Scandal Status Report

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.

Joan Walsh:

The report blamed “inadequate management” for the review process, which began under Bush-appointed leadership, and it reads like everyone’s worst nightmare of incompetent government. But it finds no evidence that anyone higher than middle management was responsible for the review. Moreover, although it’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.

22 thoughts on “Scandal Status Report

  1. I was pleased to see Lawrence O’Donnell was banging on the “IRS agents did nothing wrong” drum on his program this evening. Maybe he’ll get some attention.

    I understand the White House wants to make it all go away fast, and so is acting all angry and firing people and stuff, but I sure wish we had a Democratic messaging machine that could be out there saying, “Well, of COURSE they were looking at those groups extra hard. If your job is to make sure that groups are going to mis-use the privilege of a tax exemption to do political campaigning that isn’t allowed, why SHOULDN’T you start with groups that are expressly anti-tax and interested in politics? If you are asking to get special permission to avoid paying the taxes everyone else pays, you should expect to have to fill out some paperwork and answer some questions, and you shouldn’t be surprised when someone thinks you might be trying to pull a fast one. Especially if you are dedicated to the idea that taxes are evil.”

    I’ve seen no evidence these whiners were subjected to much tougher scrutiny than is often applied to new 501(c) organizations when their mission isn’t clearly educational or welfare based.

  2. Only in DC can a congress do so little, ignore the will of voters, send the country into a financial tailspin and have enough free time to point fingers at EVERYONE but themselves. I am so fed up with their shit I could just scream.

  3. Benghazi Scandal.
    IRS Scandal.
    AP Scandal.

    Republicans, as far as the word “scandal” is concerned – “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    And if Hillary decides to run, and the Republicans pull some new “scandals” from the same place they got the ones about her back in the 90’s, she can turn to them, and say – ‘Hello. My name is Hillary Rodham Clinton. You tried to politically kill my husband. Prepare to die.’

  4. Whew, what a relief! They got rid of the guy who was appointed more than 2 years after the improper reviews happened!

    All the faux-scandal chasers in Congress should gather at the feet of their president, Dubya, so he can read them “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

  5. ‘Hello. My name is Hillary Rodham Clinton. You tried to politically kill my husband. Prepare to die.’

    Hee hee.

  6. Tell me the difference between what the ABC White House Correspondent did and what Dan Rather did, please.

  7. This takes me back to when I was teaching writing in graduate school. If I had to grade these scandals, I don’t think I even would put a grade on them. If a student handed in a paper that didn’t actually say anything, I would explain that they needed to have a thesis and let them try again.

    And I’d say the same thing to Darrell Issa: Your scandal lacks a thesis. You need to be able to articulate, in just a few words, what the scandal actually is. If you can’t do that it’s likely that you don’t really have a scandal.

    Of course the IRS “scandal” does have a thesis, but it’s also somewhat important that your thesis isn’t blatantly self-contradictory. The IRS unfairly subjected politically conservative groups to increased scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status? Hello?

    • The IRS unfairly subjected politically conservative groups to increased scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status? Hello?

      Having a brain is a lonely thing these days, isn’t it?

  8. Maybe they were scrutinizing allegory? The IRS had no way of knowing what the political leaning were of any group that applied for tax exemption. The conservatives have wrapped themselves so tightly in the flag and the concepts of freedom that the odds of feeling targeted are astronomical.
    They have distorted language to mask their agenda and deceive the American people. Words that once were neutral and friendly to the social welfare of the American public are now loaded with venom intended to deceive. The IRS was right to scrutinize applications based on key words, because the corruption of politics has found shelter there.
    The only scandal here is the surfacing of the true nature of our current political system.

  9. Swami,
    Spraying it, or huffing it?

    Those vacant eyes have huffing written all over them!

  10. erinyes.. It could be the onset of dementia?.. It’s not Spanglish, it’s just sloppy thinking. Thanks for pointing it out though, it helps to keep me humble. 🙂 I was going to kick into my anal retentive conservative mode and claim that I intentionally misspell on occasion to allow people he opportunity to feel good about themselves when they discovery a spelling error.

  11. T don’t thing I have spell check either.
    See how that turned out? I’m typing in the dark, working on my first coffee, and the letters on this keyboard are mostly worn off. I do proof read my comments, but typos still get through.

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