The root of all (IRS) evil

It's an absolute travesty that the tax collection agency was ever the arbiter of political speech

Internal Revenue Service Director Lois Lerner
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Plenty of ink and outrage has been spilled after the exposure of the efforts at the IRS to target groups applying for tax-exempt status on the basis of their politics. At one level, the outrage has been bipartisan; both Democrats and Republicans on House and Senate committees expressed anger and determination to get to the bottom of the scandal. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, compared the harassment employed by IRS agents to the machinations of the Soviet Union, and warned that excuse-making and cover-ups would force him to call for a special prosecutor in the case.

That's not to say that partisanship hasn't emerged amid the outrage. On one hand, critics of the IRS claim with plenty of justification that their scrutiny intentionally benefited supporters of President Barack Obama and his administration while handcuffing his opposition through not one but two election cycles. USA Today analyzed the raw data from the inspector general's audit and determined that no Tea Party or conservative group got an application approved for 27 months, while dozens of groups with progressive orientation managed to win tax-exempt status, enabling them to raise funds and organize more effectively.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.