More utter cluelessness from IRS employees, plus, as a bonus, some "Good German" excuses for why the targeting of conservative groups happened.
As could be expected, the folks in the determinations unit on Main Street have had trouble concentrating this week. Number crunchers, whose work is nonpolitical, don't necessarily enjoy the spotlight, especially when the media and the public assume they're engaged in partisan villainy.
"We're not political,'' said one determinations staffer in khakis as he left work late Tuesday afternoon. "We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do. . . . That's why there are so many people here who are flustered. Everything comes from the top. We don't have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive."
And not one of them raised an alarm? Not one of them even considered the idea that, "hey, this looks bad even though we're blameless"?
The staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said that the determinations unit is competent and without bias, that it grouped together conservative applications "for consistency's sake" -- so one application did not sail through while a similar one was held up in review. This consistency is paramount in the review of all applications, according to Ronald Ran, an estate-tax lawyer who worked for 37 years in the IRS's Cincinnati office.
"You're not going to have a bunch of flaming liberals in the exempt-organizations department looking for conservative applications," he said.
No, you probably don't. What you have are people who really, really think they are "non-partisan" but who don't see anything wrong with grouping together applications by conservatives for the sake of "consistency." So I suppose that means you grouped liberal groups together for "consistency" too? Oh, wait...
And, of course, there were no "tea party" or "patriot" or any other conservative group that "sailed through" the applications process. They were all hung up and delayed - no doubt for the sake of "consistency." And why questions about donors? About what prayers were said? About what the group was reading?
Just following orders? Where have we heard that one before?