The signs keep accumulating that the IRS scandal is worse than liberals are willing to concede.
On Bill Press's radio show yesterday, a reporter with left-leaning Politico told Press that the Internal Revenue Service dragging its feet on applications for tax-exempt status from tea party groups probably affected the outcome of last year's election. (Video after the jump)
Here's what Politico's Lauren French told Press (audio) --
PRESS: So, Lauren, you've been covering this IRS scandal. How big is it really? How serious is it really, do you think?
FRENCH: I think it's really serious, depending on the groups that were targeted, you could say that this easily influenced the 2012 election. A lot of these groups' applications were delayed to the point that they weren't able to get their tax-exempt status until after the election and depending ...
PRESS (interrupting): Do you really believe that?
FRENCH: I think that you should be able to, if you are following the rules, partake in the political process and the IRS and the government shouldn't hold you back. I think that that's a very fair way to look at this. So, whether or not these groups were going to spend a lot of money or really be the top five of these non-profit groups is a different matter. A lot of these groups actually are really small, but if they have the right, they have the legal right to partake in the election and they should be allowed to. And I think it depends, really, I mean, we're seeing kind of a drip-drop out of the White House and out of the IRS of who knew what and when, which is something I have been covering, of when was Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin first told. And as of right now, all we know is that neither the Obama administration or the White House or the Treasury, no one knew before 2013 about the results of this audit. But if we find out that key administration people outside of the IRS knew about it, that's going to have a significant effect on this scandal. It's going to turn it into a whole different direction.
A section of the Inspector General's report (see page 14) on the IRS scandal that Press clearly missed or quickly forgot --
Many organizations waited much longer than 13 months for a decision, while others have yet to receive a decision from the IRS. For example, as of December 17, 2012, the IRS had been processing several potential political cases for more than 1,000 calendar days. Some of these organizations received requests for additional information in Calendar Year 2010 and then did not hear from the IRS again for more than a year while the Determinations Unit waited for assistance from the Technical Unit. For the 296 potential political cases we reviewed, as of December 17, 2012, 108 applications had been approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 cases were open from 206 to 1,138 calendar days (some crossing two election cycles). (emphasis added)
One thousand, one hundred and 38 calendar days -- or as it might otherwise be described, more than three years.
Press, a former chairman of the California Democratic Party who used to co-host "Crossfire" on CNN, is unlikely to be swayed by any amount of evidence. But perhaps this National Review account of the IRS's Soviet-style harassment of a Texan tea partier who founded True the Vote might give him pause.
One can't help but wonder if liberals are secretly ecstatic over what the IRS did, though they would never admit it. The scofflaws at the agency who targeted the tea party did more than make news with this scandal. They may have altered history.