The Inspector General’s report on the IRS is out.
Ineffective management at the Internal Revenue Service allowed agents to improperly target tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax exempt status, an internal Treasury Department report said Tuesday.
Lax managers allowed the practice to go on for more than 18 months, said the report from the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.
The IRS on Friday apologized for targeting tea party and other conservative groups. The report said that when asked by investigators, IRS supervisors said the criteria they used to decide which groups they examined were not influenced by people or organizations outside the IRS.
The agency started targeting groups with “Tea Party,” ”Patriots” or “9/12 Project” in their applications in March 2010. The criteria later evolved to include groups that promoted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The practice ended in May 2012, according to a timeline in the report.
I’m not going to defend the practice of targeting certain groups, but I am familiar with how things work in a large operation, be it a government agency or a company that makes badminton shuttlecocks. Things run on momentum and management oversight can become lax based on the fact that a lot of different people are very set in their ways. It’s a lot easier to just let things go on the way they’ve gone on for years without examining exactly what’s going on until some crisis like this happens.
I’m not excusing it, and I hope that whoever was letting things slide at the IRS gets their comeuppance. But I can certainly understand how it happens, more’s the pity.