By June of 2012 -- long before the IRS targeting scandal became public -- the IRS was secretly planning to change its rules to justify targeting tea party/conservative groups. A newly unveiled email from Treasury Department tax policy attorney Ruth Madrigal, addressed to a number of IRS officials including the infamous Lois Lerner, makes it abundantly clear that regulations were in the works that would authorize the targeting.
The text of the email reads as follows:
Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting.
It's followed, in the email, by an account of a Fourth Circuit case decided unfavorably toward 501(c)(4) organizations.
The significance of the email is clear:
(1) It indicates that the IRS was fully aware that the targeting of tea party and other conservative groups -- that had taken place since 2010 -- was NOT authorized by any rules.
(2) It proves the existence of a scheme to change the rules "off plan" (that is, not on the public schedule for agency rule changes) to justify the targeting, well before the Inspector General's report blew the whistle on the whole sleazy, First Amendment-hating, un-American enterprise.
(3) By its clear meaning, the email completely upends the administration narrative that the rules were formulated only after the scandal came to light, in order to clear up any confusion within existing regulations.
So does President Obama still believe there wasn't even a "smidgen" of corruption at the IRS?