct political appointee was probably hired under a previous administration. So it’s hardly relevant whether she was hired under Bush or not.

The federal government is filled with career employees with no allegiance to any political party or single administration. To correlate a cultural change in the IRS with a misguided policy instigated by some career employees is a very far stretch.

I think the whole point is that it’s unlikely some career employees just suddenly decided to “instigate” a brand new policy of harassing Obama’s critics.

At any rate, we know the policy existed, we now know it was more widespread than “a few employees in the Cincinnati office,” as originally reported, and we now know it went on for longer than “starting in 2012,” as originally reported. We should certainly that we will also found out there are more people behind it than originally reported.

All in all, a fairly desperate attempt at misdirection to try to undermine a story that hurts your side.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 13, 2013 at 4:34 PM

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