About a year-and-a-half ago, the "scandal" involving the Internal Revenue Service looked like it might be a real story. It wasn't, and the whole thing evaporated into nothing soon after, but for Republicans, the prospect of the IRS coordinating with the White House to punish conservatives was so enticing, they believed it -- reality be damned.
And so, in the summer of 2013, some prominent GOP lawmakers got a little hysterical. The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said the controversy "started with the White House." The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee insisted the IRS was guided by "the enemies list out of the White House." The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee alleged, without proof, that the IRS engaged in "criminal behavior" that can be traced back to "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."
An 18-month congressional investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's mistreatment of conservative political groups seeking tax exemptions has failed to show coordination between agency officials and political operatives in the White House, according to a report released on Tuesday.
Imagine that. House Republicans spent a year and a half investigating a controversy, making all kinds of wild-eyed allegations publicly, they carefully scrutinized 1.3 million documents, and they conducted lengthy interviews with literally dozens of IRS officials under oath.
They've turned up no evidence of official wrongdoing -- unless you consider Republicans falsely accusing the White House of a cover-up as an official misdeed.