The rapidly mushrooming scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service – first reported on Friday – continues to unravel as additional details confirm the extent of the federal government’s effort to illegally target limited government supporters with expanded scrutiny on their tax-exempt applications.
The biggest bomb? An as-yet-unreleased report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) which
Apparently it wasn’t just groups with “Tea Party,” “Patriot” or “Constitution” in their titles that got flagged for further scrutiny, it was a much broader range of limited government organizations.
Among the “offending” words?
Government spending, Government debt, or taxes; Education of the public via advocacy/lobbying to ‘make America a better place to live;’ and Statements in the case file (that) criticize how the country is being run.
Obviously all of these descriptions would involve groups potentially hostile to the reelection efforts of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Also, efforts by the IRS to make it appear as though the discriminatory behavior was confined to low-level employees at one specific branch are backfiring – badly. According to The Washington Post, “staffers in the Cincinnati field office were making high-level decisions on how to evaluate the groups because a decade ago the IRS assigned all applications to that unit.”
In other words the scandal was confined to one office … the office exclusively responsible for handling tax-exempt applications.
Further compounding the IRS’ problems? The fact that senior agency officials were alerted to this flagrantly unconstitutional activity nearly two years ago and chose to say nothing about it. In fact it appears as though the agency’s eventual response was to extend the same illegal discrimination to an even broader array of politically active entities.
Most damning? Nearly a year after the original discrimination was uncovered, one of the agency’s commissioners testified under oath that the IRS was not targeting groups based on their political leanings.