On Wednesday, our own Sarah Jones detailed how the so-called IRS ‘scandal’ had shown itself to be absolutely nothing. She also stated that Republicans were trying to find a way to sulk away from their over-the-top accusations over the past year. Well, it seems that there are still some members of Congress that are seeing if they can still make some hay from this non-issue.
During a recent subcommittee hearing conducted by the House Ways and Means Committee, Republicans continued to push their false accusations that the President somehow committed crimes against conservative political groups by using the IRS to audit them. For most sane people at this point, the so-called IRS ‘scandal’ is non-existent. It has been pretty much established now that there was no specific targeting of Tea Party groups by the Obama Administration for political payback.
Instead, there was a large influx of conservative political groups applying for tax-exempt status in the wake of President Obama’s first election victory. Therefore, employees at the IRS placed a number of these political groups, many of whom were associated with the Tea Party, on BOLO (Be On the Look Out) lists and requested further information before approving their tax-exempt statuses. Essentially, these groups were obviously political in nature, and in order to get tax-exempt status, they needed to show that the majority of their actions went towards ‘social welfare’ rather than political activities.
In hindsight, this seems pretty damn logical. In May 2013, the Ways and Means Committee was provided with a breakdown of the employees’ 5,500 emails from that time period where the discussions revolved around clarification and not political targeting. The fact that the majority of those placed on the BOLO lists were conservative was simply because the majority of the political organizations filing for exemption were conservative in nature. Nothing more, nothing less. There was no evidence that political motivation kept certain Tea Party groups from quickly receiving tax-exempt status.
However, even in the present, House Republicans cannot let it go and are still claiming that crimes were committed. Dana Milbank at the Washington Post published an article on Wednesday detailing that subcommittee hearing that he attended. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) stated that President Obama was incorrect during his Super Bowl interview when he said that there was no corruption found at the IRS. That the subcommittee’s investigation had shown otherwise. Of course, when Milbank pressed staff members after the fact, they said that Boustany did not mean to make that allegation.
However, Boustany may have just been following the lead of the House Ways and Means Chairman, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), who also said that the investigation into the IRS didn’t clear the Obama Administration. “Nowhere in our investigation have we found that to be the case,” said Camp. It appears that the GOP is going to continue a witch hunt despite any and all evidence showing that nothing happened. Why? Because, Obama.
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), pressed Boustany about his accusations against the President and IRS. Boustany merely replied that the investigation wasn’t complete. Which is pretty funny considering that he and Camp had no problem levying accusations of a crime being committed. So, let me get this straight. It’s OK to assume a crime has been committed though there is no evidence of such and an investigation has been going on for a long time. However, if someone calls you on your BS and asks for evidence supporting this accusation, you just have to say the investigation isn’t complete, right? I just want to clear that up.