OK, let's get this out of the way right now: of course, the IRS employees in Ohio should not have targeted the Tea Party folks who submitted applications for tax-exempt status. Wrong on so many levels. Heads should roll.
But here's the thing: one way they did wrong was that they didn't put every single application under the microscope. After the horrifying Citizens United court ruling, partisan and obviously political groups all across the spectrum actually doubled the incoming applications for tax-exempt status all over the country.
The carelessly zealous IRS folks in Ohio should have been the model for IRS application reviewers in every state, for every application.
Ruth Marcus had some serous insight on this point in her Wednesday column on WashingtonPost.com, read it here.
The news media and the cable TV talking hours have spent approximately zero minutes on taking a deep look at the applications that were actually sent in, and approved or disapproved, in Ohio. How many of them were bogus, blatantly outside IRS guidelines?
I don't think I'm going out on a thin limb here when I suspect that way too many of those Ohio groups who climbed on the bandwagon, seeking tax-exempt status, were manifestly unqualified to receive it because they intended from the git-go to get involved illegally in political electioneering.
The IRS flubbed in Ohio, and literally failed to do its job all over the country.