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IRS Inspector General: Liberal Groups Weren't Inappropriately Targeted

Reports that some IRS 'BOLO' lists
included terms like "progressive" and "occupy" touched off celebrations on the Left.  See?  This wasn't aimed at conservatives -- those nutty paranoiacs!  The IRS just needs to tweak its procedures, and we can all move on.  No scandal here, America.  We explained in detail why that emerging narrative was a load of nonsense, based on piles of relevant evidence and a thorough report from Eliana Johnson.  Today, the IRS Inspector General re-confirms the obvious truth, obliterating the Left's shiny, new, and perfidious talking point:

Liberal groups seeking tax-exempt status faced less IRS scrutiny than Tea Party groups, according to the Treasury inspector general.  Russell George, Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, told Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) in a letter dated Wednesday that the IRS did not use inappropriate criteria to scrutinize groups with “progressives” in their name seeking tax-exempt status. “Our audit did not find evidence that the IRS used the ‘progressives’ identifier as selection criteria for potential political cases between May 2010 and May 2012,” George wrote in the letter obtained by The Hill. The inspector general also stressed that 100 percent of the groups with “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12” in their name were flagged for extra attention.

“While we have multiple sources of information corroborating the use of Tea Party and other related criteria we described in our report, including employee interviews, emails and other documents, we found no indication in any of these other materials that ‘progressives’ was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention,” George wrote to Levin, the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. George and his office have faced criticism in recent days after it emerged that its audit was tasked with looking into merely whether conservative groups faced tough IRS scrutiny. Documents released this week showed other groups — including liberal and non-partisan organizations — also received scrutiny from the IRS, and Democrats have suggested this wasn't noted in the ensuing scandal because of the IG's focus on conservative groups. George insisted that his office did not limit its audit to Tea Party groups. 

The IG's full letter can be accessed HERE.  In response to House Oversight Committee Democrats' dissembling and misdirection, Chairman Darrell Issa issued a blistering statement decrying his colleagues for deliberately muddying the waters in a partisan attempt to "derail" the IRS investigation:

“Both the Ways and Means and Oversight Committees are methodically working through an investigation following up on the IG audit. Our Democratic colleagues should stop trying to derail the investigation by defending IRS officials with distorted claims equating the systematic scrutiny of Tea Party groups with the more routine screening progressive groups received,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell lssa, R-Calif. “As TIGTA notes, Tea Party groups and progressive groups were treated very differently by the IRS.  Ranking Member Cummings and Ranking Member Levin need to join us in this investigation and not look for every excuse to just say the case is solved and Congress should move on.”

Will the MSNBC set let these facts get in the way of their latest round of buffoonish high-fiving?  Chris Matthews presided over an entire segment on this subject last night, the premise of which was that Darrell Issa is "shooting blanks."  The notion that the IRS scandal is a real and serious issue involving wrongful political targeting, Matthews declared, is a reckless hoax.  Much to everyone's shock, both of his guests agreed with him -- including WaPo's Dana Milbank and Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on Issa's committee:

Matthews' clownish behavior is to be expected, as is Cummings' blind partisanship.  (Remember when he pretended to be outraged over the targeting that he now pretends didn't really happen?)  Milbank's contributions to this discussion are especially galling.  He observes that a common thread among Issa's investigations into grade-A scandals like Fast & Furious, Benghazi and the IRS is that "nothing ever comes of [them]."  First off, that's not true; we've seen low-level heads roll on a number of fronts.  But what generally allows high-level politicians to wriggle off the hook is a supine press backing off or losing interest in a story.  Milbank notes that the Obama scandals haven't really hooked any big fish; gosh, why might that be, prominent member of the establishment media, Dana Milbank?   To his credit, Milbank's fellow MSM journalist Ron Fournier isn't buying his colleagues' collective yawn.  Incidentally, Issa's investigation into the IRS hasn't merely focused on partisan targeting, donor harassment and illegal leaks.  It's also turned up tens of millions in wasteful spending on lavish conferences, as well as the outrageous revelation that IRS employees used agency credit cards to buy booze and porn.  Oh, and it has exposed some truly repugnant fraud.  Read this, and try to keep your blood pressure down.  Finally, the latest Fox News poll showed that super-majorities of Americans want Issa & Co. to keep "shooting blanks" by holding the administration to account on the IRS, Benghazi and the DOJ scandal.  Chris Matthews hardest hit.

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