Sometimes you’re not paranoid; sometimes they really are out to get you. The jaw-dropping revelation that the IRS targeted Tea Party and other conservative activist groups ought to outrage everyone. From the NYT’s account:
But the inspector general’s timeline showed the effort to single out Tea Party groups goes back to March 2010 when a special Determinations Unit in the Cincinnati office of the I.R.S. began searching tax-exemption applications from groups using the names “Tea Party,” “patriots” or “9/12,” a movement begun by Glenn Beck. The unit was also looking for “applications involving political sounding names” like “We the People” or “Take Back the Country,” according to the document.
That time frame brought the “Be On the Lookout” list back to the Tea Party movement’s early months, well before the November 2010 Congressional elections, when the movement helped fuel a historic Republican landslide.
On June 29, 2011, the document states, Ms. Lerner was briefed on the effort, and by then the search appeared even more refined to conservative organizations. Beyond “Tea Party,” “Patriots” and “9/12 Project,” the Cincinnati team was looking at issues of government spending, debt and taxes; education efforts to “make America a better place to live”; and statements in the case file that “criticize how the country is being run.”
Ms. Lerner said Friday that the terms “Tea Party” and “patriots” were used as a “shortcut” by the unit, not as a tool to single out any one political outlook. But the timeline suggests that the search went well beyond a few keywords. Over 100 applications had been identified by that briefing, using criteria with distinctly conservative undertones.
Just days later, on July 5, a conference call involving Ms. Lerner, a manager of the Determinations Unit and others substantially broadened the search to take out its overt conservative bias. Instead, the lookout list was changed to “organizations involved with political, lobbying or advocacy for exemptions under 501(c)3 or 501(c)4,” a criteria much more in line with concerns that overt political advocates were receiving special tax protection.
But repeated revisions of the lookout list kept lapsing back to the original search. In January 2012, for instance, the search parameters were again revised to “political action-type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement,” criteria broad enough to ensnare liberal organizations as well but seemingly still honed in on the Tea Party’s outspoken views.
Incidentally, the Times’s headline is liberal-bias classic:
I.R.S. Focus on Conservatives Gives G.O.P. an Issue to Seize On
Subtext: “Look what the Republicans are whining about now.” This is the Internal Revenue Service seeking to target perfectly legal organizations based on their political viewpoint.
A headline you never would have seen in the Times:
FBI Focus on Civil Rights Activists Gives Democrats an Issue to Seize On
UPDATE: From the combox, an Evans-Manning ringer:
This controversy demonstrates the dire situation of our politics. Within the week we have found conclusive proof that the Obama administration lied about what happened in Libya. I use this language because it is now obvious that administration officials said false things knowing they were false. That’s a lie. Now why they lied is not yet determined. Perhaps they had good reason. But so many on the left (Steven Colbert, for example) would prefer we look the other way. Imagine if some Republican congressman has said what Elijah Cummings said about Benghazi: “Oh, why worry about Abu Graib? Suffering is just part of life.”
Now we have confirmed reports that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups. Contrary to what some people are posting here, it appears that political appointees knew of this activity and did not stop it. We also know that various Republicans had tax information made public last year in ways that can only mean illegality. Still, nothing to see here from the left. Just another Republican witch hunt.
“Doctor” Gosnell is one of the worst mass murderers in US history, but that is no reason to cover his trial or rethink our casual attitudes toward abortion. Nothing to see here.
Surely the same was true of the Bush Administration. Rod just posted recently about the shameful behavior by the Bush folks in neglecting to protect Christians in the Middle East. And Obama’s claimed right to kill Americans anywhere without due process is simply a variation on a Bush theme. Still, the view that “Republicans are just a bunch of poopy stink bottoms!!!” seems to reign in much of Left. If a Republican says it, it must just be pure partisanship. And, yes, similar stuff happens on the right. But to me a sign of an intellectually honest person is someone who does just read his own side’s talking points. But the likes of Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity can’t get dressed in the morning until the respective parties tell them what to wear.