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

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  •  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.

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