Our friends at the IRS, who will soon be overseeing our health care, keep running into trouble. As if the whole targeting of conservative groups and Jews wasn't bad enough (back to that in a moment), they're now being sued because, well, they kind of violated HIPAA a little bit:
The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.
In all, some 60 million medical records were stolen, the class-action suit alleges; included were records involving everything from psychological counseling through sex or drug treatments and more.
The remedy being sought is $25,000 - per violation. That amounts to a cool $250 billion overall. Can't wait for these boys and girls to enforce Obamacare.
However much pleasure one might derive from the scandal involving the agency's targeting of conservative groups, however, it remains that they were pushed to do so by many of the same Democratics now shouting for their heads - a measure supported by at least 57% of Americans, according to polling data regarding the question of whether or not the "offending" IRS staff should be jailed or fired. Give them credit; they excel at dodging the various turds that they themselves set in motion:
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, for example, vowed congressional hearings and called the IRS actions "an outrageous abuse of power and a breach of the public's trust."
He was joined by a chorus of other Democrats including Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire who called it "completely unacceptable," Kay Hagan of North Carolina who called it "disturbing and troubling," and Mark Pryor of Arkansas who tweeted that he's "working to get to bottom of this so we can fire those responsible & ensure this never happens again."
What paragons of virtue! There's just one tiny little problem with all of the huffing and posturing:
As the New York Times reported back in 2010 :
With growing scrutiny of the role of tax-exempt groups in political campaigns, Congressional Republicans are pushing back against Democrats by warning about the possible misuse of the Internal Revenue Service to audit conservative groups….And the Republicans are also upset about an I.R.S. review requested by Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who leads the Finance Committee, into the political activities of tax-exempt groups. Such a review threatens to "chill the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights," wrote two Republican senators, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Jon Kyl of Arizona, in a letter sent to the I.R.S. on Wednesday. ... Democrats dismissed the Republicans' complaints as groundless.
Oh, hey, what a coincidence! The same Montana Democratic who's now yowling is the guy who told the IRS to do exactly what they did. Imagine that!
Oh, and he was by no means alone: just last year, junior Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Portlandia) joined luminaries such as Al Franken, Chuckie Schumer, and Tom Udall in signing a letter to the IRS Commissioner, asking that the IRS make "immediate" changes to their policies in order to pursue deeper investigations into the organizations; policies which these Democratics are now decrying. It may seem a touch hypocritical, but then, they are Democratics.
Not only are they now racing to distance themselves from the very agency they leaned on, they're also dumping on their Messiah:
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that he believes President Barack Obama owes the American public explanations for both the seizure of Associated Press phone records by the Department of Justice and the IRS targeting of conservative groups.
“I don’t think anyone truly believes that the president has given us a sufficient answer for America, much less the press,” Rangel said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I think this is just the beginning and the whole idea of comparing this with Nixon, I really think is just, it doesn’t make much sense. But the president has to come forward and share why he did not alert the press they were going to do this. He has to tell the Americans, including me: What was this national security question? You just can’t raise the flag and expect to salute it every time without any reason and the same thing applies to the IRS.”
Well, when Charlie "Ethics 'R' Me" Rangel gets his dander up, Barky'd better start delivering. Everybody knows how cranky Charlie can get.
Time to head to the store for some more popcorn - few things are more entertaining than a big implosion.