Ten Festering Wounds in the Obama Administration’s IRS Scandal

by - May 16, 2013

Disrespectful revelation: Lois Lerner’s admission that some IRS agents in one office (Cincinnati, which is charged with nonprofit reviews) had subjected Tea Party and other right wing groups to over-the-top grilling over their applications to become 501(c)(4)s took place on Friday. Everyone in Washington knows what a Friday news leak is: a story meant to fade away over the weekend. If the question at Lerner’s presentation at the American Bar Association that spurred her acknowledgement and apology for the behavior of the IRS wasn’t teed up, the timing and content of the answer certainly was. With an Inspector General’s report to be released soon after, Lerner and her colleagues knew the story was about to break. Her ability to answer with a statement that seemed all but rehearsed was an attempt to make the story happen on a Friday and have it die in the Saturday papers. Except in the new world of social media, it doesn’t work that way. By the time Lerner left the ABA conference dais, the audience was looking at the Associated Press story reporting on Lerner’s ABA admission that had already run. One lawyer grabbed Lerner as she made her way out of the room and showed her the story on his cell phone. The attempt to have the story wither over the weekend failed—embarrassingly so—as a statement of disrespect to the public that deserved not to be manipulated and played by the White House press controllers.

Nonprofit Quarterly

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