In the latest bid to whitewash the IRS’s administrative attack on conservative groups, Democrats and their media friends are touting IRS documents that appear to show liberal-leaning, “progressive” causes were getting stomped on by IRS screeners, too, so it was a bipartisan affair.
A story that first appeared in the Associated Press is being followed by coverage in the Huffington Post, NPR and the other usual suspects reporting that IRS documents provided by congressional Democrats show show that liberal groups were appearing on the tax agency’s “Be on the Lookout” lists – just like those pesky tea party conservatives in Ohio.
The news even got MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to proclaim Monday night, “This whole thing is over now, right?”
Not quite. There’s a big problem with the story-line. Nobody can find liberal groups that were actually hurt by the scandal.
Here’s a key paragraph from the AP report:
“Neither the IRS document obtained by the AP or the 15 IRS lists of terms addressed how many progressive groups received close scrutiny or how the agency treated their requests. Dozens of conservative groups saw their applications experience lengthy delays, and they received unusually intrusive questions about their donors and other details that agency officials have conceded were inappropriate.”
“Dozens of conservative” groups reported experiencing the IRS harassment first-hand, from delays in their applications for tax-exempt status to “inappropriate” questions about their donors, beliefs or intentions.
And those complaints came early and often, eventually leading to congressional inquiries. In March of 2012, more than a year ago, the House Ways and Means Committee was citing specific questions asked of specific conservative groups and asking the IRS to justify them.
So far, progressive groups that claim to have been targeted by the IRS have been almost non-existent, except for an outfit called Progress Texas, which PolitiFact has found has a questionable relationship with what the rest of the world calls “the truth.”
So, even if the AP report is correct, and that there was an official IRS policy that called for liberal groups to get the same scrutiny as conservative groups, progressive groups were unofficially immune to the practice.
Only conservatives got the intrusive questions about their practices and donors, the warnings about their future actions. Only conservative groups had their confidential information leaked by the IRS to a hostile media.
That doesn’t make it bipartisan at all. It makes it even worse.
Here’s Maddow on her show:
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