by Max Brantley
UPDATE: The acting IRS commissioner has resigned as the Obama Administration moves into damage repair.
David Cay Johnston, the veteran tax beat reporter, has an article at Columbia Journalism Review that ought to be required reading for anyone covering the story. It would help if hyperventilating Republicans read it, too, but their story line is too fixed to be troubled by some useful facts.
Yes, selective scrutiny is wrong. WRONG. But, there's
* CONTEXT: The terrible Citizens United ruling that cut loose deluge of filings by "social welfare" organizations that were merely political operations.
* THE LAW: It actually requires the IRS to review applications to weed out political organizations. The IRS does a terrible job at this. Far too many, particularly big ones, get away with murder. None of the targeted Tea Party groups was denied.
* THE AGENCY: It's being starved budgetarily.
* FACTS: Some have been gotten wrong. The IRS, for example, is legally allowed to ask a nonprofit for names of its donors. Some reporting has suggested otherwise. But it is not supposed to disclose this information to the public, which it apparently has done.