The IRS Scandal is not over despite repeated attempts from the left to sweep the scandal under the rug. Even if the IRS included progressive groups on its infamous “be on the lookout” (BOLO) list, there is still a big distinction between flagging and harassing.
Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp said that, for conservative groups, the scrutiny from the IRS went well beyond being placed on a so-called be on the lookout list, which often served as the first step for groups that were flagged.
“So far, the evidence only shows conservatives being systematically targeted by the IRS, not just flagged through the BOLO, but actually targeted,” Camp said.
Further, although Congressional Democrats leaked plenty of heavily redacted documents, there is nothing in them to support the idea that progressive groups were treated the same as conservative groups. There is nothing indicating that left-leaning groups were harassed as the IRS admits it harassed conservative groups.
“A November 2010 version of the [BOLO] list … suggests that while the list did contain the word‘progressive,’” National Review Online’s Eliana Johnson writes, “screeners were in fact instructed to treat ‘progressive’ groups differently from ‘tea party’ groups.”
“Whereas screeners were merely alerted that a designation of 501(c)(3) status ‘may not be appropriate’for applications containing the word ‘progressive’ – 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from conducting any political activities– they were told to send those of tea-party groups off IRS higher-ups for further scrutiny,” she adds.
Basically, IRS agents could approve progressive groups on the spot while the flagged conservative groups would be sent further up the chain for additional scrutiny.
In short, there
“is no indication … that progressive groups were singled out for heightened scrutiny in a manner similar to tea-party groups,” Johnson writes.
Finally, if the IRS also targeted and harassed progressive groups, where are they? Why hasn’t a single progressive group come forward yet and told their story about how they received extra scrutiny, which infringed their rights like countless conservative groups have experienced?
Lois Lerner, one of the IRS officials in the middle of this scandal, made a scene in May when she was called before Congress and invoked her Fight Amendment right to remain silent. If the IRS treated all political groups the same, then why didn’t she say, “We scrutinized everyone equally?”
The claim that targeting and “BOLO”ing are remotely equal may have a more sinster motive. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa accused Democrats of trying to stall congressional probes of the IRS.
“Our Democratic colleagues should stop trying to derail the investigation by defending IRS officials with distorted claims equating the systematic scrutiny of tea party groups with the more routine screening progressive groups received,” Issa said.“Tea party groups and progressive groups were treated very differently by the IRS.”
Additionally, there are staggering amounts of loose ends that need to be addressed before we can say the IRS scandal is “deflated” in any way. Also we still don’t have answers to even the most basic questions about the scandal such as: Who did the targeting? Who authorized the targeting?
This scandal is not even close to over until we have some answers as Senator Pat Toomey put it:
“Soon we are going to have to get answers to basic questions from the IRS”