Jack Lew All But Calls IRS Turmoil A ‘Phony Scandal’

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While it’s been weeks since the IRS “scandal” has shown signs of life in the wider world, Fox News continues to perform CPR on the scandal’s limp corpse. So it should be no surprise that the topic was raised on Sunday, when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew appeared on Fox News Sunday.

Host Chris Wallace asked Lew if President Obama was referring to the IRS during a speech last week in Galesburg, Ill., when Obama mentioned the “endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals” distracting Washington. Lew himself all but called the turmoil at the IRS a phony scandal.“The president has made clear, I have made clear, that the mistakes that were made in judgment, very bad judgment, managing the 501(c)4 program were unacceptable and they had to be fixed,” Lew said.

Moments later, he added: “I think that we have to like look at the facts. There had been a lot of investigations. There had been a lot of hearings, [Inspectors General], the Justice Department. There’s no evidence of any political decision maker who was involved in any of those decisions. And I think the attempt to try to keep finding that evidence is creating the kind of sense of a phony scandal that was being referred to there.”

Wallace pressed Lew to “explain to me how it was that conservative groups were targeted by the IRS?”

“Now, look, first of all, Chris, what we found out as we went through to find the facts is that there was equal opportunity and bad judgment,” Lew said. “It was conservative groups. It was progressive groups.”

Watch (IRS discussion starts at 11:00):

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com
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