Poor Republicans. They’re just not having a good week. First, Hillary Clinton made them look like the partisan idiots they are at the Benghazi hearing on Thursday. Now they have gotten further bad news: the faux “IRS scandal” has come to naught.
The Justice Department informed congress that no charges will be brought against anyone following a two-year investigation into whether the IRS illegally targeted tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny of their tax exempt status. In a letter to lawmakers, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik said there was
substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints. But poor management is not a crime.
Kadzik’s letter continues,
We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution. We also found no evidence that any official involved in the handling of tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice. Based on the evidence developed in this investigation and the recommendation of experienced career prosecutors and supervising attorneys at the department, we are closing our investigation and will not seek any criminal charges.
The probe centered around Lois Lerner, an IRS employee who was accused of delaying the applications for tax exempt status submitted by dozens of conservative groups. USA Today reports that they obtained a list of groups that were being reviewed in 2011, and that 80 percent of them were conservative groups. However, they fail to mention the total number of conservative versus liberal groups that had applied for tax exempt status, making their 80 percent figure virtually meaningless without that context. And the fact that 20 percent of the applications that were being reviewed came from liberal groups blows a hole in the right-wing claim that only conservative groups were being targeted.
Republican Darrel Issa, who led the congressional probe into the IRS, and who is no stranger to legal troubles of his own, was not happy. He said,
The Justice Department’s decision to close the IRS targeting investigation without a single charge or prosecution is a low point of accountability in an administration that is better known for punishing whistle-blowers than the abuse and misconduct they expose. Giving Lois Lerner a free pass only reinforces the idea that government officials are above the law and that there is no consequence for wrongdoing.
In other words, “The facts be damned. Lois Lerner is guilty because I say she is.”
crybaby Republican Bob Goodlatte had this to say:
As far back as last year, unnamed (Justice) officials leaked information to the media suggesting that the department did not plan to file criminal charges over the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. The Department of Justice investigation did conclude that the actions of IRS personnel involved in the scandal was ‘disquieting’ and in that we all agree. However, the American people should be concerned that this kind of politicization continues to go unchecked by this administration and a Justice Department charged with pursuing wrongdoing.
The “politicization” comes not from the Department of Justice, but from people like Goodlatte, who don’t seem to be interested at all in those liberal groups who were also targeted.
Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, fresh from the solid spanking he gave Benghazi committee overlord Trey Gowdy said,
Today, the Justice Department confirmed the same conclusions we had years ago. Over the past five years, Republicans in the House of Representatives have squandered literally tens of millions of dollars going down all kinds of investigative rabbit holes — IRS, Planned Parenthood, Benghazi — with absolutely no evidence of illegal activity.
This is something to remember when your conservative friend brings up these “scandals.” They have been a big waste of money, and no one has yet to see the inside of a jail cell because of them. Republicans would like to make them the equivalent of Watergate, or Iran-Contra, but the fact of the matter is that in those scandals, people were put on trial, and people went to jail. But with over a year of the Obama administration remaining, and Republicans still in charge in Washington, don’t be surprised if something else doesn’t come up. There is this persistent rumor, after all, that the vice president once entered a crosswalk while the “do not walk” sign was lit.
Here’s a video report via Fox News (sorry, it’s the only video we have access to):