N.Y. Times blames Bush for IRS scandal

Obama supporters are scrambling to respond to news that IRS employees inappropriately slow-walked right-leaning groups’ applications for non-profit status before the 2011 election.

Videos by Rare

A Saturday piece in The New York Times perfectly epitomizes incoherent leftist efforts to downplay this scandal.

Read the piece here:

The messages are as follows:

  1. These IRS employees were merely functionaries. They certainly weren’t significant or representative of Obama administration efforts to marginalize Tea Party groups who would oppose his reelection.

NYT: Those responsible for this act were “low-level employees in what many in the I.R.S. consider a backwater.”

  1. This mess could be traced to just one rogue operator—it certainly isn’t systemic.

NYT: “the Tea Party cases sat on the desk of a lone specialist.”

  1. That person certainly wasn’t acting out of any sort of sinister bias. He or she was merely overwhelmed and trying to find the best way to sort out the workload.

NYT: This specialist “used ‘political sounding’ criteria — words like ‘patriots,’ ‘we the people’ — as a way to search efficiently through the flood of applications.”

  1. Efficiency, after all, is what this whole thing was about.

NYT: “‘I think that what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection,’ [ousted acting commissioner Steven] Miller testified before a House committee Friday.”

  1. The Obama administration is upset about this! This proves it wasn’t politically motivated.

NYT: “a grim-faced President Obama denounced the “inexcusable” actions of the I.R.S. last week …”


“While ‘intolerable,’ [former acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller] said, it ‘was not an act of partisanship.’”

  1. These poor dummies in Ohio were just trying to do the best they could.

NYT: They worked at an “understaffed Cincinnati outpost that was alienated from the broader I.R.S. culture and given little direction.” [See message 1].

7. Even the dummies’ managers were low ranking and stupid.

NYT: “Overseen by a revolving cast of midlevel managers, stalled by miscommunication with I.R.S. lawyers and executives in Washington and confused about the rules they were enforcing, the Cincinnati specialists flagged virtually every application with Tea Party in its name.”


NYT: “Few if any of the employees were experts on tax law, contributing to waves of questionnaires about groups’ political activity and donors that top officials acknowledge were improper.”

8. These employees are so stupid, they’re not even lawyers.

NYT: “Administering the nearly four-million-word federal tax code involves so many arcane legalities, and is so fraught with potential to ignite Washington’s partisan skirmishes or infuriate taxpayers, that much of the I.R.S. is run by lawyers.

But the Exempt Organizations Division — concentrated in Cincinnati with fewer than 200 workers, according to I.R.S. officials — is staffed mostly with accountants, clerks and civil servants.”

  1. On top of not being lawyers, they were really not cool. And no one wanted to hang out with them—not even other IRS people (especially not the lawyers).

NYT: “Inside the agency, the unit was considered particularly unglamorous. ‘Nobody wants to be a determination agent,’ said Jack Reilly, a former lawyer in the Washington office that oversaw exempt organizations.”

  1. This is really about the fact that they didn’t have the help that they needed, especially from the smart lawyers.

NYT: “One manager there complained that the “technical unit” — lawyers, chiefly in Washington, who advise the specialists on the tax law — had been slow in providing guidance on the applications, according to the inspector general. Over the next several months, the inspector general said, low-level specialists, managers and the lawyers appeared to struggle to come up with a consistent set of criteria and questions to ask the groups.”

  1. Lawyers tried to help them but weren’t heeded because the specialists were too stupid to understand their lawyerliness.

NYT: “Philip Hackney, who was an I.R.S. lawyer in Washington, occasionally reviewed the exempt unit’s work until 2011 and was not involved in the Tea Party cases. He said that several times he and other lawyers revised the procedures the Cincinnati employees devised to scrutinize applicants because their questions might be interpreted as intrusive or politically insensitive.”


“a midlevel official in Washington temporarily overseeing the Cincinnati office told a supervisor there that the guidance [from lawyers] was ‘too lawyerly.’”

  1. This really isn’t even a big deal.

NYT: “It is not unusual for I.R.S. specialists to search for patterns in applications, in part for clues toward fraud and scams — a single tax preparer employing the same tax gambit for multiple clients, for example — and in part to ensure that similar groups are treated in a consistent way, the former officials said.”

  1. They weren’t really even targeting conservative groups.

NYT: “Not all conservative groups that got special scrutiny received follow-up requests for additional information. But some liberal groups did: Progress Texas, part of a national network of liberal advocacy groups, ProgressNow, received a follow-up questionnaire from the I.R.S. in February 2012, similar to the ones many Tea Party groups received, containing 21 questions. It took 479 days for Progress Texas to be approved, officials there said.”

  1. This is Congress’s fault.

NYT: “In recent years … The office was consumed with a different problem: a tweak Congress had made to the tax code that threatened more than 400,000 nonprofit groups around the country with an automatic loss of tax exemption, potentially putting some out of business, according to a report by the Taxpayer Advocate Service, which handles complaints about tax cases.”

  1. This is ultimately Bush’s fault.

NYT: “Republican lawmakers demanded answers from Douglas H. Shulman, the I.R.S. commissioner at the time, who was appointed by President George W. Bush. He said he was unaware that any conservative groups had been targeted — a statement sure to figure in questioning when he testifies on the Hill this week.”

Anneke E. Green is contributing editor at Rare and a senior director at White House Writers Group.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Lying, incompetent gov’t the common thread in Obama’s scandals

Kerry leads from behind as Obama’s Syria strategy crumbles