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The sooner the country understands that the IRS scandal is more like "The Office" than "House of Cards", the sooner truth can prevail and sanity return.

Who could blame overworked and under-budgeted administrators struggling with no clear guidance for taking notice of all the insanity that was the 2010 election season?  The country had become a hateful armed camp with raucous voices demanding a rerun of some more legitimate past.  Suddenly, every Talk Radio tin-foil artiste in the country realized that they needed tax-exempt money; not for political purposes, mind you, just to make Goddamn sure this country didn't elect any more progressives, moderates, or queers.

With little guidance to go on, IRS workers began the process of sifting the hugh increase in applications to get the review process done.  I don't know about you, but I'd have had a hard time believing that all those Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News-driven 'patriots' suddenly had a valid need for tax-favored anonymous funds that would have 'no impact' on partisan elections.  I'd of been a miscreant of a public servant had I ignored such signs.  It was bad enough I was being paid at all.

So the paperwork patois of Michael Savage and that asshole Mark Steyn shouldn't be flashing lights, along with all those moranic misspelllings, that something deserved just a bit more attention?  I would have done the same thing myself.  I'm not sure how my list would have differed.

The real irony of this whole stem-winder is the fact that there are no victims.  None of the applicants, regardless of their level of distain for their personal experience with the IRS, were limited in any way from their objective; that sweet, sweet tax-exempt  anonymous money.  It's like Grover Norquist in a box.  And the box is yours, Patriot!

Now.  Having decided to turn this over to Fox rather than Ricky Gervais, we've lost a public moment to find and solve a problem and maybe figure out what this money is really for.  Instead, the Excellence in Bullshit Broadcasting fraternity will continue to grind out their noisy, squalid shadow-play on America's cave wall.

Just turn it off.  Forward.

Wed May 22, 2013 at 5:25 PM PT: Just a quick update, this will be Lerner's argument.  I don't know how anyone with the responsobility to assure the black letter requirements of the law, including its lack of clarity, could have ignored the tea party and the rest of this ilk.  It's not targeting, it's intelligent sorting and administration.  I don't agree with all of the questions, but the mission was to split a hair between welfare and partisanship.

But you really can't hold rallies and carry around signs and then get pissed off when others wonder if you have political motives.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Answer me this: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward, Neuroptimalian, Samulayo

    Why is Lois Lerner going to plead the fifth?

  •  Nickie - the only problem with your theses (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor Ward, Angryallen, valion, Samulayo

    is that the use of the conservative key words, such as Tea Party, to subject certain c 4 applications to a different standard of review started before the spike in applications.

    The President has this right and will limit the damage to the Dems by taking a very harsh position on this matter. You will see several members of management, and every employee who touched this practice, be terminated and some will likely be indicted. In everything that it does the IRS cannot have even the perception that it views issues through an ideological lens. That cannot be tolerated.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue May 21, 2013 at 05:49:26 PM PDT

    •  I don't mean to suggest that any of this is right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      But shit happens; and in an environment where the point wasn't to make the point, we wouldn't have a scandal, but a problem to solve.  The important thing to me is that ultimately no one got hurt.  That offsets, on my radar, the extent of the crime.

      Should we do it better?  Absolutely.

      Is it the crime of the century?  No.  It's a rationally made mistake that needs correction.

      •  In just ONE case, ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angryallen, Samulayo, Victor Ward

        a woman (in Texas, I believe) who applied found her family's business repeatedly "looked into" by OSHA, ATF and other alphabet agencies after she applied, and she was "interviewed" by the FBI three or four times, as well as both she personally and her family business being repeatedly audited while her application was pending approval.  This type of intimidation is FAR beyond the pale, and no doubt others were treated similarly.  To think that no harm was done is to refuse to acknowledge the obvious.

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

        by Neuroptimalian on Tue May 21, 2013 at 07:05:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Catherine Engelbrecht. There's a story waiting to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Victor Ward

          be told.  One piece of it appeared in the NY Times.

          She was active in True The Vote last year, a group that drummed up publicity to imply that there was rampant voter fraud with bus loads of foreign people showing up at random locations to register an vote.

          The article at the link talks about her other organization, King Street Tea Party.   Turns out there was a second organization applying for tax exempt status and it had the exact same name.  The organizer of the other group was asked about his connections to Engelbrecht, if any.

          This brings up something that I've been told about the IRS selection process of applications for review.  In cases where there are mulitple applicants using the same or similar names, the flagged organizations were reviewed to see whether they were pooling money or if there were any other connections between them.  Apparently there are ways to game the system by using more than one organziation and shifting money around between them.

          This sounds reasonable and logical to me and the questions for the owner of King Street Tea Party seems to agree.  Sooner or later this information would have to come out.  When someone decides it ok to tell the public the whole story.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Tue May 21, 2013 at 07:25:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  there is no damage (0+ / 0-)

      and the country actually doesn't care, Obama has his usual high ratings, he's still an obviously nice man, and the real people are not paying attention to the IRS, or to Benghazi, or whatever the other one is, I can't recall, because they're not interesting or scandalous. The Republicans couldn't even hype a scandal before the election, they have only succeeded in putting the nation to sleep.  

      "oh no, not four more years of hope and change?" Karl Christian Rove

      by anna shane on Tue May 21, 2013 at 06:53:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Indicted for what? (0+ / 0-)

      Nothing related to the processing of applications, I'll bet.  Possibly obstruction or perjury.

      And I question your assumption.  The IG's report admitted that 82% of the Tea Party applications warranted heightened scrutiny.  Any metric that , simply based on the name of the applicant, is that predictive is a good metric.

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Tue May 21, 2013 at 07:08:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hopefully this won't scare the civil servant's at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neuroptimalian

    the IRS from doing their jobs, even with well financed and politically connected applicants.

    It is strange that Lois Lerner told reporters on a conference call:

    Lerner said she disclosed the information because someone asked her about it Friday morning — indicating that she had no plans to release the information publicly, despite the confirmed wrongdoing.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    But the person who asked the question told the press this:

    "I received a call from Lois Lerner, who told me that she wanted to address an issue after her prepared remarks at the [American Bar Association] Tax Section's Exempt Organizations Committee Meeting, and asked if I would pose a question to her after her remarks," Roady said in a statement to U.S. News and World Report. "I agreed to do so, and she then gave me the question that I asked at the meeting the next day. We had no discussion thereafter on the topic of the question, nor had we spoken about any of this before I received her call. She did not tell me, and I did not know, how she would answer the question."
    http://www.usnews.com/...
  •  Why you are wrong (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angryallen, valion, Samulayo, Victor Ward

    1- There is no excuse for the IRS to target one political/ideological end of the spectrum. Their own reason was not over worked employees. As a matter of fact we do not know who came up with the idea nor why. But it was wrong.
    2- The increase in applications began AFTER the use of the political terms as identifiers.
    3-The applications, you claim are so vile, actually were approved meaning they were in fact playing by the rules all along.
    4- There WERE victims. Their applications were delayed (as much as two years) and extra time, money, and resources were required to comply with onerous requests.
    5- tThe body politic is a victim as well. This episode gives every RW kook a legit excuse to argues their paranoia. It contribute to the cynicism rampant in our country about the integrity of government. Hopefully the President's swift action will minimize that harm. But having Lerner take the 5th won't help either.

    Can't understand why you would defend this deplorable action.

    •  Crossroads was approved also. (0+ / 0-)

      Approval doesn't mean that the entity is clean, only that they passed the nebulous requirements for the status.

      I share your distaste for what happened, but I can't find enough information yet to convince me that this is anything other than mis-administration and not an intentional abuse of power.

      The Rs will claim this is happening whether it is or not.  The facts don't matter to them; never have.  So I don't worry too much about increasing their paranoia.

      •  They did intentionally (0+ / 0-)

        use specific words to identify only conservative groups. Which is definitely an abuse. Next time it could be progressives who get this treatment unless the problem is fixed.

        •  So long as the fair treatment we get is as good as (0+ / 0-)

          this was, I'd be fine.

          You can't dance around in 18th century garb mesmerized by the ravings of a self-admitted rodeo clown and his belicose band of fellow-travellers and not get at least a wink when you claim a need for tax-free money to 'educate'.

          I just ask how I'd have seen it if I decided.  I'd be a moron to rubber-stamp this crap without a little diligence.

          The inner logic of this scandal betrays its argument.

          Rs claim that they were singled out.  They were singled out because they sought a tax-break as a 'social welfare or educational' entity.  They singled themselves out by identifying collectively as entities of the same kind yet swearing their individual separation from elective politics.  Those key words (9/12, Tea-Party, Constitution..) were, themselves, employed as identifiers by these partisans to assure they never showed up at the wrong picnics.  For that they got the attention of the 'powers that be'; powers we put there intentionlly as a defense against organized gaming of the election finance system.

          Can anyone believe that there weren't plenty of these 'non-partisan' organizations approved that then participated in the 2012 election?  Of course not.  Particularly because we saw the collective messaging and advertising of these non-partisans and found their adherence to their tax obligations wanting if not exactly illegal.  How come we're not investigating that?

          •  You are wrong (0+ / 0-)

            and i can't believe you would be OK with this. They were singled out. Not because of any objective data or guideline or regulation. It was subjective, arbitrary, and most likely capricious. "9/12, Tea-Party, Constitution" do not in and of themselves indicate any less seriousness than progressive, liberal, progress, or community- but those terms were not used. They got attention because of their ideology not their behavior.

            And as for their nefariousness, they certainly passed the IRS test. Only after  serious delays, and extra time money and resources. I'll stand with the President Obama and say this was atrocious. Although Nixon would have approved.

  •  It's getting more (0+ / 0-)

    not less scandalous. If this scenario holds up it could mean more heads rolling.

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