David Frum

05.10.13

Heads Should Roll at the IRS

The IRS has admitted to targetting conservative political groups:

The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.

Organizations were singled out because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.

In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.

"That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

"The IRS would like to apologize for that," she added.

I'm with the blogger "Digby":

Here's the thing: they went after the little guys, the grassroots groups. I happen to think the Tea Party is a blight our politics, but I sure as hell think they have a right to engage in political activism without being singled out and harassed.

And anyway, the real bad guys in the dark money world of politics are the big institutional groups on both sides who have been abusing their tax exempt status for years. It's led to a total debasement of the political system. If the IRS chose to take a look at some of them, it might make sense. But going after the Tea Party groups based on the fact that they have the words "patriot" in their name is so ironic I honestly don't know what to say.

Perfect time for a nice little bipartisan hearing featuring the Internal Revenue Service. Popcorn for all involved.