President Obama is in his second term. Second terms don't always go well.
Benghazi testimony has been center stage in Washington this week and rightfully so.
Now today the IRS steps forward and apologizes for its targeting of the Tea Party for extra scrutiny during the 2012 election campaign.
My guess is this IRS story may end up being the biggest one of the year. We'll just have to wait and see how it develops.
IRS Apologizes for Scrutiny of Conservative Groups says this:
"An Internal Revenue Service official apologized Friday for improperly targeting
conservative, tea-party groups for extra scrutiny during the 2012 campaign.
At a tax conference in Washington, Lois Lerner, head of the IRS
tax-exempt-organizations division, said employees in the Cincinnati office in
charge of reviewing tax-exempt organizations selected groups for extra screening
based in part on their names—focusing, for example, on ones with "tea party" in
their names, according to people who attended the panel.
The employees also asked the groups inappropriate questions in the course of
the review, including seeking the identities of their donors. Tea-party groups
have complained often to lawmakers about IRS scrutiny and delays in processing
their applications for 501(c)(4) status. Groups with that status aren't required
to disclose the identities of their donors.
Ms. Lerner apologized for the inappropriate review, according to several
people who attended. . . .
"Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political
or partisan rationale," the agency said in a statement later. . . .
The IRS decided to centralize the applications for review at the Cincinnati
office, the agency said.
"While centralizing cases for consistency made sense, the way we initially
centralized them did not," the IRS statement said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), the top Republican on the Finance Committee,
said in a statement on Friday: "While I'm glad to see the IRS apologize for
unfairly targeting conservative groups, this frankly isn't enough. We need to
have ironclad guarantees from the IRS that it will adopt significant protocols
to ensure this kind of harassment of groups that have a constitutional right to
express their own views never happens again."
He said that "the IRS being turned into a political weapon…has a chilling
and, frankly, Nixonian effect on those who wish to speak their mind."
IRS officials "fixed the situation last year and have made significant
progress in moving the centralized cases through our system," the agency said in
Here's my question. Who is the person (or persons) that told the IRS agents to target the Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny during the 2012 presidential campaign?
This one doesn't pass the smell test, and it's certainly not the American way.
At the very least, it will be very interesting to watch the denials of any politics by the Democratic Party, the White House and the IRS, even though both the Benghazi fiasco and tragedy and the IRS Tea Party targeting occurred shortly prior to the presidential election last year.
Quite a coincidence.
That's my take.