IRS Bombshell! Film at 11!

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 19 2013 10:55 AM

IRS Bombshell! Film at 11!

How does Peggy Noonan call something a bombshell if she wrote about it two months ago?

Photo by Meet the Press via Getty Images

Darrell Issa's hullaballoo'd IRS hearing, which contained only more people talking about information that had been reported previously, has harpooned at least one high-profile sucker. Peggy Noonan informs readers of her column that "the IRS scandal was connected this week not just to the Washington office—that had been established—but to the office of the chief counsel," and that this is a "bombshell."

She uses the word "bombshell" several times, which is odd, because as Simon Maloy points out, Noonan had written about the "chief counsel" revelation two months ago.

The Washington Post reported efforts to target the conservative groups reached the highest levels of the agency by May 2012—far earlier than the agency had acknowledged. Reuters reported high-level IRS officials, including its chief counsel, knew in August 2011 about the targeting.

After Noonan's puffery was pointed out on Twitter, a few conservatives asked some version of this question: "Are you trying to say it's 'old news' to distract from how it's outrageous?" To be clear, I went with the "old news" angle because Issa, who's running low on good will from the press corps (for now—maybe he'll glom on to a better scandal soon), hyped this hearing promising a new revelation that would implicate the White House, and he simply didn't have the goods.

The effort to ensnare the Obama campaign and White House into the scandal has pulled in jokes Obama told about "auditing" his enemies, attacks the campaign made on Americans for Prosperity (the tax status of which was not challenged), and the fact that Jack Lew didn't shoot up a flare when he was informed that the IG was looking into this. Hey, more power to Issa et al if they follow this trail and get emails from White House staffers directing the appointed counsel to let the IRS keep denying applications from Tea Party groups. But he doesn't have any of that.

"Those trying to get to the bottom of the scandal have to dig in, pay attention," writes Noonan. I absolutely agree with her.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 3:59 PM The Trailer for Taken 3 Is Here, and Guess Who’s on His Phone Again
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.