IRS Tea Party Scandal Outcry Peters to Whimper

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WASHINGTON -- When the scandal over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups first broke, Republicans and Democrats cried foul. But now, months later, the outcry sounds more like a whimper.

Eliana Johnson has been tracking the controversy for the conservative website and magazine National Review.

She told CBN News that five months after the IRS admitted targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny on their applications for tax exempt status it appears there's no in-depth investigation underway to get at the truth -- despite the president's promises to find out what really happened.

The American Center for Law and Justice's Jay Sekulow talks more the IRS scandal on The 700 Club, Oct. 24.

"I know from a source in the IRS that people within the IRS have been interviewed by the FBI, though I hear from Tea Party groups that they have not been contacted," Johnson said. "So it seems like there is some sort of FBI investigation happening, though perhaps not an incredibly deep or thorough one."

But lawmakers on Capitol Hill are also investigating the matter, and they've issued subpoenas demanding more information into what they call the "inappropriate and disparate treatment" of conservative and Tea Party groups.

They've also reportedly been negotiating with lawyers for Lois Lerner, who headed the tax exempt organizations division but has since resigned.

Meanwhile, the legal battles are mounting.

The National Organization for Marriage is suing the IRS for publicly disclosing private, protected information about its donors.

And the American Center for Law and Justice, representing more than 40 conservative groups in 22 states, has expanded its federal suit -- citing evidence that top IRS workers targeted conservative organizations based on their political beliefs.

Johnson believes the biggest scandal is the revelation that many agencies and officials who aren't supposed to be involved in politics can't refrain from using their influence against the political opponents of the party in power.

"Democrats have tried to make this about was there a White House connection or wasn't it," she told CBN News. "And if there wasn't a White House connection, then it's not worth investigating and there is no scandal -- and that's really not the scandal."

"The scandal," she said, "is about the inherent politicization of the bureaucracy."

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at