One year later, Republicans put IRS probe on the backburner

There are a variety of reasons for the emphasis on Benghazi, including the chance to further examine further Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s record before a potential 2016 race.

But the shift also underscores that the investigation into the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups — which Lois Lerner acknowledged and apologized for on May 10, 2013 — hasn’t been quite the open-and-shut case Republicans once thought it was.

Following Lerner’s apology, Republicans accused the White House of targeting its political enemies. But a year later, senior Republicans in the party say that might be overstating the case, even though Obama administration deserves ample criticism.

“My instinct is that it is much more a bureaucracy run amok than it was some sort of directed plot from the White House,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said about the IRS’s singling out of Tea Party groups.