Two things can safely be pointed out about the IRS scandal after more and more information has been released about it:
- The agency made extremely bad and somewhat amateurish decisions on how they conducted their follow-ups on 501c4s.
- And more importantly, it wasn’t political.
The pundits can try as hard as they want to attempt to trace this up to the Oval Office but they have failed and continue to fail miserably doing that. And the reason is because there is no trail going there.
We found out from ProPublica two important points a few weeks ago. First:
Of the more than $256 million spent by social welfare nonprofits on ads in the 2012 elections, at least 80 percent came from conservative groups.
Some social welfare groups promised in their applications, under penalty of perjury, that they wouldn’t get involved in elections. Then they did just that.
In other words, there should have been a heavier emphasis on conservative groups since they were responsible for the vast majority of the election spending coming from 501c4s and some of them did exactly what they said they would not do, which justifiably opens the door for further scrutiny by the IRS.
Then the NYT did a study of many of the groups and found they were, in fact, violating their tax status and deserved more intensive investigations. Of particular interest in this article is the bit about Emerge America, a group on the left politically that lost its tax exempt status last year. Look at why they lost theirs then question why some of the conservative groups are still allowed theirs. It’s a fair question and should be answered honestly.
And yesterday we find out the IRS manager who made the call to investigate the groups further, John Shafer, describes himself as a conservative Republican and admits the White House was not involved.
Investigators asked Shafer if he believed the decision to centralize the screening of Tea Party applications was intended to target “the president’s political enemies.”
“I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do, other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development,” the manager answered, according to a transcript released by Cummings.
Asked if he believed the White House was involved, the manager replied: “I have no reason to believe that.”
This situation is only a political scandal if the targeting was in any way political. The facts are clearly showing beyond any doubt that it simply was not political. The bad behavior should still be investigated so it does not occur again since everyone agrees it should never have happened. But this scandal was not political and that side of the story is dead. Time to move on.