As investigations into political targeting at the IRS proceed, keep an eye on a growing element to the whole disgusting enterprise: The targeting of individuals based only on their political sympathies. McClatchy reports today.
As welcome as the coverage is, it was obvious to anyone who read the IG's IRS report. Most of the news coverage focused on the IRS targeting based on the words "Tea Party" or "9/12", but in truth, the objectionable criteria were much broader. On page 6 of the report, there is a table (Figure 3) listing the "Criteria for Potential Political Cases" as of June 2011, and this is what they were:
"Tea Party," "Patriots," or "9/12 Project" is referenced in the case file
Issues include government spending, government debt or taxes
Education of the public by advocacy/lobbying to "make America a better place to live" [sic]
Statement in the case file critize [sic] how the country is being run
Note that aside from the reference to "lobbying," all the criteria above are perfectly permissible activities for 501(c)(3) groups. The criteria is obviousy drafted to target and punish "dissent." (Where are the civil libertarians?!).
And if the foregoing weren't enough outrage for one morning, note Conn Carroll's report that one of the IRS agents who wrote threatening letters to conservative non-profits has received a promotion. By allowing this -- and refusing to fire Lois Lerner -- the White House manages to send a signal condoning this sort of behavior in the future, without ever uttering a word.