The disclosure that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups was disclosed last Friday afternoon in the form of an apology by an IRS official in response to a question during a panel discussion at a lawyers conference. Since the initial disclosure, the scandal has grown raising more questions about who knew about the program that was allegedly designed and implemented by low-level IRS employees, what was done by their IRS superiors after the existence of the targeting program was disclosed or discovered, and whether the problem is more wide spread than the IRS employees who were screening exemption applications.
This scandal has legs and is one to watch very closely. Some of the issues I will be watching is whether the conservative IRS filings were flagged for targeting as they arrived at the IRS or did the IRS also go back and engage in data mining for conservative group filings that were already in the pipeline for processing by this group IRS employees and officials? Will the IRS IG Report that apparently is set to be released this week focus specifically on the exempt organizations application unit or did the investigation involve other IRS units? One thing seems clear: this is the beginning of the beginning of this scandal.