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Bryan Preston

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May 14, 2013 - 3:47 pm

The HuffPost has obtained the IG report on the Internal Revenue Service’s longstanding targeting of conservatives. The headline out of the report is that it’s all due to “ineffective management.”

The much-anticipated report notes that the IRS suffered from “ineffective management” which allowed for agency officials to discriminate against Tea Party groups, often resulting in “substantial delays” in process applications and “unnecessary” information requests. The tax agency has taken some action to remedy this, the report found. But more needs to be done so that “the public has reasonable assurance that applications are process without unreasonable delay in a fair and impartial manner.”

The IRS would be in charge of enforcing ObamaCare, which was already a chilling thought before this scandal. Now the thought that rogue IRS agents could impact your healthcare without anyone in Washington paying any attention ought to be grounds all by itself to get the IRS out of healthcare immediately.

But is bad management really to blame here? The IRS’ pattern of abuse appears to comport with what Democrats including Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Max Baucus wanted the agency to do, and with the Obama campaign’s behavior toward Romney donors. Both senators publicly called for Tea Party groups, which Reid once called “shadowy,” to be investigated. These groups were, in some cases having their applications derailed for 13 months or even 3 years. Rev. Franklin Graham is among the leaders whose groups were targeted, according to Politico. There were, additionally, more groups involved than the IRS has let on. They claim that about 300 groups were targeted, but Congress is now saying that it’s closer to 500. There also remains the question of just how much of the agency’s “ineffective management” knew about all this. In her apology last week, Lois Lerner claimed that it was all limited to the Cincinnati office. That has turned out to be untrue; it was at least known about and managed from Washington.

While the IRS was supposedly plagued by “ineffective management,” Lerner sped through approving a “charity” run by no less than President Obama’s half-brother, according to the Daily Caller.

Lois Lerner, the senior IRS official at the center of the decision to target Tea Party groups for burdensome tax scrutiny, signed paperwork granting tax-exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a shady charity headed by the president’s half-brother that operated illegally for years.

According to the organization’s filings, Lerner approved the Foundation’s tax status within a month of filing, an unprecedented timeline that stands in stark contrast to conservative organizations that have been waiting for more than three years, in some cases, for approval.

Lerner also appears to have broken with the norms of tax-exemption approval by granting retroactive tax-exempt status to Malik Obama’s organization.

More at the link. No one has been disciplined for any of this, so far. No one has been disciplined for leaking information from nine of the groups’ applications to the media, either. Those applications were in process, and were therefore not yet public information. They were leaked quite efficiently to ProPublica, a left-leaning online journalism outlet.

The IRS scandal isn’t adding up to “ineffective management.” The IRS began its “be on the lookout” targeting of Tea Party groups in early 2010 and was managing its bias against the president’s enemies with notable effectiveness.

The similarity between the IRS’ behavior and the Obama campaign’s behavior suggests that the president or those closest to him, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and people at that level of access to him, gave some level of approval to this whole thing. It could merely have come in the one job Jay Carney acknowledges that the president actually does — setting the tone. Obama has set a tone of targeting his enemies from the beginning of his administration.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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