Even the left is starting to take notice. For months, the Democratic Party has tried to dismiss the IRS targeting of conservative groups in 2012 as a “phony scandal,” at worst the misguided efforts of a few low-level staffers.
But the latest development — the unbelievable claim that years’ worth of emails have been lost — is forcing the left to acknowledge there’s something to the scandal.
Writing about Rep. Paul Ryan, Slate magazine’s chief political correspondent John Dickerson said the IRS is getting what it deserves.
“It’s the IRS’ business to be in our business — so Ryan is giving them the business,” Dickerson writes. “It’s hard to think of a federal agency that is less forgiving about record keeping. If you are audited, the IRS wants you to move fast. Not only do you have to keep your records for years, as Ryan says, but the IRS wants you to move quick like a bunny. And the entire process has one subliminal message to it: ‘I don’t believe you.’ That is exactly what Ryan said to the IRS commissioner, who took umbrage. Now he knows how it feels.”
The whole IRS scandal has transcended partisan politics — the convenient excuse for some many of President Barack Obama’s scandals — because Americans have plenty of experience with the agency.
“Democrats mocked the elaborate displays of outrage at the hearing — always a safe thing to do — but you don’t have to share Ryan’s view that the IRS is engaged in a cover-up of a scheme to target conservatives to recognize a more universal element to Ryan’s anger,” Dickerson writes. “The IRS expects all of us to maintain rigid compliance, spelunk-on-demand for every receipt, and is highly skeptical of what might be garden-variety mistakes until we prove otherwise.”
This hasn’t kept many Democrats from trying to portray the scandal as a Republican witch-hunt.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett said it’s a GOP “conspiracy.”
What Democrats would like to do is turn the discussion into a debate over the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision — which, being a Supreme Court decision, is beyond debate since the matter is settled. But because they don’t like the outcome of that case, they apparently feel justified in sending in the IRS to do what the Supreme Court said it couldn’t — silence groups with 501c4 designations.
“I believe this is a serious matter,” Doggett said last week. “The use of secret money is a problem enough. But the determination to have that money be taxpayer subsidized in social welfare organizations, in some cases headed by individuals who never had any interest in social welfare until they could claim it for themselves to pollute our democracy, that is a serious problem.”
Of course, no Democrat is taking issue with spending by left-leaning groups (unions fall under the same 501c4 designation). And being “tax exempt” isn’t the same as being “taxpayer subsidized” — unless you assume that all money belongs to the government.
But many on the left are coming around and acknowledging there’s a real scandal and possibly a real coverup here.