Glenn Reynolds | Clean up the IRS

With all the excitement over Syria last week — we went from “Assad is Hitler” to “we have achieved peace in our time” almost overnight! — you may have missed another big story. The IRS scandal, which has slumbered over the summer as Congress has been in recess, seems to be waking up.

It has now been over four months since the IRS admitted it was targeting conservative groups in the run-up to the 2012 election. The chief IRS official in charge of Exempt Organizations, Lois Lerner, has “taken the Fifth” — invoking her right against self-incrimination in order to avoid testifying before Congress on what went on. Nonetheless, President Obama — who himself “joked” about auditing his enemies — has lumped the IRS misconduct in with what he calls “phony scandals.”

But new emails have come out that make the IRS scandal look anything but phony. Emails recovered by the House Ways and Means Committee demonstrate that the targeting of Tea Party groups — and of voter-integrity groups — was orchestrated from the top of the agency. Rather than being conducted by a few rogue employees in the Cincinnati office of the IRS, the Tea Party targeting was regarded by Lerner as something “very dangerous” politically, and she observed that “Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.”

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