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Blame Citizens United for the IRS scandal

Nope, I’m not going to defend the IRS, which appears to have acted in ways wholly inconsistent with their mandate for unbiased investigations into, in this case, whether certain political groups should receive tax-exempt status.  It is unclear how high up the chain of command these untoward actions went, but this morning’s news suggests it wasn’t just a few rogue auditors in Cincinnati.

The problem wasn’t that the agency scrutinized these so-called “social welfare” organizations—as I’ll emphasize in a moment, tax law in this area is an accident going out to happen.  It’s that they violated neutrality, investigating conservative groups by searching on “tea party” and “patriot.”

Republicans will of course try to pin this on the President, despite the fact that since Nixon used the IRS to target his enemies, the president’s been barred from even discussing this kind of thing with the agency.

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