The Public Wants a Special Prosecutor to Investigate the IRS

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A recent Quinnipiac poll suggests that the public isn’t too concerned about either Benghazi or the subpoena of AP phone records. But they are concerned about the IRS scandal. Ed Kilgore highlights a disturbing piece of this:

The most startling finding from the Q-poll is that 76% of respondents—including 63% of Democrats and 88% of Republicans—favor the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS allegations. This may simply reflect the fact that many people don’t know who to trust as the “scandal” drags on, and/or that partisans assume the “other side” has too much control over the investigations. But these are some formidable numbers for a course of action that most liberal elites—and a growing number of conservative elites—deplore as threatening a nightmarish return to the 1990s at their worst.

My guess is that most people simply don’t understand the implications. “Special prosecutor” sounds pretty benign, after all. They just aren’t aware that, in practice, they mostly turn into obsessive, Ahab-like trawlers through every nook and cranny of the federal government.

It sure seems like there ought to be some way to keep them more focused, though. Obviously that didn’t work with Ken Starr, but why can’t a special prosecutor be appointed jointly by House, Senate, and president, with a limited mandate and a clear timeframe? Say, one year or so. And an agreement that the mandate can’t be changed unless all three agree to it. It seems like that ought to be doable. So why isn’t it?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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