The retirement by Lois Lerner, the IRS official who authorized special scrutiny of Tea Party groups for charitable tax exemption, is at least one bright spot in this whole dismal affair of the IRS “scandal” that isn’t really there except in the imaginations of hypocritical Republican politicians and a waffling Obama White House and panicky upper-echelon IRS officials. At least she was able to opt for retirement instead of being fired, as the IRS had intended to do. She thus salvages something out of being singled out and pilloried for doing what she, as a conscientious government official doing her job properly, did in the first place—follow procedures that ensured that organizations filing for charitable tax-exempt status were really what they said they were, and not surreptitious political organizations operating under cover of a charity or educational status they, by law, didn’t deserve, weren’t qualified for. But because it came out that several of these groups so held up for special scrutiny were affiliated with the Tea Party movement, this simply following of the spirit and letter of the law became a political scandal deliberately blown up by partisans of the Tea Party among the Republicans, and made even worse by the craven collapse of the Obama Administration in face of this partisan blow-up.
The partisan and essentially hypocritical nature of this supposed “scandal” was pointed out by this author in an article he posted June 4, 2013 on examiner.com, “The IRS, the Obama Administration and Republican/Tea Party ‘Scandal!’”www.examiner.com/article/the-irs-the-obama-administration-and-republican..., so that argument won’t be repeated here. Just suffice it to say that Lois Lerner’s ability to retire successfully instead of being fired is perhaps the only positive thing to come out of this whole matter. Although it could also be argued that certain somewhat positive exposés also came out of the matter, namely the Republican penchant for hypocrisy as well as the Obama Administration’s penchant for backing down and retreating from principled defense of what’s really at hand in face of Republican hypocritical attack. Exposure of Washington’s same-old same-old is a plus in terms of advancing political knowledge among the American people, but the price to pay for it, the sacrifice of people just doing their jobs on the altar of political expediency, is indeed very high. But that’s what happened to Lois Lerner and other conscientious officials at the IRS, to the discredit of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Obama Administration. Only showing that venality in politics in the U.S. today is truly a bipartisan affair.