The IRS Was Stupid—but Not Partisan
IRS report shows agents were incompetent, but not politically motivated: Pundits
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2013 12:05 PM CDT
The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) – The inspector general's IRS report is out (read it in full at the Washington Post, if 54 pages of dry analysis and liberal use of the underline function sound like your thing), and some pundits say it's not exactly as jaw-droppingly scandalous as it was made out to be. The delays for organizations seeking tax-exempt status caused by the IRS heaping extra scrutiny on them is certainly unacceptable, writes Ezra Klein at the Washington Post, but there's "no allegation here of politicization," he writes. Just confusion and incompetence.

"The most hotly anticipated IRS probe since Watergate didn't exactly live up to the hype," write Kelsey Snell and Lauren French at Politico, offering some takeaways from the report: First, they agree IRS agents weren't motivated by partisanship, but asking organizations for donor records was burdensome and unnecessary. And the IRS has more work to do to fix the problems: The report makes nine recommendations, but the agency has agreed to only seven. One it hasn't agreed to is drafting new guidelines for how it should investigate politically-oriented groups. But given how touchy the subject is right now, it may not be able to for some time, say Snell and French—and that means it may now be impossible to actually police which groups really are crossing the line.
 

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