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View Diary: Hey, GOP: Stop pretending any self-described "tea party" group couldn't possibly be political (47 comments)

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  •  I can agree with part of this. (0+ / 0-)

    First, the relative amounts of money raised is irrelevant.  Some groups are better at raising money than others.  It's none of the IRS's business.

    Second, I'd like to know if a special section of IRS employees was created to give extra scrutiny to progressive groups, as was done for conservative groups.

    Third, I'd also like to know if the IRS came up with special search terms to identify Progressive-leaning groups, like it did for the conservative groups.

    Fourth, I'd like to know if any Progressive groups were subjected to the same level of scrutiny as was given to conservative groups.

    It appears that the average Progressive group was approved within three months, while many conservative groups waited through a 27-month period where NONE of them were processed.

    Also, though it matters whose applications were denied, and why, it matters just as much whose applications were DELAYED and why.  It is undisputed that for 27 months -- through TWO ELECTION CYCLES, not a single conservative group was processed, much less approved.  There were hundreds of such conservative groups that sat in limbo, unable to carry out their intended activities through two elections.

    If any such thing had occurred as to Progressive groups, we'd have heard about it by now -- and the cries of protest would be well-justified.

    If there were ANY parity as to who was subjected to this behavior -- which amounts to persecution -- then we'd have heard about it by now.

    In addition, the IRS Inspector General report is almost completely devoid of details -- precise "who, what, when, where, and why" information.  It's little more than a CYA document.

    Finally, a fair number of Democrats in the House and Senate are on record CALLING FOR THIS TYPE OF SCRUTINY of Tea-Party-type applications.

    Several have, laughably, now come out railing against the very activity they advocated in the recent past.

    The silence from the administration as to these details is as telling as the noise in this case.

    •  But "we" HAVE heard about it (0+ / 0-)

      For instance, actual copies of info requests from IRS to progressive groups -- rather extensive requests! See:

      http://www.scribd.com/...

      As for Democrats calling for tea party applications to be scrutinized, well, of course. That's what the law says IRS should do. The Democrats were making the claim (which third parties, me included, make) that tea party groups are, on the surface, ineligible for such standing in the tax code.

      Meanwhile, though the GOP has in the past used the IRS to scrutinize the NAACP and investigate other progressive non-for-profits in myriad ways, it hasn't had a peep to say about the current wild west of 401(c)4 tax protection because it happens to like the rules, except when it's in the party's interests to dislike them to score political points. As we now know, conservative groups flooded the IRS with such applications. And my bet is that they deliberately filed late in the election cycle. Please note that while the IRS reviewed their applications, they remained perfectly free to carry on as though the application would later be approved. No one's rights were thus held in abeyance. They spent their money.

      •  I don't care who does it; it's wrong (0+ / 0-)

        I don't accept the argument that because the GOP did it in the past, that it's OK to do it now.

        If the GOP did that in the past, then they were wrong and should have faced severe consequences.

        If the Dems are doing that now, same thing.

        Also, no one is "perfectly free" to carry on with their activities with the IRS crawling up their asses.  The IRS may say that, but their thuggish tactics say otherwise.  If you spend your money and your application is rejected, then you owe taxes on that money, do you not?

        I doubt the IRS would take an apology as payment of taxes owed.

        Also, there is nothing wrong with filing an application late in an election cycle (which is speculation, for sure), but there IS something wrong in taking more than TWO YEARS to process the applications, particularly when applications of another political bent just sail on through.

        Those waiting for their applications to be processed may have filed late in the FIRST election cycle, but not the next, when their applications were still pending.

        •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

          However, I don't think I ever said that one bad turn deserves another; I did note that when the GOP has pulled these kind of stunts, the tendency (with the very great exception of Richard Nixon, who left smoking-gun evidence everywhere) is to let it pass unchallenged.

          The IRS deals with a lot of groups and a lot of issues and it's not uncommon for even smaller, isolated issues to require months of back and forth. If you want the IRS to handle things faster, appropriate the money to hire back the staff that has been downsized.

          •  Better yet, repeal the 16th Amendment (0+ / 0-)

            Better idea:

            Trash the income tax, which is a complicated mess that even our former Treasury Secretary couldn't figure out.  I guess an apology worked for him.

            It's unpredictable.

            It's opaque.

            It's rife with the opportunity to reward friends -- and punish enemies, not just through corrupt administration (like we're seeing now), but in who it taxes, at what rate, and who it lets skate by paying no tax.  Both parties abuse the system horribly, but it's hard to see because of the ridiculous complexity.

            It punishes success because of its outrageous, steeply progressive nature.

            Can it.  Forever.  It's an abysmal, oppressive failure.

            ====

            Replace it with a national sales tax with an upper percent set in the Constitution.

            That way, the big consumers pay more taxes, the little guys pay less.  But everyone pays.  Period.

            No more need for accountants.  Ever.  They can re-train to become regular financial advisers.

            We could shrink the IRS by about 95%.  I personally would moonwalk around my house three times if that happened.  Ok, I can't moonwalk, but I'd be happy at the very thought of that.  They could re-train to do something, I'm sure.

            A national sales tax would be VERY easy to track.  It's out there for everyone to see -- and feel.  Politicians could no longer bury provisions deep in the code to skew the system to help the privileged few.

            That way, when politicians raise taxes, it affects EVERYONE.  No taking money from one group to give to another.  That has never been fair, and it promotes the very type of "Us v. Them" mentality that has crippled political discourse for decades.  No more class warfare.  When everyone feels the sting of taxes, there will be less taxation.  Politicians like to keep their jobs.

            Also, have a flat tax on businesses -- no loopholes, no exceptions.  Any business with any part of its operations in the United States gets a flat tax on REVENUES, not PROFITS.  That way, big businesses cannot just pay their executives a shitload of money to bleed the money out of the "profit" column to shield it from taxation.

            Make the tax rate low, and it's just an easily-calculated cost of doing business.  The big corporations could not wriggle out of paying taxes by sucking up to politicians, as there are no exceptions.

            Better to get 5% of Goldman-Sachs, Wal-Mart, and other revenue than near 0% of their profits.

            As for people on welfare, you can just add 5% to how much they receive to offset the tax.

            The working poor -- and the unemployed would benefit, if not in the short run, then certainly down the road a little because . . .

            A national sales tax would also be a huge boon to the economy.  I pay a large percent of my income in federal income tax.  I'd spend nearly all of that on SOMETHING, which would help the businesses I make purchases from.

            Under the present system, I pay it to the government, which wastes a huge percentage of it.  Even if the government spends it to purchase things, the purchasing power is reduced greatly to pay for administrative costs (including government inefficiency, which is substantial).

            I'm still open to suggestion as to a method for keeping huge conglomerates from perverting OTHER parts of government to their own ends -- and at the expense of small players like me.

            I have some ideas, but they are controversial -- and would be met with fierce resistance from many sides.

            •  Be that as it may (0+ / 0-)

              (and I don't think a national sales tax is a good idea), the best fix here is a lot more targeted and pertinent. Get Congress and the IRS to carefully define, once and for all, the rules pertaining to the 50-year old law that created the "social welfare" tax exemption. And reconcile the chores of the FEC and IRS relating to campaigning and tax deductions for political groups. Then, no more freeway-wide gray areas.  

      •  Those requests are pretty bad, BUT (0+ / 0-)

        That is only one example of onerous (but not as draconian) requests of progressive organizations, where the requests of conservative organizations number in the hundreds -- and asked for far more information.

        Have I read them all?

        No.

        Others seem to be going through them now, and I have not heard anyone vouch for their reasonableness, either.

    •  Also... (0+ / 0-)

      From what I am able to gather, no "special group" was created to handle the tea party group applications. Rather, the Cincinnati IRS office was charged with handling all such applications from every kind of group. When applications soared after Citizens United into the many thousands, that pre-existing unit was overwhelmed, so some of the work was farmed out to other district offices. Arguably that decentralized the process and possibly enabled inconsistencies. Which is exactly the problem the IRS had had in recent years as it has had to deal with staffing cuts. You can't take away tools and then complain when the carpenter doesn't always make a straight cut.  

      •  More will come out. (0+ / 0-)

        My reading of the IG report was that a special group was created just for the Tea-Party-type applications.  I forget what it was called now.

        I'm pretty sure that's the case, but I'm not gonna stamp my foot and say I'm sure.

    •  With Limited Resources Money Matters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      If the IRS has the choice of auditing someone living below the poverty line cheating on his taxes versus a billionaire potentially cheating on his chances, they get more bang out of a buck going after the billionaire.

      The percentage of groups being delayed matters but that point already had been much discussed so I addressed the other three that were not being discussed.

      Finally, (and this is a complement to conservatives) when they feel screwed they write to their elected representatives and complain. Their politicians then stand up for them. Liberals tend to throw up their hands and give up. Also, liberal politicians don't defend their own kind, like ACORN and the NAACP when they were audited because of the dispute between Julian Bond and Bush.

      •  Not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

        Billionaires and corporations can afford to hire very smart tax lawyers and drag things out until the IRS decides to settle or agree with them. Little guys almost never have that option.

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