The Corner

No, the IRS Did Not Target Progressives Like It Targeted Conservatives

NPR’s politics blog has published a chart — compiled from a House Ways and Means staff analysis — of the different levels of IRS targeting between conservative and progressive groups. Bottom line? Far more conservative groups faced IRS scrutiny, they faced more questions, and were approved at a much lower rate than progressives. The chart is based on the IRS’s now-discredited “BOLO” (be on the lookout) lists.

Looking at the numbers, the chart answers a question I’ve asked myself ever since the Left claimed that it had been targeted as well: If progressives experienced similar targeting, why didn’t they make any notable contemporaneous complaints? After all, conservatives raised the issue well over a year ago, members of Congress asked the IRS commissioner about it directly, and the New York Times was even moved by the complaints to write its now-clownish March 7, 2012, editorial claiming the IRS was merely “do[ing] its job.”

Perhaps progressives didn’t complain because their targeting experience involved seven groups that were asked an average of just five additional questions (rounded up to be generous) and were approved at a 100 percent rate.

By contrast, 104 ”phony scandal” conservative groups experienced an average of 15 additional questions (14.9 to be exact), only 46 percent were approved, and 56 groups are either waiting for a determination or have withdrawn in frustration. There is simply no comparison.

I’ve pasted the chart below. (Full disclosure: I’m a senior attorney on the ACLJ’s lawsuit against the United States and key IRS defendants on behalf of 41 conservative groups in 22 states)

 

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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