The allegations had all the makings of a perfect election-year scandal that might threaten President Obama’s chances for a second term and re-energize a listless Tea Party movement: an activist president, running an overbearing government, treating conservative groups unfairly by wielding the federal taxing power to undermine his adversaries. But a year ago, when the current Internal Revenue Service scandal that has swirled around Mr. Obama first emerged, Washington — and, apparently, the White House — shrugged. It was March 2012 and Tea Party groups around the country had been complaining for months of what they called an I.R.S. conspiracy to delay and disrupt their efforts to obtain tax-free status. A few Republicans in Congress expressed concern, sent letters to I.R.S. officials and scheduled a hearing.
Reporters wrote a handful of articles about the Tea Party allegations. A Louisiana Republican, Representative Charles Boustany Jr., held his hearing in Room 1100 of the Longworth Building. None of the Republican candidates for president seized on the allegations as big news.
For a White House typically equipped with well-honed political radar designed to sniff out and derail conservative conspiracy theories about Mr. Obama, the potentially damaging events at the I.R.S. seemed to pass with little notice.
“At the time, it was a dog-bites-man story,” said Matt Bennett, the senior vice president for public affairs at Third Way, a liberal policy group. “Tea Party complains about I.R.S. — that’s not interesting. There’s zero there that would capture anybody’s attention.”
Full Article: A Sleeper Scandal Awakens, Post-Election – NYTimes.com.