Not that it’s going to settle anything, but two of the scandals roiling Washington this week are deflating faster than a cheap party balloon.
A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says IRS scandal came out of the Determinations Unit of the Rulings and Agreements office. The Determinations Unit offices are in Cincinnati. The Determinations Unit was using “inappropriate criteria” for singing out applications for tax-exempt status to review. They also made “unnecessarily burdensome” requests for more information from some organizations. However, requests were not being denied.
The report blamed â€œinadequate managementâ€ for the review process, which began under Bush-appointed leadership, and it reads like everyoneâ€™s worst nightmare of incompetent government. But it finds no evidence that anyone higher than middle management was responsible for the review. Moreover, although itâ€™s clear that groups with Tea Party or Patriot in their names came in for more scrutiny and delay than most liberal groups, more than two-thirds of the groups flagged for review had nothing to do with the Tea Party. And none of the conservatives were denied tax-exempt status, though many faced long delays. Ironically, the only group that saw its status denied (for 10 of its chapters) was Emerge America, which works to elect Democratic women to office.
Someone in the IRS is saying today that two “rogue” agents in the Cincinnati office were primarily responsible for the “inappropriate” reviews.
I said this wouldn’t settle anything, and of course it won’t. Rightie bloggers are telling each other that the IG report says all kinds of things it didn’t actually say, and linking to each other as sources, so the misinformation mill is cranking as hard as it can crank. See also Charles Pierce.
Also, too, yesterday we learned that the alleged White House email that suggested some kind of cover up regarding Benghazi was a fabrication. The ABC White House correspondent who originally claimed to have “obtained” the email and appeared to quote directly from it in his reporting appears to have fabricated a pretend email from summaries and paraphrases provided by his source. Of course, in Rightie World it’s the ABC News email that’s the real one, and the White House version that’s a fake.
Update: The acting IRS commissioner was asked to fall on his sword, so to speak.