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On the Cincinnati IRS

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Jared Bernstein’s take on this very good NYT story seems right:

There’s a long cover story on the Cincinnati IRS office which is ground zero for the recent scandal. The piece paints a picture of an understaffed, poorly managed group of mid-level bureaucrats, trying to follow impossible guidelines. Clearly, the agency screwed up in a big way that threatens to deepen our already dysfunctional politics. That said, partisan bias on behalf of the agents is not obvious.

What would help clear up this part of the issue is a number I’ve yet to see showing that (c)(4) groups with conservative names were disproportionately targeted. It’s clear, for example, that more “Tea Party” and similarly named applications were given extra scrutiny than liberal ones (like those with “Progress” in their title) but it also seems that there were a lot more of the former. The question of proportionality has yet to be answered.

Although all of this leaves out the fact that Barack Obama clearly took some time out from his busy schedule of arranging the murder of Christopher Stevens to cover up a failed Arkansas land deal to personally direct the actions of the Cincinnati field office.

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