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The Corner

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‘Mistakes Were Made’



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I kid you not: The IRS just released a statement on its improper harassment of conservative groups in the run-up to the 2012 election including the words: “mistakes were made.”

Here is the full statement:

Between 2010 and 2012, the IRS saw the number of applications for section 501(c)(4) status double.  As a result, local career employees in Cincinnati sought to centralize work and assign cases to designated employees in an effort to promote consistency and quality.  This approach has worked in other areas. However, the IRS recognizes we should have done a better job of handling the influx of advocacy applications.  While centralizing cases for consistency made sense, the way we initially centralized them did not.  Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale. We fixed the situation last year and have made significant progress in moving the centralized cases through our system.  To date, more than half of the cases have been approved or withdrawn.  It is important to recognize that all centralized applications received the same, even-handed treatment, and the majority of cases centralized were not based on a specific name. In addition, new procedures also were implemented last year to ensure that these mistakes won’t be made in the future.  The IRS also stresses that our employees – all career civil servants — will continue to be guided by tax law and not partisan issues.

This is inconsistent with Lori Lerner’s statement:

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews.

If this was just a procedural goof, then what exactly is Lerner apologizing for? And if this was not “due to any political or partisan rationale,” then why were groups with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names improperly flagged? 

The IRS’s statement and Lerner’s apology do not comport. More to come. 

Perhaps somebody could remind the House Republicans that they have a majority on the oversight subcommittee? 



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