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


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.