IRS hearing tomorrow has what conservatives crave

An official at the heart of the reported IRS program of scrutinizing conservatives groups will testify in front of a House committee Wednesday. It’s shaping up to be quite a show:

TPM — The official in charge of the exempt organizations division at center of the targeting scandal plaguing the Internal Revenue Service plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment, refusing to testify before a House oversight hearing this week. “She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” an attorney for Lois Lerner told committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) in a letter obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.

Since she intends not to answer questions, the letter requests Lerner be exempt from the Wednesday hearing because her appearance would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.”

Lerner initially revealed during a Q&A session in Washington that Internal Revenue Service agents employed at the Cincinnati branch office improperly scrutinized conservative non-profit groups for additional reviews from 2010 to 2012. Lerner only recently disclosed that the question was planted, however.

Oh, it will serve a purpose alright. All Republicans will have to do is ask various versions of “Was this entire dirty scandal orchestrated by Kenyan-Muslim usurper Barack Hussein Obama?” over and over. And she’ll answer again and again, “On the advice of my attorney I plead the fifth,” and bazzom! Assuming it’s open to the public, and probably even if it’s not, the usual suspects will have a great soundbite for political attack ads and probably a brouhaha of as yet unknown proportions.

I understand all that, the arc is as predictable as an artillery shell fired on the moon. What I don’t get is why conservatives didn’t go apeshit over this IRS deal when it was first revealed back in October. It has everything they crave, like plants crave Brawndo, Teaparty, IRS and taxes, gubmint tyranny; it seems like election 2012 would have been the best time to roll it out.


  1. machintelligence says

    Both parties knew about it in March 2012. They apparently didn’t worry about it until recently.

    In a statement accompanying the letter, Welch’s office urged the IRS to “investigate whether nonprofit 501(c)(4) organizations affiliated with Super PACs—such as Crossroads GPS, the Karl Rove-backed group spending millions of dollars in campaigns across the country—are in violation of federal law and IRS regulations.”

    Issa, for his part, sent a letter on March 27, 2012 in concert with Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio, who sits on House Oversight and chairs its Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, asking the agency to look into the Tea Party group complaints about excessive information requests.

    “Over the past several weeks the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent many organizations, operating under tax exempt status, lengthy and detailed questionnaires,” Issa and Jordan wrote to Lois Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, footnoting the above Roll Call story and a report in CNSNews as their sources. “These questionnaires ask for information well beyond the scope of typical disclosures required under IRS Form 1024….[S]everal experts suggest these recent IRS questionnaires exceed appropriate scrutiny.”

  2. John Kruger says

    I still don’t understand how this is a scandal, when not even one of the groups in question lost or was denied tax exempt status, even though there are quite a few legitimate grounds for doing so in several cases.

    Help! Help! We are getting preferential treatment, but they are asking questions! SCANDAL!

  3. Scr... Archivist says

    Did they only scrutinize conservative groups? And were any groups denied the status?

  4. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Scr…Archivist at 3- As I understand it upwards of 300 various group were subject to such scrutiny, only around a 1/3 of them were conservative groups. None of the conservative groups were denied tax exempt status though I’m not sure about the others. There have been claims made that the conservative groups were placed under greater scrutiny than other groups but I’m not sure how much that holds up.

  5. a miasma of incandescent plasma says

    I expect to see Sarah Palin curled in the fetal position in a corner muttering to herself repeatedly “Brought to you by Carl’s Jr. Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.”

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