Even as Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Jim Renacci (R-OH) requested that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew demonstrate that there was no partisanship in the administration’s decisionmaking with regard to shutting down General Motors dealerships in 2009, former Obama car czar Steven Rattner has come to the full-throated defense of the Obama Internal Revenue Service’s discriminatory profiling of conservative groups.
Writing at the New York Times website, Rattner first pretends to “stipulate” to the IRS’ “almost Keystone Kops-style comedy of errors on the part of low-level staffers, with a vein of possible political bias.” Then he defends it. He writes, “the decision in 2010 to target groups with certain words in their names did not come out of nowhere. That same year, the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case substantially liberalized rules around political contributions, stimulating the formation of many activist groups.”
In other words, those nefarious Tea Party groups had to be profiled because they were taking advantage of the law: “A far higher proportion of the new applicants wanted to pursue a conservative agenda than a liberal agenda. So without trying to defend the indefensible profiling, it wouldn’t be that shocking if low-level staff members were simply, but stupidly, trying to find an efficient way to sift through the avalanche of applications.”
Rattner spends the remainder of the piece criticizing current tax structures that allow groups to maintain donor confidentiality. But the theme is clear: even if the IRS discriminated, it probably did so for good reason. The biggest takeaway, Rattner says, “should be that our campaign-finance system is in desperate need of overhaul.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).