A reader writes:
Did you see this new development? It has come out that the Inspector General’s report on the IRS was deliberately limited to only discussing Tea Party groups, and the IG says it was Congressional Republicans who ordered this limitation. In other words, the whole “scandal” was ginned up from the start. It’s not just that the IRS was targeting progressive groups also, but that the entire IG report was deliberately skewed, with undisclosed parameters, to create the false impression that Tea Party groups were being singled out. Now the IG and the Republicans are pointing the finger at each other, and the only scandal concerns the investigation itself.
Garance has a great post about the IG himself. It seems to me that the more we learn about this, the clearer it is that Bush appointee J Russell George should resign. We have no evidence whatever that the White House was involved in any way, and we now know that the IRS scrutiny included left-liberal groups, and yet the Inspector General, fully aware of these facts, testified under oath:
This is unprecedented, Congressman …. During the Nixon Administration, there were attempts to use the Internal Revenue Service in manners that might be comparable in terms of misusing it.
Did he ever cop to the fact that progressive and liberal groups were also targeted?
In May, George declined to answer questions about whether progressive groups were targeted, a kind of cageyness that now raises questions about his impartiality in presenting findings about what went on at the IRS.
At the May 22 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing “The IRS: Targeting Americans for Their Beliefs,” Chairman Darrell Issa asked George point-blank about “be on the lookout” orders: “Were there any BOLOs issued for progressive groups, liberal groups?”
“Sir, this is a very important question,” the courtly George replied. “Please, I beg your indulgence …. The only ‘be on the lookout,’ that is BOLO, used to refer cases for political review were the ones that we described within our report.”
That’s either perjury or incompetence. But almost certainly perjury. He should resign.
(Photo: J. Russell George, Treasury inspector general for tax administration, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill May 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller and others appeared before to committee to testify about the targeting of politically conservative 501(c)(4) groups applying for tax exempt status. By Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.)