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View Diary: Inspector General Report On IRS Targeting Tea Party A Political Sham (50 comments)

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  •  You missed the point. The groups targeted were (6+ / 0-)

    not targeted in a vacuum. They Tea Party in the aggregate's primary activity has never been education or social welfare and as such any group under that banner must be researched to ensure in meets the criteria. This is rather simple and should not be a scandal. There is visual evidence from the inception of these organization.

    At some point the semblance of political correctness is nothing but impotence.

    •  Wow. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, johnny wurster, erush1345, Adam B

      You cannot be serious? It's Ok to use the IRS as a political weapon? And your name is "progressive liberal". Yes groups are subject to review of an application but this was beyond that. The groups were targeted by name, and treated differently only because of their name or description. Get real.

      And while apparently there have been instances of  retaliation (NCAAP) due to their political statements, this is a systematic attack based on ideology. Not a response to an individual statement. It is really chilling to think that if you have "progressive"in your name you would harassed by the IRS.

      i guess you're also cool with secretly eavesdropping on news organizations as well.

      •  The IRS should audit ALL 501C groups period and (5+ / 0-)

        with a fine tooth comb.  It is not ideology they are looking for, it is ignoring the rules that allow them the tax exemption.  Do you feel good that your tax dollars are used to support these whacko's, I don't.

        •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, erush1345

          All, not some based on politics. Which is what they did.

          •  Is it clear they did it on politics or did they do (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ProgressiveLiberal

            it because similar groups have a history of breaking the rules.  A group whose ONLY purpose is EDUCATION of a particular POV is suspect on their face.  Most of our organization DO something, conservation(action not talk), the Patriot Groups are solidly in the political camp and as such just their application should be heavily scrutinized.  A dog dressed as a cat is still a dog.

          •  NO THEY DID NOT (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ProgressiveLiberal

            First, these were not audits, these were reviews of applications for tax exempt status.

            Second, read the report - there is NO evidence that they were selected based on politics. NONE.

            The IRS does this all the time: if there is a new law, a new type of transaction, a new type of group, and they see a high volume of activity in that area, they will select that group/transaction for additional scrutiny.

            The IRS did this with environmental groups during the Clinton administration - was this Clinton's fault? Were they being political then?

            The IRS did this with charities that popped up after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina: while they expedited their review of those applications, they also went over them more closely than a "regular" charity because of the potential for fraudsters and scammers.

            They did this with so-called investment clubs - those got a harder look due to the potential that investment brokers were really behind them and using them to hide income.

            The only point of dispute appears to be that the IG wants the IRS to be more transparent and specific in the criteria they use to select for heightened scrutiny, and to communicate this better. The IRS appears to be balking at this somewhat, presumably because they don't want their hands tied in going after areas of potential fraud or noncompliance.

            If the FBI or DOJ investigation finds evidence that there was no basis for heightened scrutiny other than the political leanings of the organizations, then I agree - this would be an abuse and heads should roll.

            But so far, this is not the case.

            Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

            by absdoggy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 07:25:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes there is. (0+ / 0-)

              I never said it was an audit, it was extra scrutiny- often unnecessary - for certain groups. Groups with certain political and ideological names. Which were targeted based on those words. And you do not think that is political?

              The report says:

              "The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention,"
              As the President said:

              "intolerable and inexcusable."

              •  No, I don't necessarily think it was political (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sylv

                I am a CPA and have dealt with the IRS before on similar matters.

                My point is, what the IG's report is describing is exactly what the IRS has done in other similar situations.  Again, I ask you - during the Clinton administration, the IRS singled out environmental group applications for tax exempt status (different code section, but same principle).  They did so in the same manner - based on the group's name and/or policy position. Was this political?

                No it was not.  They did so because they were getting a high volume of such applications, because they were new groups more commonly associated with political lobbying than charitable or social welfare purposes, and these 2 factors led the IRS to believe that there was an increased risk of fraud or noncompliance among these type organizations. The same is true for other types of groups and other types of financial transactions: new, unusual and high volume of activity is going to alert the IRS to increase scrutiny.

                The IG says the criteria should have been "indications of political campaign intervention". Okay, but how can there be such indications unless the IRS asks additional questions and applies extra scrutiny?

                Also, I think the IRS has a legitimate difference of opinion with the IG on this point: if the IRS cannot apply additional scrutiny based on new, unusual or sudden high volume of activity, then be prepared for a lot more fraud going on until the compliance division is able to catch them on the back end and its only years later that the IRS is able to apply extra scrutiny.

                Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

                by absdoggy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:02:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Two other points: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kristin in WA

                If the IRS had selected the  "Jewish Environmental Defense Fund" for extra review back in the 1990s, do we automatically assume that the IRS must be a bunch of anti-semites?

                If the IRS selected the "African-Americans of Georgia Investment Club" for audit, do we automatically assume the IRS must be racist?

                No we don't - they were simply caught up in the review of new and high volume applications for environmental groups and investment clubs that was going on at the time. Same principle applies here.

                Second, the President said IF the IRS had a politically motivated basis for doing this it was intolerable and inexcusable.  IF.  Which has not been shown.

                Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

                by absdoggy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:09:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Was their selection systematic? (0+ / 0-)

                  Sis they use the terms Jewish or African to apply extra scrutiny? No. Apples and bricks. That is the difference: specific terms were used to identify which applications would receive extra scrutiny without regard to their potential for not meeting the standard (which is supposed to be the criteria). Over 300 were identified- every single application with those terms.

                  It is chilling to think that under different circumstances the trigger could be Jewish, Africa, Progressive, etc.  It is wrong period.

                  •  Yes, the selection was systematic (0+ / 0-)

                    Specific terms were used to identify which applications would get extra scrutiny.

                    And here's the key point - "without regard to their potential for not meeting the standard".

                    That's false. There was regard to their potential for not meeting the standard. The potential was the fact that they were a new type of group, there was a high volume of applications, and in a short period of time, all of which create a potential for fraudsters and non-compliance.

                    As I have noted - under different circumstances the trigger has been "environmental", "investment club", "Hurricane Katrina", etc.  

                    This time the trigger was "tea party".  But again - the question is why was "tea party" a trigger?  The evidence suggests it was for the same reason that "environmental" was - the potential for fraudsters and non-compliance during a high-volume wave of new entities trying for tax exempt status.  

                    If the IRS agents involved are interviewed, or we examine their emails/letters/etc. and discover that this was not the case - that they selected these groups in an attempt to damage the Tea Party cause - then by all means fire them, and hell, put Karl Rove in charge of an independent probe into whether this involved the White House.

                    But that's not what the IG report says.

                    In the end, the IG report is correct in saying that the IRS should have been more transparent about this, and communicated better about it.  These failures more than anything are what has led to the President's remarks and the IRS' apology.

                    But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater and say that a legitimate IRS practice of targeting certain groups or transactions due to the new and high volume nature of their activity is wrong.

                    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

                    by absdoggy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 09:08:03 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No I was referring to (0+ / 0-)

                      african, or jewish.

                      You make a case that the IRS itself doesn't make.

                      The evidence suggests it was for the same reason that "environmental" was - the potential for fraudsters and non-compliance during a high-volume wave of new entities trying for tax exempt status.
                       

                      Why only those right wing terms? Why not progressive?

                      I would the out the baby- but treat all babies fairly- which the IRS didn't do.

        •  and not to mention that many are scams (0+ / 0-)

          look at their books. How much is spent on selves vs actually delivery of services. Many spend 80% or more on themselves and lifestyle, not services or education. It's just another tax shelter. As I recall a fellow tried to start one of those in the Austin area, got made at the IRS because he owed back taxes and refused his application and his wife hated him so he flew his plane into their building. I think in this case he was trying to start a "church." Anyway politics has EVERYTHING to do with it. There ain't supposed to be the taint of politics in this kind of non-profit.

      •  you misunderstand this law the same way the Tea (0+ / 0-)

        Party misunderstands. it is the job of the IRS to be sure that those who apply for 501(c)4 are performing a social service and not involved in political influence - no mater what kind of politics. It happenss that there were hundreds of teaparty applications and just having the name tea party or patriot in the name is a red flag that there is some kind of political action. I mean if it calls itself a goose, it's a goose. I'll also add that many of these applications were submitted by scam artists who saw an opportunity to get some money out of old white scaredy fat cats and it's the IRS's job to stop that nonsense as well.

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