Carol Platt Liebau

Leaders from existing conservative organizations The Leadership Institute and the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute have made credible claims that they, too, were targeted by the IRS

The former has been in existence since 1979, yet the IRS chose to investigate its compliance with tax laws in June 2011, costing it $50,000 in legal fees and requiring it to locate and hand over 23,000 pages of paperwork.  The latter group learned in January 2011 that the IRS had selected 2008 to audit -- the year one of its leaders went off the payroll temporarily to work for (gasp!) Sarah Palin.

Darryl Issa has asked the Treasury Inspector General to launch an investigation into this second aspect of the targeting scandal; predictably, Elijah Cummings objects.

But while we're on the subject of IRS targeting, Democrats like Cummings have repeatedly tried to peddle the story that lefty groups were subject to additional scrutiny just like conservative groups. It's always been a flawed meme, and now there's hard numeric evidence to prove it.

NPR reports that, based on a House Ways and Means staff analysis, when the IRS sent letters seeking more information to groups seeking (c)(3) or (c)(4) status, conservative organizations were asked on average three times more questions than their liberal counterparts.  In other words, in the course of "routine" IRS supervision, righty groups were harassed while liberal ones were not.  Here is the chart from the analysis:

Targeting statistics from files produced by the IRS through July 29, 2013.

This would certainly explain why Democrats couldn't produce any left-wing "victims" to testify at a hearing featuring those who had been abused by the IRS

Now it seems that the IRS harassment may not have been restricted to new potential non-profits, but may have been directed at longstanding groups, as well.  If true, that certainly lends credence to the theory that the targeting was intended to harass, distract and impede American citizens lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights -- but in a way that the Obama administration apparently didn't appreciate.

Carol Platt Liebau

Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political commentator and guest radio talk show host based near New York. Learn more about her new book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Hurts Young Women (and America, Too!)" here.