President Barack Obama maintains there’s “not even a smidgen of corruption” in the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea party and conservative groups, that it was just the result of “bone-headed decisions” by low-level IRS technocrats.
But testimony at a congressional hearing last week raised red flags about IRS abuse of conservatives that should trouble Americans no matter what their political leanings.
When the IRS revelations broke, Obama promised a full investigation. Yet Cleta Mitchell, an attorney for a number of tea party and conservative groups targeted by the IRS, testified, “None of my clients have received a single contact from the FBI, the DOJ [Department of Justice] or any other investigator regarding the IRS scandal.”
She detailed for a House oversight subcommittee several areas worthy of criminal investigation into the taxman’s singling out conservative groups for special scrutiny and intrusive questioning regarding their nonprofit tax status.
In 2012, then IRS commissioner Doug Shulman told Congress there had been no targeting of tea party groups even though we now know it had been going on since 2009. “The last time I checked, lying to Congress is a felony,” Mitchell said.