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IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman

The recent revelation by the American Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that it was targeting conservative groups was released on Friday. The admission was new but the practice was well known and in fact had been applauded by the New York Times. None-the-less, for the last couple of years, Tea Party organizations and other conservative groups who complained about being targeted were often branded as being paranoid.  Of course they were not.

The IRS story has the potential to be a running scandal in full competition with Benghazi. That is because despite the IRS contention that the practice of selecting conservative groups for extra scrutiny was unknown to upper management, the facts say otherwise. Something that makes their contention that it was never politically motivated also questionable. These actions were definitely not rogue actions of low level agents but something that reached much higher.

Although blaming subordinates is a favorite strategy of mid and upper level government officials this time the claim falls flat. The policy in question was no secret and had even made the editorial pages of the New York Times over a year ago. It was also the center of litigation by conservative group lawyers. Not only does common sense declare what the IRS said Friday a lie so do the facts.

In an exclusive, the Associated Press has found out that the IRS knew what was happening as far back as 2011. Lois Lerner, head of tax exempt group oversight, was told of the practice on June 29th, 2011. Unless department heads are defined by the IRS as low level agents it seems the claim that “no high level agents were aware” was a lie. Her reaction was to instruct the words selected for filtering be changed which about a year later they were. The new filters instead of being more politically neutral seemed designed to only widen the dragnet against conservatives. The original screening words were Tea Party, Patriot and 9/12 (Glenn Beck’s group). They were refined to go after groups that had words relating to limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, or social economic reform/movement. While the new criteria had more potential to snag liberal groups it also dramatically increased the likelihood of auditing conservative organizations.

The fact that this started shortly after the major conservative electoral victory in 2010 and continued right through the 2012 elections makes it all the more suspicious. So does the IRS coming out just before a major investigative report is to be released and lying to the American people. An obvious effort of the IRS to misdirect public opinion. Given the history of Presidential abuses of power this is a issue begging for congressional inquiry. The political implications of what the IRS did are obvious. That it happened with either the implicit or complicit approval of IRS management is also likely.

Both Nixon and Johnson used the IRS as a weapon against their enemies. The FBI has also infamously been used to dig dirt on opponents, most recently by President Clinton. There is, at this point, little to suggest this scandal is connected to the President but that it goes far above overzealous field agents is certain.

Lies are usually meant to coverup more lies. At the center of the web of deceit is a truth that many people do not want to be known. The lies put forth by the IRS are meant to protect someone and the American people deserve to know who.

“The Conservative Mind”

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