The video features a timeline outlining the Republican version of the targeting scandal and how it evolved. It starts with President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address, which criticized the Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision — a ruling that opened the door for corporations and labor unions to spend unlimited funds promoting or opposing candidates.
As the video continues, it says the IRS began targeting conservative advocacy groups for extra scrutiny one month after the president’s speech. It also provides footage of IRS official Lois Lerner echoing Obama’s sentiments during an October 2010 panel discussion in which she said that critics of the Supreme Court ruling “want the IRS to fix the problem.”
At the next point in the timeline, the video says that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) sent a letter to the IRS in June 2011 questioning the agency’s audits of conservative groups.
For what it’s worth, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker has noted that Camp’s letter did not actually mention conservatives. Instead, it asked about the IRS’s decision to notify donors of advocacy groups that their contributions might be subject to gift taxes.
Next in the video, viewers see footage of former IRS commissioner Doug Shulman assuring lawmakers at a congressional hearing that his agency was not targeting right-leaning organizations.
Later comes the oversight committee requesting an investigation into disparate treatment of conservative groups in March 2012, followed by Lerner admitting days before the release of an inspector general’s report in May 2013 that the IRS inappropriately selected groups to examine using search terms such as “patriot” and “tea party.”
Another clip shows Lerner invoking her Fifth Amendment right during a congressional hearing about the targeting matter, and the timeline jumps to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen saying that many of Lerner’s e-mails were “lost” due to a hard-drive crash.
The video ends with this message: “Time for the truth and an end to IRS targeting once and for all.”
Democrats have rejected suggestions that the IRS targeted conservatives, pointing out that a small number of progressive groups were also pulled aside for closer examination during the screening process and that the agency’s search terms included phrases associated with left-leaning organizations.