It's been a while since our hometown was at the heart of a juicy national controversy. In 1985, local "financier" and former Swiss Ambassador Marvin Warner briefly captured the national headlines when angry depositors lined up to get their money back from his Home State Savings branches, only to learn that he had slipped out of town. Governor Dick Celeste channeled Franklin Delano Roosevelt declaring a "bank holiday."

By the time Cincinnati's own Charlie Keating made his big splash in the national news in 1989, with the collapse of his Lincoln Savings and Loan, he moved his large family out from under the shadow of Carl Lindner to the sunnier "go-g' climes of Arizona. That led to the "Keating Five" scandal — briefly enmeshing recipients of Keating largesse like Senators John McCain and John Glenn. But does that really count as a Queen City scandal?

That leaves us with the Pete Rose gambling brouhaha of 1989. Now that was a scandal, with a drip, drip, drip of revelations that gripped the nation's attention for months. Common Pleas Court Judge Norbert Nadel had his New York Times cover story. But his crowd pleasing ruling that Major League Baseball had no right to enforce its pesky rules against our hit king was "stare decisis" for about as long as it took MLB's lawyers to walk six blocks south to the federal court house.

The Rose scandal was a bonanza for the local economy too: national media types clogging hotels, restaurants and bars for weeks. Cincinnati cashed in and became a booming Delta hub!

Sadly, ever since Pete was banned from baseball, we've spent two decades mired in obscurity. Delta has all but abandoned the incredible shrinking CVG. But Cincinnati is back in the national buzz with Congressional hearings, national headlines and downtown demonstrations by guys in tri-cornered hats. The Wall Street Journal is staking out smoking zones outside the federal building. "There's a cancer in Cincinnati "¦ ," one Congressman declared.

This particular "cancer" was attributed to a cell of formerly obscure bureaucrats at a gloomy IRS office at 5th and Walnut, who shuffled into a blind canyon a flood of nonprofit applications from (predominantly) right wing political groups claiming to be "social welfare organizations."

Here's all you need to know: Section 501(C)(4) of the internal revenue code exempts from taxation organizations that are "organized exclusively for the promotion of social welfare." But unlike political parties or political action committees, they don't have to publicly report the corporations, unions or fat cats who contribute to them or how that cash is spent. In its 2010 Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court allowed a 501(C)(4) to run a TV ad attacking Hillary Clinton as she ran for President. Then the floodgates opened. Want to anonymously buy elections? Form a Section 501(C)(4).

Overnight, our poor neighbors at the downtown IRS office suddenly had thousands of new applications to process. Folks named Muthert, Hofacre and Shafer (all good Cincinnati names, right?) were befuddled about how to deal with all these political groups. Nothing says "social welfare organization" like a name with "Party" in it, right?

Once word of this "targeting" got out, Republicans in Congress — no doubt worried that they could be the next ones labeled as "RINOs" and "primaried" like poor old (former GOP Indiana Senator) Dick Lugar — switched on their purple-faced "outrage."

"It's got to be an Obama conspiracy!"

But if this was a conspiracy, isn't it more likely that it was a "GOP on GOP" crime? Who would have a bigger motive to undermine the fundamentalist wing of the GOP than the Rovian "pragmatist" wing? Not the Democrats, who did quite well in 2012 as the GOP got pushed into a right wing corner appeasing its Tea Party "base."

Wasn't Doug Shulman, head of the IRS at the time of the Tea Party targeting, a Republican and a Dubya appointee? I can hear his old boss now: "Heck of a job, Doogie!" And Cincinnati IRS Screening Group Manager John Shafer, who reportedly came up with the "target" list, has apparently told Congressional investigators he self-identifies as a conservative Republican.

Of course, the facts should never get in the way of a good scandal narrative. Retired local Democratic warhorses Tom Luken and Dusty Rhodes recently wrote in the Enquirer that our beloved Cincinnati is being unfairly smeared. They insist this whole shocking mess clearly originated in "Washington." My suggestion: Instead of throwing a pity Cincinnati party or pointing fingers at DC, why not embrace our new notoriety.

We don't have to be the town that time (and Delta) forgot. Welcome the national media, and even Darrell Issa, with Skyline gift baskets and restaurant discounts. Get the Chamber and 3CDC involved! Throw a Tea Party Targeting Fest at Washington Park. Show Congressional hearings on a loop on the Fountain Square jumbotron. Set up bus tours of key scandal sights, including the John Weld Peck federal building, and the neighborhoods where our homegrown "Tea Party Targeters" shop, dine and recreate.

Who knows, maybe even Delta will notice we are here again.