Last Friday, I critiqued a piece by Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan for inaccurately summarizing the media coverage of the IRS scandal. I encourage you to read both pieces, but in a nutshell Nyhan was arguing that the media had failed to report on new developments since the scandal broke that would reshape our understanding of the scandal as being less driven by partisanship.
Over at the Columbia Journalism Review, political scientist Brendan Nyhan has a piece dismissing the IRS scandal out-of-hand and gently scolding the media for for acting irresponsibly in their coverage. You get the thrust in the first two paragraphs:
At this point, the evidence on the Internal Revenue Service scandal is clear. Contrary to the initial hype, there is no credible evidence of White House involvement in targeting conservative groups or even evidence that Tea Party or other conservative groups were targeted exclusively. It turns out that the keyword lists used by the IRS to target groups applying for tax-exempt status for additional scrutiny also included terms like “Occupy” and “Progressive” as well as “occupied territories” and “open source software.”
During his speech on the economy last month in Galesburg, Illinois, Barack Obama suggested Washington should stop focusing on an “endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals.” He repeated the line about “phony scandals” in another speech on July 25 and in his weekly address on July 27. Obama, whose approval rating has been falling since the spring, has been rocked by months of scandal coverage. His administration’s strategy to change the subject, it seems, is to channel its inner Holden Caulfield.
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on the de-fund vs. delay Obamacare debate, the so-called 'phony' scandals that aren't going away, and the Chris Christie/Rand Paul schoolyard brawl.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew refused to say on national TV this morning whether the politically appointed counsel of the IRS, William Wilkins, has been asked about his participation in the federal agency's scandal:
"Chris, I am leaving the investigation to the proper people who do investigations," said Lew. "I don't think it's appropriate for me to do the investigation."
As witnesses have testified to the House Ways and Means Committee, the chief counsel for the Internal Revenue Service may have played a role in the IRS’s practice of reserving special scrutiny for Tea Party and other conservative political groups. William Wilkins, chief counsel and one of two political appointees at the IRS, was “closely involved in some of the applications” for tax-exempt status, according to a press release from the committee.
Career IRS employees have testified on Capitol Hill that the federal agency's chief counsel played a part in the scandal of targeting conseratives, the House Ways and Means Committee announced today in a press release. As a result, House Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa, Ways and Means Subcommittee chair Charles Boustany Jr, and Oversight Subcommittee chair Jim Jordan have sent a letter to the IRS requesting "new documents related to IRS employee discussions about the 2010 election, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, and the tax-exempt status of Tea Party groups," a press release announces.
The House of Representatives will take up a bill that would stop the Department of the Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Services, from implementing and enforcing the provisions of Obamacare. The bill, authored by Georgia Republican Tom Price and co-sponsored by 114 other House members, is just two pages long and claims its purpose is to "prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010."