Tale Of Two IRS Scandals Shows Biggest Difference Between Obama & Bush

by
Owen Poindexter
George W. Bush's administration had an IRS scandal very similar to the one the Obama Administration is currently weathering, and so by comparing the two, we can learn about how these two administrations differ and how the media treats each one.
obama, irs, bush, obama irs, bush irs, irs scandal
President George W. Bush brushed off his IRS scandal. President Obama effectively fired the head of the IRS in response to his. PHOTO: Public domain.
 
George W. Bush's administration had an IRS scandal very similar to the one the Obama Administration is currently weathering, and so by comparing the two, we can learn about how these two administrations differ and how the media treats each one.
 
To refresh your memories, it came out recently that the Internal Revenue Service, the folks who collect the taxes, targeted tax-exempt groups with words like "Tea Party," "Freedom" and "Patriot" in their names for audits. Liberal groups were also audited by the IRS, but without the same consistency as Tea Party groups. None of the Tea Party groups (but one of the liberal groups) lost their tax-exempt status as a result of the IRS audit.
 
Rewind back to 2005, and the Bush Administration's IRS had a similar scenario. A church in Pasadena, CA, called All Saints Episcopal came under scrutiny for an anti-George W. Bush sermon (the message was essentially, what would Jesus do? Not go to war in Iraq). Churches have tax-exempt status, but may not engage in political speech, or else they risk losing that status. It's no secret that churches do engage in political speech all the time (often thinly veiled, like a head shop selling water pipes for anyone who prefers to take their tobacco in giant bong rips), but if the IRS is going to target one church, it should target many churches, like the extremely conservative megachurches dotting the Bible Belt.
 
So, Bush and Obama had broadly similar IRS scandals. Obama had his Treasury Secretary Jack Lew ask the current head of the IRS to resign (he wasn't there at the time of the alleged misbehavior, but Obama and Lew decided that a new face was needed to reestablish credibility), and ordered a national investigation into the scandal. Republicans, predictably, have been going berserk over this, and every major media outlet is running daily stories on Obama's IRS scandal. Not criticizing (it sure beats the Benghazi headbanging), but keep all that in mind for a moment.

The Bush IRS scandal came and went. There was scattered media coverage, and a fair amount of outcry from angry liberals. The Obama IRS scandal has already received more media coverage than the Bush IRS scandal. No one was fired or asked to resign over the Bush IRS scandal. Bush did not have a press conference about it. Obama answers his critics. Bush never saw the need to. This shows a big difference in who they are as presidents, but also how the media reports right-wing anger versus left-wing anger, and how the latter is brushed off, the former taken seriously.

Carbonated.TV