Washington is now sinking its teeth into a real scandal: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using ideological criteria to choose the targets of its attention. What we already know is bad enough. Given the seriousness of the charges and the unreliability of IRS disclosures so far, purposeful, sober investigation is exactly what is needed.
At first, the IRS’s admission that it flagged applications for tax-exempt status from tea party-type groups brought reaction that broke along partisan lines. But on Monday, President Obama called the news “outrageous,” adding: “I’ve got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it. And we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) joined other Democratic lawmakers to support an investigation in his chamber, something Republican leaders in the House had pledged on Friday.
Any unequal application of the law based on ideological viewpoint is unpardonable ”” toxic to the legitimacy of the government’s vast law-enforcement authority.