POLITICS
05/16/2013 04:53 pm ET Updated May 16, 2013

IRS Woes Grow As Further Claimants Of Impropriety Come Out Of The Woodwork

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Chances are, by the time all the facts come out in L'Affaire IRS, we'll be assaying an example of how a fumbling sort of incompetence, as opposed to active malice, can fuel a scandal. Until then, however, one of the major problems with this scandal is that it's pretty easy to assume malice. And so everyone who thinks they've been improperly targeted by the IRS is adding their briefs to the pile.

Over at the National Review, Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) has a funny feeling that he was a target of some sort of IRS shenanigans. Flores believes that the assistance that he provided the Waco Tea Party in dealing with the IRS put the agency onto him as a result:

A few months later, Flores received a notification from the IRS requesting additional documents regarding his tax returns.

“Was it just an independent review of my return or was it because I was asking them questions about their activities for tax-exempt organizations?” Flores asks. “I don’t know, but once the trust is broken, you know, you lose confidence.”

Flores says his accountant sent in the requested information within the time frame allotted by the IRS, but he hasn’t heard from them since, even though the agency is required by law to respond to his submission.

This may be the next stage in this story: people coming forward in the belief that they were part of some wide-ranging witch hunt. Franklin Graham, who now runs his father's Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, believes that his organization was targeted by the IRS, writing in a letter, "I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us."

Not all of these complaints are credible. Two days ago, a news anchor from St. Louis named Larry Conners who'd interviewed President Barack Obama told his Facebook followers, "Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS. I don't accept 'conspiracy theories', but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me."

Conners later explained that his "issues with the IRS preceded that interview by several years." Guess he just got caught up in the moment!

At any rate, I don't want to dismiss any of these latter-day agitants of the IRS out of hand. It sounds like Flores deserves, at the very least, some sort of explanation. But I will point out that the more this particular story plays out, you'll have more claimants taking a number and asking to have their concerns addressed. And the likelihood of Texas sharpshooters coming out of the woodwork with complaints is high as well. So, even if the IRS can assiduously put these claims to bed, it could be sufficient to give this scandal those proverbial "legs."

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