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Reader's view: Attack on liberals got the facts wrong

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A March 16 letter, “Liberal misinformation keeps making the paper,” argued that the “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking program did not begin under President George W. Bush because he had basically the same program under a different name: “Operation Wide Receiver.” The argument is silly on its face. Whatever one wishes to call it, the practice of gun-walking began in the Bush years and ended when Attorney General Eric Holder learned of it.

Also, the FBI was unable to stop the gun sales earlier because of chasm-sized loopholes in our gun laws. If the Tea Party suddenly is interested in outlawing straw purchases of firearms, we are at last in agreement. Somehow, I doubt it.

The letter also insisted the IRS “targeted” conservative groups, apparently confusing “targeting” with “doing its job.” IRS employees were instructed to look for key words, not political leanings, which is why extra scrutiny was given to groups whose names included “progressive” or “emerge” (referring to Emerge America, a liberal group). If there was a liberal bias, why did a conservative Republican write the guidelines?

The letter suggested a larger number of conservative groups was audited. Was there a larger-than-usual percentage of groups in 2010 with the words “Tea Party” in their name? Perhaps, just perhaps. Here are some numbers the letter excluded:

Zero: the number of conservative 501(c)4 groups denied tax-exempt status.

Three: liberal groups that were denied (all affiliates of Emerge America).

Zero: Ties these IRS functionaries had to President Barack Obama’s administration.

Finally, the letter asserted that the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee agreed on the conclusions of an investigation of the Benghazi consulate attack; however, the Democratic response found “no efforts by the White House ... to ‘cover up’ facts or make alterations for political purposes,” though I doubt this will end the right-wing conspiracy theories.

Jason Johnson Cloquet

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