IRS Employees Donated Over Twice as Much to Obama in 2012
With all eyes now on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for its selective targeting and harassment of conservative tax-exempt organizations before the 2012 elections, IRS officials and President Barack Obama are scrambling to paint the scandal as the handiwork of a few bumbling, nonpartisan IRS underlings.
Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president thinks the government should hire “the very best public servants with the highest levels of integrity.” He claimed that “based on recent media reports, [Obama] is concerned that the conduct of a small number of Internal Revenue Service employees may have fallen short of that standard.”
But a review of political campaign contributions during the 2012 election cycle paints a slightly different picture, one that deviates from patterns of support found in the rest of the country. According to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, IRS employees donated over two-and-a-half times more to Barack Obama than to Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
IRS employees donated $54,116 to Barack Obama versus only $20,991 to Romney. Overall, IRS employees contributed $115,726 to political candidates: $75,116 of which went to Democrats versus just $40,610 to Republicans.
Still, despite the lopsided partisan giving totals, IRS chief of the tax-exempt division Lois G. Lerner maintains that the targeting of groups with: “patriot” and “tea party” in their titles; a mission focused on government spending, debt, and taxes; or who criticized “how the country is being run” was not a politically-driven attempt to silence and intimidate conservative voices.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), however, says she is not buying the argument that the IRS targeting of conservative tax-exempt groups was simply the work of “a couple of rogue IRS employees.”
“After all,” said Collins, “groups with ‘progressive’ in their names were not targeted similarly.”