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What scandals?

"What scandals?" Continued...

This is in line with a recent House Ways and Means Committee report of more than 100 groups—both conservative and left-leaning—that applied for tax-exempt status with the IRS. The report found that conservative groups were asked an average of three times more questions than liberal groups when the IRS sent letters for additional information. While only 46 percent of the conservative groups in the review gained approval, all the groups with the word “progressive” in their name gained tax-exempt approval by the IRS. There are still 56 conservative groups with outstanding cases before the IRS, according to the committee’s report.

“Congress will continue to investigate how the targeting began, why it was allowed to continue for so long, and what the IRS is doing to resolve this,” said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., the chairman of the committee.

Issa has sent a letter to the IRS claiming that the agency has “attempted to delay, frustrate, impede, and obstruct the Committee’s investigation.” He claims there are 64 million pages of documents identified by the IRS relating to this targeting scandal. But the agency has only turned in 12,000 pages (0.019 percent) of those documents to the House Oversight Committee.

Despite labeling the IRS activities a phony scandal, Obama still thought it necessary to name a new head of the tax agency. On Thursday the president announced that John Koskinen, who has experience as a crisis manager in both the corporate and government world, would be the new commissioner of the IRS. Koskinen has donated $25,600 to Democratic candidates and causes since 2007, including $7,300 to Obama. That may give conservatives pause considering he has been tapped to help the IRS overcome its tendency to target conservative groups.

But Koskinen, 74, helped mortgage buyer Freddie Mac survive its implosion during the financial crisis. He also helped a failed life insurance company, Mutual Benefit Life, and a bankrupt transportation company, Penn Central, reorganize. But this may be Koskinen’s first attempt to restructure an organization undergoing a phony scandal.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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