But understandable or not, they bungled it horribly, leaving themselves open to equally understandable charges of politicizing the IRS. Conservative groups are as outraged as liberals would be if the Bush-era IRS were flagging groups with “environment” or “progressive” in their names. So even if, as seems likely, this whole thing turns out to have been mostly a misguided scheme cooked up by some too-clever IRS drones, it doesn’t matter. Conservatives are right to be outraged and right to demand a full investigation. They suspect there might be more to it, and so would I if the shoe were on the other foot. We need to find out for sure whether this episode was just moronic, or if it had some kind of partisan motivation.
Hey Kevin? As I pointed out yesterday, that shoe was not only on the other foot multiple times during the Bush administration, but that shoe was then used to kick liberal and Democrat asses up and down the block because it really was partisan motivation. And a grand total of Not A Damn Thing happened as a result.
Now granted, I understand at the time the outrage-o-meter was currently being pegged to the red line by all the other much worse things the Bushies were doing at the time. But please, spare me your outrage on this IRS thing. It was used as a partisan weapon several times by the last guys, and we’re all pretending it didn’t happen. How about we hear more about that, eh?
Oh, and I disagree with this, too:
What’s really unfortunate about all this is that it will probably put an end to any scrutiny of 501(c)4 groups, and that’s a shame. The IRS should be scrutinizing them, and it should be doing it on an ongoing basis. More than likely, though, Congress will step in to neuter them completely on this score, and the current Wild West character of 501(c)4 fundraising will continue unabated.
On the contrary, the Republicans have shown on several occasions they’re willing to burn down the house as long as some Democrats get caught in the conflagration. There’s a fair chance that House Republicans especially will demand these groups get dismantled. They’ll just pass legislation that will make it easier for Republican-leaning groups to reform under some new rules.
[UPDATE] Oh, and for the folks on both sides screaming that the IRS Commissioner responsible for this step down? He did. In November. Douglas Shulman was a Dubya appointee whose five-year term ended and he stepped down after the election. Congress has yet to confirm his replacement, Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller. Little chance of that now, so expect the IRS to not have a commissioner for pretty much the rest of the President’s term.