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The IRS non-scandal won’t die, ever

A few days ago, Lois Lerner, head of the tax-exempt division of the Internal Revenue Service, retired. But her story will go on because, as Politico’s Lauren French wrote, the thirty-year civil service veteran “is the political piñata that Congress still loves to whack months after she awkwardly acknowledged that the IRS wrongly scrutinized conservative groups for years.”

Three congressional investigations are ongoing and yes, mistakes were made, as the late Republican president and conservative icon Ronald Reagan once said. But in reality, this is a story about how bureaucratic bungling was turned into scandal by right wing politicians desperate to spin gold from straw.

They have sought to create a splash, to score points with their allies, make converts, seize the publicity spotlight and pull in some quick campaign cash while they’re at it. But far worse, their staged controversy has distracted from a real Washington scandal, our inability to rein in the outrageous amounts of money used by the rich and powerful to secretly broker elections and buy our government.

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