Media Makes Up Scandal Based on Little Evidence
All the exaggerated reporting to date has been based on an unquantified fraction of a draft report by the Treasury Department's inspector general that was leaked to AP, Reuters, and perhaps others, by unidentified people, reportedly congressional aides with access to the preliminary report. In others words, the first phase of this "scandal" appears to be a political spite balloon floated by partisan players, with whom major media colluded unprofessionally, either through sympathy or incompetence.
As this is written, the Inspector General's report has not yet been released, but that hasn't prevented Senators like Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, from suggesting that it describes "thuggish practices" or Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., from calling the unknown scope of activity "unacceptable and un-American."
The absence of a final report hasn't stopped Attorney General Eric Holder from plunging into the melee, telling reporters on May 14 that, in regard to using "tea party" or "patriot" as search criteria, even though these criteria were dropped almost two years ago and replaced by other, more benign criteria several times since:
"The FBI is coordinating with the Justice Department to see if any laws were broken in connection with those matters related to the IRS". Those actions were, I think as everyone can agree, if not criminal, they were certainly outrages and unacceptable. But we are examining the fact [sic] to see if there were criminal violations."
What Would a Political Reaction from Justice Look Like?
Unlike the President the day before, the Attorney General does not allow for the possibility that the alleged behavior may or may not have happened as reported. Instead he rushes to judgment of IRS functionaries in a way he has conscientiously avoided when considering bankers or torturers.
And when the Justice Department and the FBI look for criminal violations, is there any likelihood they'll probe the legality of any fundamentally political organizations getting the benefit of a tax subsidy and secrecy for their fanciful portrayals of "social welfare" organizations?