IRS is monitoring comment threads on conservative blogs

The Internal Revenue Service, which claims to be so understaffed that it can’t bother to collect unpaid taxes, or search backup tapes for Lois Lerner’s “missing” emails, apparently has plenty of time to read the comment threads on conservative blogs that have been critical of the agency (Hi there, IRS agents!).  William Jacobson, one of the best-informed and most effective critics of the agency, writes on Legal Insurrection:

Hey, remember the Reader Poll we did about whether it was okay to follow and try to interview Lois Lerner in her neighborhood?

Do you approve of media confronting Lois Lerner in her neighborhood? (Reader Poll): (snip)

Just another Legal Insurrection fun time, right?

Someone noticed the comments to the blog post.  The IRS.  And it’s not happy.

In a federal FOIA lawsuit by Judicial Watch seeking records of Lerner emails and IRS efforts to retrieve the emails, the IRS used two of the comments to the Legal Insurrection Reader Poll post to justify the IRS no longer disclosing the identities of IRS personnel.

Think about that. The IRS is reading our comments. Don’t they have anything better to do, like hassle conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status? On second thought, keep reading our comments and leave conservative groups alone.

It’s all set forth in the IRS’s opposition to Judicial Watch’s Motion to Compel Discovery. You can read the whole thing here.

The Legal Insurrection post is Exhibit D to the IRS affidavit.

Footnote No. 2 of the IRS brief explains why one of the comments constitutes a supposed threat to Lerner and IRS employees such that their names need to be kept private [note - the IRS mistakenly refers to the post as Exhibit C, but it's really Exhibit D]

Here’s the full comment by reader “Orwellington“:

And by “C. Lashawn“:

Does the IRS really fear “public whipping with a buggy whip” and being in such fear its employees are “seized with spontaneous diarrhea”?

Where does one even find a buggy whip these days?

I think the commenters were just being snarky.  You know, internet.

Does anybody else find this chilling?