The IRS began targeting conservative and “tea party” groups three years ago. Senior IRS officials were aware of it two years ago. The IRS itself apparently tried to jump out in front of a yet-to-be-released IG report, which has been circulated widely in Congress, last week by preemptively apologizing to the targeted groups.
But the President of the United States was the last to know that this was going on within his administration?
Let’s not forget that there have been complaints for years now about IRS abuse of people and groups on the right. A Mitt Romney supporter who was singled out by the Obama administration got slapped with an IRS audit shortly afterward. The Koch Brothers had issues as well.
One might expect that a presidential administration – one which touts itself as the “most accountable in history” no less – but take it upon themselves to investigate these sort of allegations. You know, for the sake of being accountable.
But then, we still don’t know if this goes all the way to the top. “Where might an enterprising, public-spirited I.R.S. agent get the idea that a Tea Party group deserved more scrutiny from the government than the typical band of activists seeking tax-exempt status?” asks Ross Douthat in the New York Times. “Oh, I don’t know: why, maybe from all the prominent voices who spent the first two years of the Obama era worrying that the Tea Party wasn’t just a typically messy expression of citizen activism, but something much darker — an expression of crypto-fascist, crypto-racist rage, part Timothy McVeigh and part Bull Connor, potentially carrying a wave of terrorist violence in its wings.”
The Obama administration had the motive and the means. What we don’t know is who pulled the trigger to target conservatives?