The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 11/26/13, 10:58 PM ET

Big news on the IRS ‘scandal’

Viewers of The Last Word have always known that the real IRS scandal happened in 1959, when a law that changed the definition of tax-exempt organizations operated "exclusively" for social welfare. Today, the Treasury Department decided to act. Lawrence...

Big news on faux IRS ‘scandal’: Treasury Department takes action

By msnbc staff

Remember that whole exclusively vs. primarily thing?

The law on 501(c)(4) says that they must be exclusively to promote social welfare. And over 50 years ago, the IRS changed the word “exclusively” to “primarily” in one of its interpretations of the law, so IRS agents were left to try to determine how much political activitity a 501(c)(4) was engaged in.

In other words, the IRS agents who were examining the political activity of 501(c)(4)s were just doing their jobs.

Following the advice of this program, the Treasury Department announced Tuesday that it will clarify regulation around the political activity of tax-exempt social welfare organizations.

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Big news on faux IRS 'scandal': Treasury Department takes action