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Friday, May 24, 2013

Peggy Noonan on the IRS Scandal

Peggy Noonan writes at the Wall Street Journal about the IRS scandal and how it undermined the 2012 election. (Can conservatives now say that the election was stolen?). She writes:
With all the talk and the hearings and the news reports, it is important to keep the essentials of this story in mind.

First, only conservative groups were targeted in this scandal by the IRS. Liberal or progressive groups were not targeted. The IRS leaked conservative groups' confidential applications and donor lists to liberal groups, never the other way around.

This was a political operation. If it had not been, then the statistics tell us left-wing groups would have been harassed and abused, and seen their applications leaked to the press. There would be a left-wing equivalent to Catherine Engelbrecht.

And all of this apparently took place in the years leading up to the 2012 election. Meaning that before that election, groups that were anti-Obamacare, or pro-life, or pro-Second Amendment or constitutionalist, or had words like 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their name—groups that is that would support Republicans, not Democrats—were suppressed, thwarted, kept from raising money and therefore kept from fully operating.

That is some kind of coincidence. That is some kind of strangely political, strangely partisan, and strangely ideological "poor customer service."

IRS officials have complained that the law is murky, it's difficult to define what the tax exemption law really means. But they don't have any problem defining it. They defined it with a vengeance.

Second, it is important to remember that there has never been an investigation of what happened in the IRS. There was an internal IRS audit, not an investigation, carried out by an inspector general, who was careful this week to note to the House what he'd done was not an investigation. He was tasked to come to conclusions on whether there had been wrongdoing at the agency. It was not his job to find out exactly why it happened, how and when the scandal began, who was involved, and how they operated.

A dead serious investigation is needed. The IRS has colorfully demonstrated that it cannot investigate itself. The Obama administration wants the FBI—which answers to Eric Holder's Justice Department—to investigate, but that would not be credible. The investigators of the IRS must be independent of the administration, or their conclusions will not be trustworthy.

An independent counsel, with all the powers of that office, is what we need.

Again, if what happened at the IRS is not stopped now—if the internal corruption within it is not broken—it will never stop, and never be broken. The American people will never again be able to have the slightest confidence in the revenue-gathering arm of their government. And that, actually, would be tragic.
Bob Krumm notes that Noonan is not quite correct in her conclusion. He thinks it is better that the American people not put their full faith and trust in the government because, quoting from the Federalist #25, that is when people "are most in danger."

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