The facts about the IRS scandal

No one expects government to win any popularity contests, but if our country is to get beyond this IRS scandal – right the wrongs, restore some trust in government and solve problems facing the nation– Republicans and Democrats need to work together to uncover the facts, and a reluctant media needs to report the truth.

By John Wehrung
 
Fueled by an irrational paranoia over the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United coupled with a deep-seeded animosity towards their political ‘enemies,’ the Obama White House, it is becoming abundantly clear, was more involved than it had previously admitted with the unjust targeting of conservatives groups by the IRS.
 
In an unjustifiable process by the Obama IRS begun in 2009, the heavy hand of government has been misused to intimidate and disenfranchise voters in the last two elections and violate the free speech and voting rights of millions of Americans.
 
The dots are there; they just need to be connected in a fair way with politics kept to a minimum.
 
National Review reported that Lois Lerner, director of the Internal Revenue Service under fire for singling out conservative groups, sent letters to 15 such groups from March through April of 2012, which directly links the IRS targeting from the Cincinnati office back to Washington, D.C.
 
The Washington Post recently reported that from 2009-2011, the IRS delayed or denied all but three “tea party” applications, while in the same period it approved applications for 65 “progressive” groups – twenty times that of conservatives.
 
The Daily Caller analyzed the visitor’ log at the White House during the Tea Party targeting, which showed then IRS Chief Doug Shulman had twice as many White House meetings (118) than HHS Secretary Sebilius had (48) and almost three times as many as DHS Secretary Napolitano (41).
 
Additionally, it has been learned that former IRS Chief Shulman’s wife works with a liberal lobbying group called Public Campaign, whose goal is to target political groups like the conservative non-profits at issue in the IRS scandal.   Not so ironically, Public Campaign gets its funding from labor unions like the AFL-CIO, AFSCME and SEIU, and left-leaning groups like MoveOn.org.
 
Rubbing salt on the wound, on Friday news broke that the IRS had skipped the Senate Committee deadline to turn over documents related to the investigation, after ignoring a House Committee deadline from a week before.
 
Just like the U.S. Justice Department, the IRS is one of those powerful government institutions that Americans believe should be operated independently, free of corrupt partisan influence. 
 
So upon hearing the news of this and other scandals in the nation’s capitol, it’s not surprising that the federal government is now about as popular as ants at a picnic.
 
A new Quinnipiac survey shows American’s trust in their government is at a record low, as a mere 15% trust the federal government to do the right thing almost or most the time, while 83% say they trust the feds only some of the time or hardly ever.
 
The deeply troubling IRS actions should be of grave concern to all Americans, not just to those of us who don’t trust big government, but also to the left, who worship an ever-expanding government like a religious cult.
 
While Republicans in Congress have an oversight responsibility with this Administration that they needs to be carried-out responsibly in order to uncover the facts, it’s essential they do so in a smart and cautious approach so as not to let this scandal turn into another partisan grudge match. 
 
As we have seen over the past few decades, the GOP has a knack for fumbling the ball when put in charge of handling big scandals. 
 
And leftists in the media are only too happy to take advantage of Republican blunders, using missteps to turn stories of government corruption into a political game of ‘he said, she said’, reporting the news as, “Republicans accuse Democrats of this, while Democrats accuse Republicans of that.”  This type of reporting leaves Americans to guess what the truth really is.
 
Asking Republicans to walk and chew gum at the same time is one thing; expecting liberals to do the right thing while their leadership is under the microscope is probably too much to ask.
 
However, the left should ponder this: instead of just defending the President and attacking conservatives as usual, liberals should consider not only the precedent this type of reckless behavior will set for a future GOP President, but also how the Obama Administration’s scandals have succeeded in further eroding American’s trust in government.
 
Four out of five Americans expressing a lack of faith in government is a bad omen for those on the left who imagine more government (a la healthcare) as the magic elixir to cure all of our woes.
 
No one expects government to win any popularity contests, but if our country is to get beyond this IRS scandal – right the wrongs, restore some trust in government and solve problems facing the nation– Republicans and Democrats need to work together to uncover the facts, and a reluctant media needs to report the truth.
 
Rather than the typical partisan gamesmanship we are used to from Washington, where the right ham-handedly calls for impeachment at every turn and the left delays, denies and distracts, Republicans would be wise to methodically investigate the facts and reveal the truth while Democrats should let the chips fall where they may.

 

John Wehrung is a conservative commentator and veteran Republican political operative who will soon be audited by the IRS. Email him your sympathies at: jtwehrung@gmail.com

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