NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

June 30, 2014

Editorial: IRS investigation needs someone with Baker's integrity

(Continued)

Investigations have found that, beginning in 2010, the IRS began to selectively target conservative organizations — such as those with the terms “tea party” or “patriot” in their names — for scrutiny regarding their tax-exempt status.

Some progressive organizations, such as those linked with the “Occupy” movement, were targeted as well.

IRS officials attempted to claim that the targeting was coming out of a low-level office in Cincinnati. But in an investigation last year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that IRS officials in Washington, including Lerner, knew of the targeting. The IG’s report prompted the ongoing congressional investigation.

The latest outrage testing the gullibility of Americans is the claim by the IRS that Lerner’s emails, subpoenaed by Congress, have been lost due to a crash of the disk drive on her computer. Anyone familiar with the way organizations handle email understands that this is nonsense. Emails are stored not just on desktop PCs but in corporate servers, back-up drives, the recipients’ hard drives and other locations.

What information is in Lerner’s missing emails that someone is so keen to hide? Is there a link to the White House to be found there? The whole matter of the missing emails is eerily reminiscent of the missing 18 minutes in the audiotapes from Nixon’s Oval Office recordings.

The nation needs to get to the bottom of this scandal. Americans need to know that the most powerful and feared bureaucracy in Washington is not being used as a political weapon against them.

The importance of this investigation transcends party politics. We need a Democratic Howard Baker to stand up and ask the tough questions.

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