Mark Caserta: IRS corruption meets ‘smidgen’ standard

26 Jun


Jun. 26, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

President Obama appears determined to eclipse his Politifact “Lie of the Year” regarding Obamacare with his position on the recent IRS debacle.

In response to a question about the IRS investigation during a recent interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, President Obama emphatically declared that “not even a smidgen of corruption” was involved in the IRS scandal.

In fact, the president has referenced it as one of a number of GOP fabricated “phony scandals.”

Really, Mr. President?

Not only do I believe this is quintessential partisan corruption for political gain, this incredulous journey has brought to light the conniving, liberal factions of the Internal Revenue Service and their abusive overreach into American’s lives.

In August 2010, the IRS circulated the first “Be on the lookout” list to its tax exempt screener and evaluator unit, commissioning minions to flag applications with key words such as “Tea Party” and “Patriots.”

In June 2011, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., sent a letter to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman inquiring about IRS targeting of taxpayers who donated money to conservative groups, as well as information regarding audits of 501(c)(4) organizations.

In July 2011, the IRS responded to Chairman Camp’s letter with assurances “that the IRS’s actions in this area were in no way influenced by political considerations.”

In March 2012, during a hearing of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, Commissioner Shulman was asked about reports that the IRS has been unfairly targeting Tea Party groups. Shulman responded, “I can give you assurance, there is absolutely no targeting.”

However, complaints were pouring in from conservative groups regarding questionable IRS application forms and difficulties securing tax-exempt status.

A March 2012 follow-up letter sent by Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darryl Issa, R-Calif., to IRS Exempt Organization Division Director Lois Lerner requested additional information related to the reports that conservative groups were receiving “extra scrutiny” from the IRS.

In April 2012, Director Lerner responded to Chairman Issa’s letter that “the ordinary course of the application process” was in place for securing tax-exempt status.

Months of investigation began exposing irrefutable proof that the IRS had unfairly audited conservative Tea Party organizations far more than others.

In February 2013, Lerner publicly admitted the IRS had indeed targeted taxpayers based on their political stance. Lerner then wrongly attempted to blame the entire perusal on two “rogue” front-line workers in a Cincinnati office.

In a May 2013 Oversight Committee hearing, after reading an opening statement asserting her innocence in the scandal, Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment. A “repeat performance” in March 2014 saw her held in contempt of Congress.

And now, with GOP lawmakers closing in on the truth, the IRS expects Americans to believe that Lerner’s emails from a two-year period during the scandal’s timeline have disappeared, along with emails from six other IRS employees, and that “unfortunately” the hard drives also were destroyed.

To deny this masquerade is a blatant, government cover-up would be simply nonsensical.

But for President Obama to deny even a “smidgen” of corruption exists in this IRS atrocity is, well, predictable.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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