Who first disclosed the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS?
The question in the headline above is one the right-wing conspiratorialists seem never to ask themselves.
Who blew the whistle on the IRS?
Was it investigative reporters from the mainstream media, as was the case with the Watergate scandal? No.
Was it Fox News or any other conservative news outlet? No.
Was it some member of Congress? No.
Was it some Republican activist? No.
Was it some conscience-stricken leaker at the White House? No.
So who did it?
Answer: The IRS did it.
The inspector general of the IRS had quietly investigated evidence of the targeting of conservative groups, and when it’s report was completed, Lois Lerner, who heads up the tax-exempt division at the IRS, disclosed the report’s existence during an American Bar Association Conference on May 10. Within hours, the story was big news.
Did this big news bring an end to such targeting of conservative groups? No. That ended last spring.
All of this leads to other questions:
If it’s true, as some right-wingers now say, that this targeting of conservative groups was done at President Obama’s direct or implied behest, why did this same presumably compliant agency blow the whistle on itself?
Why did Lois Lerner alert the nation to the forthcoming release of the inspector general’s report?
If Obama knew about the IG’s report beforehand, why didn’t he take specific steps to soften its potential political impact on his administration?
Perhaps the biggest question in all of this is why so many groups, liberal and conservative alike, get away with posing as social welfare organizations to gain tax-exempt status when their activities are mainly political.