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View Diary: Liberal groups received same IRS letter that ignited Tea Party outrage (149 comments)

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  •  There's actually a reason, I believe (15+ / 0-)

    I was giving this some thought this morning on this exact topic.

    Why wouldn't the IRS want to target groups that had "Tea Party" or something like that in their request for tax exempt status in 2010?  It would be the same thing as targeting groups that had "Obama" or "McCain" in their title in 2008. Or "Romney" or "Mormon" in 2012.

    The reason to particularly scrutinize them is because you don't want to hand out tax-exempt status to a group that isn't doing something other than real tax-exempt work.

    Excuse me for channeling Herman Cain here when I say, "I don't have any facts to back this up," but if you're running the IRS, would you possibly have a history of people or organizations who tried to jump on a bandwagon of a popular movement at the time to gain a tax shelter?  Would "Temperance" have been challenged?  How about "Civil Rights" or "Equal Rights" in the title?

    Personally, I hope they look at all tax-exempt applications with a skeptical eye, but especially ones that pop up because of some groundswell of attention.

    After all, they are the Internal Revenue Service.  Their function is to collect revenue for the government, not to automatically exempt people or groups.  The only law on the books is, "If you receive income, we tax it."  After that, it's 500 pages of exceptions.

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:39:35 AM PDT

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    •  I agree completely (7+ / 0-)

      Why wouldn't any group with the name "party", for example, receive specific scrutiny?  

      When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

      by msmacgyver on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:42:09 AM PDT

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    •  Are the laws clear enough? (0+ / 0-)

      I would not expect the Republican House to let good changes pass, but let's consider whether Congress needs to clarify the law. That way we have a long-term goal and we can start introducing resolutions at Democratic conventions starting NEXT YEAR.
      I belong to a drug policy reform listserv. The president of the parent organization has told me not to submit messages that are too partisan because they could endanger the group's tax-exempt status.

      Censorship is rogue government.

      by scott5js on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:41:33 AM PDT

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    •  Mike (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You're right on target! The IRS and every other tax agency flags certain tax returns for additional scrutiny. Those of us who have worked in tax agencies are probably all wondering---where's the story? There are all kinds of key words that they use to flag returns for various reasons. They also flag returns prepared by certain preparers if they feel it is warranted. I've seen many cases where hundreds of returns were held up for months because the preparer was under suspicion of filing false returns. The IRS can and does hold up the returns of anyone if they feel it is warranted. Ask someone what they do with people who use language like a tax protester (This is how they got Wesley Snipes) --those returns are immediately flagged, all based on certain key words. This is a made up scandal because the IRS didn't do a good job of explaining the challenge that they are facing with the heavy volume of drummed up 501c4 submissions. It is not surprising that they held up more of the tea party applications. We all know that right wing groups use a cookie cutter approach in a highly orgamized way (like ALEC) which likely caused the IRS to be inundated with applications--I only wish groups on the left were as organized. Someone needs to report on the number of applications from liberal groups vs tea party and conservative groups--I bet you'll find 10 times more from the right than from the left!

    •  Because (0+ / 0-)

      They only used rw terms/words.  You are correct when you say "I don't have any facts to back this up,"

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