I don’t expect brilliance from the MSNBC crowd and I’m never disappointed. This post by Steve Benen is instructive, though, on the Democrats’ strategy for the growing IRS scandal. Some of Mr. Benen’s statements are downright boneheaded. Others are just silly. First, he quoted from something from the Huffington Post:
J. Russell George, the IRS inspector general, told the House Oversight Committee that only in the past few weeks has he become aware of documents showing that the IRS screened progressive groups in addition to conservative ones. George said he was “disturbed” by the fact that these documents were not provided to his team of investigators prior to the audit’s release and that he was continuing to investigate the issue.
“I am concerned that there may be additional pieces of information that we don’t have,” he said. “I’m very concerned about that sir.”
Here’s a sample of the Democrats’ spin:
Oh, you mean “additional pieces of information” such as the fact that liberal groups were subjected to the same scrutiny as conservative groups? And there was no targeting of conservative organizations? And that politics had nothing to do with the added scrutiny?
In Mr. Benen’s delusional world, Cathy Engelbrecht didn’t survive this withering ordeal:
In July 2010 she sent applications to the IRS for tax-exempt status. What followed was not the harassment, intrusiveness and delay we’re now used to hearing of. The U.S. government came down on her with full force.
In December 2010 the FBI came to ask about a person who’d attended a King Street Patriots function. In January 2011 the FBI had more questions. The same month the IRS audited her business tax returns. In May 2011 the FBI called again for a general inquiry about King Street Patriots. In June 2011 Engelbrecht’s personal tax returns were audited and the FBI called again. In October 2011 a round of questions on True the Vote. In November 2011 another call from the FBI. The next month, more questions from the FBI. In February 2012 a third round of IRS questions on True the Vote. In February 2012 a first round of questions on King Street Patriots. The same month the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms did an unscheduled audit of her business. (It had a license to make firearms but didn’t make them.) In July 2012 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did an unscheduled audit. In November 2012 more IRS questions on True the Vote. In March 2013, more questions. In April 2013 a second ATF audit.
When Mr. Benen can show me a single time when a progressive organization received this much governmental scrutiny, then I’ll pay attention.
That’s before talking about John Eastman’s testimony to Darrell Issa’s committee:
In March 2012, NOM’s 2008 federal tax return (form 990-Schedule B)—which listed the names and addresses of NOM donors—was uploaded to the websites of the Human Rights Campaign and the Huffington Post. Computer analysts determined that the document’s leak came from within the IRS.
According to Eastman, “the willful unauthorized public disclosure of NOM’s 2008 Schedule B by the IRS or its employees is a violation of federal law. Indeed, it is a serious felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five years in federal prison, penalties that apply both to IRS and other government employees and third parties.”
It’s worth noting that Benen can’t say that progressive organizations had their confidential IRS donor files leaked to conservative organizations. The IRS did, however, leak this information to a vindictive progressive organization. Then there’s the case of Kevin Kookogey:
Kevin Kookogey, president of Linchpins of Liberty, was the first to testify. In his opening statement, he said he applied for 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit educational organization, but as of today has been waiting 29 months to be granted that status by the IRS. He said the IRS asked him to identify the political affiliations of his mentors and his political position on many issues.
He was also told to inform the federal government “in detail” what he would be teaching students and who he was “training.” Kookogey asked what would have happened if he had turned over the names of students, including minors, to the IRS, saying he could have faced legal action from parents.
Why haven’t any progressive organizations reported suffering through these types of abuses? It isn’t like this issue just popped up. It’s been around a few years.
Democrats are pushing the ‘liberal groups got harassed, too’ storyline. It’s a phony storyline. It’s been verified that 292 TEA Party and like-minded conservative organizations were harassed. All of their applications were held in abeyance so they couldn’t even appeal the IRS’ ruling. By comparison, 19 liberal/progressive organizations were subjected to additional scrutiny. Six were rejected, the rest approved.
The reality is that Mr. Benen is a blowhard who isn’t interested in the truth.