Somewhere in a dark corner of the Obama White House political operation lies a survey that explains why the IRS has backed off until after the 2014 election on its plan to regulate political speech in this country.
The tax agency released a statement Thursday saying it is holding off until 2015 on issuing a final rule defining how it will review applications from nonprofit advocacy groups seeking 501(C)(4) tax-exempt status.
That decision appears to be the result of the IRS receiving more than 150,000 public comments on the proposal, the vast majority of which were highly critical and which came from across the political and ideological spectrum.
Martyring the Tea Party
Most likely, the survey data reviewed by Obama's political advisers showed the IRS targeting of conservative and Tea Party applicants for illegal harassment was turning them into political martyrs.
Getting a record outpouring of public comments on the regulatory proposal also indicated an intensity propelling the opposition that made backing off the obvious decision for now.
"Consistent with our standard rulemaking process, we intend to review those comments carefully, take into account public feedback, and consider any necessary changes," is how the IRS statement put it.
They'll be back
But the same statement made it clear the Obama administration isn't backing off its plans to create a regulatory tool that empowers the tax agency to put the screws to the president's critics on the Right.
Thus, the IRS statement warned that "it is likely that we will make some changes to the proposed regulation in light of the comments we have received."
Congressional Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer wasted no time in telling the White House the IRS better come back, saying "the only hope we have is when the IRS goes back, they don't succumb to any form of political pressure and enact a very tough rule that will equally curtail liberal and conservative groups."
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Watchdog/Mark Flatten: Veterans Affairs whistleblowers face "long slog" in fighting against retaliation.
Watchdog/Richard Pollock: Outside consultant says CFPB misses mark on diversity.
Columnist/Veronique de Rugy: Where is the innovation in health care?
Columnist/Philip Klein: Liberals touted VA as evidence government-run health care works.
Beltway Confidential/Mark Tapscott: Memo to Politico -- Where was CNN on Aug. 20, 2012?
PennAve/Susan Crabtree: Obama's crisis management -- Duck, deny, get outside fixer.
PennAve/Susan Ferrechio: DOJ pushed Lois Lerner to help build case against Tea Party nonprofits.
Legal Newsline/David Yates: Trial lawyers favorite Braley leads all potential GOP opponents in Iowa Senate race.
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The American Prospect: What does the Tea Party do after the revolution?
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Powerline: Mark Pryor and company rubber-stamp David Barron.
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Slate: The case for reparations.