June 25, 2013

[h/t to Heather for the video. Be sure to sign the petition]

That hissing sound you hear is the last of the so-called IRS scandal melting away forever. Like every right-wing faux outrage, it's yet another example of how effortlessly they light up our ADHD media, creating smoke but no fire. First it was Benghazi and now it's the IRS non-scandal which is now an embarrassment for Darrell Issa in a very, very big way.

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee released 15 lists of terms that the IRS agency used and has provided to congressional investigators. Some of the lists, which evolved over time, used the terms "progressive" and "Tea Party" and others including "Medical Marijuana," "Occupied Territory Advocacy," "Healthcare legislation," "Newspaper Entities" and "Paying National Debt."

The lists were dated between August 2010 and April 2013 — the month before the IRS targeting of conservative groups was revealed. They ranged from 11 pages to 17 pages but were heavily blacked out to protect sensitive taxpayer information.

Oopsie! So it wasn't just conservative groups who were "persecuted" while spending $500 million or so on the election last year? There were liberal groups, too? Worse yet, the IRS was just doing the job they were supposed to do, albeit incompetently to some extent?

Darrell Issa must be crying in his megabucks today. He was so sure he had a live one, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. We have been saying since the beginning that conservatives were inflating the story to make it sound like they were persecuted, when in fact, the IRS was scrutinizing all sorts of different organizations.

Bob Cesca:

Come to think of it, we’ve kind of known since the beginning that liberal groups were also examined and rejected for non-profit status. Back when the scandal originally broke,Bloomberg reported that at least three liberal groups were scrutinized, and two of the groups were denied tax exempt status. Later, we discovered that out of 176 organizations that were granted tax exempt status in 2010, 122 were conservative and 48 were liberal/non-conservative. In other words, more than twice as many conservative groups were approved over liberal groups.

We’ve been aware of these massive gaps in the integrity of the story because many of us asked very serious questions from the beginning. We endeavored to discover how the IRS handles non-profit applications, what events and decisions created the influx of 501(c)4 groups and whether the scrutiny was a matter of routine or if politics skewed the process.While some of us were asking questions, the Republican Party, led by the conservative entertainment complex, blindly lost its collective shpadoinkle and engaged in histrionics that almost entirely superseded its histrionics over the Benghazi non-scandal.


At some point, the repetitive outrage could become the boy who cried wolf. It already has with the Republicans who are convinced that every presidential fart is an impeachment-worthy trespass. After the monstrous IRS-gate turned out to be a great big Nothing-gate, I doubt anyone will take the Republicans seriously the next time they cry scandal.

He's wrong about the Republicans being taken seriously. At the very least, the stupid cable news networks will pretend like it's a real scandal and quote all of the idiotic hyperbole spewed by people like Darrell Issa and Mitch McConnell. By the way, Mitch McConnell has already given up the ghost on this silly story.

PoliticusUSA noticed it last week:

Towards the end of his speech, McConnell ruled out Obama involvement, “There might be some folks out there waiting for a hand-signed memo from President Obama to Lois Lerner to turn up. What I’m saying is that a coordinated campaign to use the levers of government to target conservatives and stifle speech has been in full swing and open view for years. It’s been carried out by the same people who say there’s nothing more to the DISCLOSE Act than transparency, and no more to other disclosure regulations than good government.”

Now he can't even say there was a coordinated campaign to use the levers of government to target conservatives. It's clear the IRS had a list of terms that were political, and they were right to ask more questions about them. They faltered on what questions they asked, but it wasn't wrong for them to scrutinize those applications.

As Lawrence O'Donnell keeps saying over and over, the solution is easy. Revoke the IRS regulation that changed "exclusively" into "primarily" and there's no debate.

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