The news here isn’t really that the IRS targeted 501(c)4 groups for their political affiliation --- we’ve been aware for a long time of their efforts to do that --- but that, as part of a settlement between the DOJ and Tea Party groups, they’ve actually issued an apology. The IRS almost never apologizes to anyone for anything. But in response, the wronged groups had essentially two words for the IRS.
No, not those two words. Well, maybe those, too. But the words I’m thinking of are a sarcastically-delivered “Gee, thanks.”
Don’t blame Tea Party groups for having a tepid reaction to the long-awaited apology. The damage was done to them (and, arguably, to the country) during the 2012 elections, when instead of fighting to preserve the Constitution and elect leaders who favored limited government, simpler and fairer taxes, and sane spending, they were forced to lawyer-up and fight for their own existence. The hearings with Lois Lerner didn’t take place until 2013; by then, Barack Obama had already been safely re-elected. And we all know how much he respected the Constitution.
It’s not even a very good apology. In his statement, Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions made it very clear what the IRS had done and how unacceptable it is, but the apology from the IRS avoids specifics. Here’s the text:
“The IRS admits that its treatment of Plaintiffs during the tax-exempt determination process, including screening their applications based on their names or policy positions, subjecting those applications to heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays, and demanding some of Plaintiffs’ information that that the TIGTA determined was unnecessary to the agency’s determination of their tax-exempt status, was wrong. For such treatment, the IRS expresses its sincere apology.”
Notice that they never admit deliberately targeting these groups. (And spare me the chin music about some progressive groups being targeted as well. If a few were targeted by this bunch, it was most likely to cover their tracks or because they happened to have a suspicious word in their name, like “American.”) If this had been nothing more than innocent mismanagement, Lois Lerner would have simply explained how it happened instead of pleading the Fifth, heading off to retirement, and never apologizing for a thing.
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