Attorney General Eric Holder made an incredibly disturbing remark, almost in passing, on Capitol Hill today—Holder said something about how the organizations that apply to the IRS for nonprofit status deserve scrutiny.

Fox’s Megyn Kelly called attention to what Holder said, but I haven’t been able to find the exact wording. But it was a startling moment: citizens banding together need to be looked at by their government? Scary.

Of course, it is the job of the IRS to determine if applicants meet certain legal requirements for a tax status. But Holder’s statement was troubling; it is possible that Holder and others who hold similar views unintentionally (I am being diplomatic here) generated the atmosphere in which was born the current IRS scandal.

The venerable Julian Bond of the NAACP said something more blatant:

“I think it’s entirely legitimate [for the IRS] to look at the tea party. I mean, here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who tried as best they can to harm President Obama … They are the Taliban wing of American politics and we all ought to be a little worried about them.”

I’ve been to a lot of tea party rallies, and I have never once run into anybody who was racist. Nor have I ever seen a swastika, though Nancy Pelosi claimed that tea party people show up with them all the time.  The tea party has been vilified for political purposes. The idea that there was no political motive in IRS harassing of tea party and other conservative groups just won't wash. The only question is how far up in the food chain this scandal goes.

Bond, by the way, was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has a penchant for designating organizations it doesn’t like as hate groups. I don’t have any problem whatsoever with the SPLC’s carrying out its investigations of various groups. I just don’t want my government doing their dirty work. Still, I do regret that the SPLC's characterization of one conservative organization appears to have been a key factor in an unhinged person's shooting up the place. The guy used the SPLC's "hate map" to locate the office. Nice.

Ironically, the NAACP has also been investigated by the IRS.