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The IRS attacks: A scandal grows

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Monday, May 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Not only did the Internal Revenue Service target conservative groups for harassing and illegal scrutiny of their tax-exempt status, it appears to have lied about how far up the food chain knowledge of this thuggish practice went.

Friday last, the IRS threw under the bus low-level workers in Cincinnati for flagging groups that had the audacity to use the phrase “tea party,” “patriot” or “9/12 Project” in their paperwork during the 2012 election season. Now comes word that the practice was known at the highest levels of the agency the year before and that the targeting actually began in 2010.

But the “fix” was just as despicable as the first practice. Among other things, the criteria were changed to flag groups that might — hold on to your subversive hats — be proponents of limited government and educate the public about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Also reportedly targeted — pro-Israel Jewish groups whose activities contradicted Obama administration policies.

Other subversive red flags for the IRS — groups focused on making “America a better place to live” or those that criticized how the country was being run.

This is the stuff of police states.

Just last year, then-IRS chief Douglas Shulman adamantly denied any targeting. But the IRS chief counsel had been apprised of the targeting long before. That Mr. Shulman did not know is not believable.

As we editorialized on Saturday, not only must there be a full congressional investigation, a special prosecutor must be named to get to the bottom of this most sordid affair. The IRS must be brought to justice.

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