The Internal Revenue Service is feeling the heat after admitting that they unfairly targeted some conservative groups when applying for federal tax-exempt status. The political profiling primarily leveled at the Tea Party, is now seeing its share of investigations, congressional hearings and full-blown scandal in just a few days of being publicized.
Wednesday, President Obama held a news conference relating how upset he is with the controversy, vowing to find who’s responsible. Also in the wake, acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller will be stepping down, months after knowing of the agency’s targeting of conservative groups but denying it when questioned before an oversight committee.
Officials with the IRS say some applicants applying for tax-exempt status were reviewed with further scrutiny than others if they were affiliated with the terms “tea party” or “patriot” in their name. Several Tea Party groups reported stalls and an unreasonable amount of questioning in regards to their applications. Complaints came in droves and the IRS had little left to do, but admit the wrong.
After the apology, the excuse that it wasn’t politically motivated followed with claims that it was done as a shortcut were given to save face. “Rogue” employees are being blamed for the overly aggressive handling of request from Tea Party groups. Now Republican leaders are accusing the whole Obama administration of being involved in the allegations.
This is just the newest scandal brewing in the current administration’s second term, but this type of political profiling has been seen before. A quick Google search shows the use of IRS as a political weapon in targeting opponents go as far back as the 1930s. Typically it manages to escape from congressional oversight, but Tea Party representatives are calling it out and U.S. Attorney General has ordered a criminal investigation.
While the allegations of the corruption initially came from the Cincinnati office, conduct of IRS offices nationwide will be looked at. An investigation by the FBI could potentially include civil rights violations, false statements and violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees in taking part in partisan political activities.
Not for nothin’ but, does “a few bad apples” apply in this situation too? We heard the Tea Party movement give that answer in response to charges of racism, nationalism and bigotry. Sounds like a little turnabout is fair play. There have been several instances where we’ve seen supporters and even founders of the movement display questionable behavior. It’s kind of ironic to hear them say they’re being profiled. Not saying that the IRS is warranted in their unfair treatment of any group, that shouldn’t be tolerated. Unfair behavior of any kind to anyone, shouldn’t be tolerated.