Werfel's chaff obscures tea party targeting

The IRS wants the public to think that they also targeted progressives. It's just chaff. When the Luftwaffe lost so many aircraft to British-developed radar, they developed the countermeasure of spreading clouds of aluminum strips that offered multiple targets or obscured the area.

An analogous countermeasure has just been deployed. Eliana Johnson of NRO: 

Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel on Monday told reporters that the now-infamous "Be On The Lookout" list was far broader than originally disclosed in the Treasury Department inspector general's report. News accounts in outlets such as the Associated Press andBloomberg News supported Werfel's claim, indicating that terms on the list ran the gamut, politically speaking, from "tea party" to "progressive" and "occupy," and even to groups whose applications included the word "Israel."

See? We weren't really targeting conservatives and the tea party!

AP put out a story ("Documents show IRS also screened liberal groups") consistent with this narrative:

 While investigators have said that agency screening for those groups had stopped in May 2012, Monday's revelations made it clear that screening for other kinds of organizations continued until earlier this month, when the agency's new chief, Danny Werfel, says he discovered it and ordered it halted.

This makes it look like the tea party got better treatment than progressives. From AP to every major media outlet to widely accepted presumption. That's the way the game works.

But it is chaff, as the British called it. I kind of like the Germans' term for their invention: düppel, because the first syllable is "dupe."

Eliana Johnson explains the phoniness:

...screeners were instructed to treat progressive groups differently from tea-party groups. Whereas they were merely alerted that a designation of 501(c)(3) status "may not be appropriate" for progressive groups - 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from conducting any political activity - they were told to send applications from tea-party groups off to IRS higher-ups for further scrutiny.

That means the applications of progressive organizations could be approved by line agents on the spot, while those of tea-party groups could not. Furthermore, the November 2010 list noted that tea-party cases were "currently being coordinated with EOT" - Exempt Organizations Technical, a group of tax lawyers in Washington, D.C. Those of progressive organizations were not.

So this "broader, more inclusive" list is just düppel. The problem is that explaining the issue requires more attention than most people are willing to expend. However, more hearings lie ahead for Werfel, and he should be forced to explain the facts Johnson presents.

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