“Republicans are looking for a conspiracy where there isn’t one,” Rep. Jim McDermott said of the inquiry into the IRS scandal during a House Ways and Committee hearing earlier this week.
And yet, according to McClatchy, not a single liberal or even non-ideological group has come forward to say they were mistreated by the IRS and when House Democrats were given the opportunity to invite witnesses from those sort of groups to speak out about their treatment by the IRS, they declined:
The storm over the Internal Revenue Service’s dealings with groups seeking tax-exempt status is now nearly a month old, and virtually no organizations perceived to be liberal or nonpartisan have come forward to say they were unfairly targeted since then.
Some have been rejected for special status, but groups both denied and given exemptions contacted by McClatchy said they thought the scrutiny they got was fair.
“During the Bush administration we often thought the IRS was not doing enough, so the scrutiny we got was fair,” said Liz Wally, the executive director of Clean Elections Texas. The nonpartisan group and its education fund, which promote public financing of elections, received tax-exempt status within months of applying in 2010.
When the House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony Tuesday from aggrieved organizations, all were conservative. Democrats were invited to have witnesses but declined.
Meanwhile, a CBS/New York Times poll shows that 2/3’s of Americans – including 60% of Democrats – believe the IRS targeting was politically motivated:
Most Americans regardless of party believe political reasons drove the Internal Revenue Service to single out for burdensome and unnecessary scrutiny some conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll out Thursday. The public splits across party lines, though, about whether President Obama and his administration were involved.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents- 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents – said they think the IRS targeting was motivated by politics, rather than adherence to the tax code policy. But while forty-four percent think the Obama administration had a hand in the targeting, 40 percent said they believe the agency acted on its own.
There are partisan differences: 70 percent of Republicans think the Obama administration was involved – a belief shared by only 19 percent of Democrats. Sixty-five percent of Democrats said they think the IRS acted independently.
To be fair, there’s no “smoking gun” evidence tying the White House to the targeting yet, but at least according to this poll most in the public think the link is out there.