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Thursday, February 11, 2016

IRS Scandal is 1000 days old

Cartoon credit: teachufr.org

A few days ago, Glenn Reynolds (Mr. Instapundit) published a column in USA Today about the IRS scandal and Tea Party groups:

Last week saw the passage of a grim milestone in government corruption: Pepperdine University Law Professor Paul Caron’s TaxProf blog marked the 1000th day of the scandal involving the IRS’s deliberate political targeting of conservative “Tea Party” groups. 
. . .

But what happened in the IRS scandal wasn’t a case of bureaucrats slow-walking ideas they think are dumb. It was, instead, a case of bureaucrats targeting people because of their political views.

Ohio Tea Party activist Justin Binik-Thomas noticed in 2012 that the IRS was asking Tea Party organizations if they knew him. The IRS denied that it was targeting people based on their political views, then admitted that it was doing so but blamed low-level employees in the Cincinnati office.

Then it turned out that, as the Treasury Inspector General found, there was much more going on. The next day, the acting IRS commissioner resigned.

There was much talk about accountability, even from President Obama, but, in the end, we got something that looked more like a whitewash. 

As Caron wrote:
"On May 22, 2013, the IRS director (of exempt organizations) asserted her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to testify before a House committee. She was placed on administrative leave. The following month, it was revealed that she received a $42,000 bonus. She retired in September.

"On Jan. 9, 2014, it was revealed that the Department of Justice attorney leading the investigation was a donor to the president's campaigns. A week later, the Justice Department revealed it would not bring any criminal charges. Attorneys for many of the targeted political groups complained that they had never been contacted in the investigation.

"On Feb. 2, 2014, the president stated in a televised interview before the Super Bowl that although there 'were some bone-headed decisions out of a local (IRS) office ... (there was) not even a smidgen of corruption.'

"On May 7, 2014, the House voted 231-187 to hold the former IRS director in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate in its investigation (six members of the president's party voted with the majority). The House also voted 250-168 to request the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate (26 members of the president's party voted with the majority)."

Of course, nothing happened. Obama Administration Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that the U.S. Attorney was using "prosecutorial discretion.” That discretion protected [former IRS director Lois] Lerner from the grand jury.

Read the rest here
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