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View Diary: Groups targeted by IRS pushed political activity boundaries (135 comments)

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  •  Yes and No (2+ / 0-)
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    lgmcp, Tuscarora

    If there's credible information that they are engaging in activity inconsistent with the law...and electioneering would certainly quality...you're quite correct they'd warrant extra scrutiny.

    But having the words "Tea Party" (or similar terms) in your name, alone, isn't sufficient reason to warrant extra scrutiny...or flag them for such.  That's apparently what happened here, and that's what the IG, the President, lawmakers from both parties have described as inappropriate and unacceptable.  So, no, the name alone doesn't merit a "closer look."  In fact, it's basically unconstitutional.

    In fact, the name of the organisation could be "Tea Party Patriots Committed to repealing the 14th Amendment and elimination all taxes and returning the country to conservative principles" and even then, applying extra scrutiny using that name alone as justification would be impermissible.

    Black Holes Suck.

    by Pi Li on Tue May 28, 2013 at 05:31:48 PM PDT

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    •  Really (3+ / 0-)
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      lgmcp, VeloDramatic, Laconic Lib

      What part of the Constitution forbids taking into account a name?  Are you suggesting that the FBI cannot take a closer look at the Friends of Al-Qaeda?

       

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Tue May 28, 2013 at 05:39:06 PM PDT

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      •  The 1st Amendment (0+ / 0-)

        Crikey, even the ACLU called the practice unconstitutional. It's a basic tenant of our democracy that you're not singled out based on your political beliefs.

        Look, if the IRS wants to decide that all these 501c's deserve extra scrutiny, more power to them.  I think most of these groups, on the left and right, are a blight, skirt the law and don't operate under the spirit of the statute. But they have to apply the extra scrutiny neutrally, across the board, without regard to political affiliation...or even the appearance that they're doing it with regard to political affiliation. It doesn't matter that you, or even the IRS, may think it's the Tea Party groups that are the ones doing most of the violating...you just can't go there, even if it may make practical sense.

        Let me give you a not so perfect, but apt analogy. If the police decide to give extra scrutiny to black and brown drivers, and pull them over based on their race alone...would it matter if in a subsequent search of their vehicle they found drugs? Would that make it OK? Would it be OK to search everyone of Middle Eastern descent who boards a plane, because the FBI thinks that's who the terrorists are? Of course not. It may make for effective and efficient law enforcement (or not), but in any event such profiling is impressible.

        Black Holes Suck.

        by Pi Li on Tue May 28, 2013 at 05:50:54 PM PDT

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        •  A name is not a political belief (1+ / 0-)
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          MissTrial

          If you want to claim that they were singled out for their political beliefs, that is one thing. But it is not the case here.  They were singled out for their names--which they chose, and which clearly conveyed that they were likely to be engaging in electoral politics, thus warranting heightened scrutiny to determine if such activiity was their primary activity.

          And again, I reserve the right to exercise my judgment--so I don't really care what the ACLU said.

          Your analogies are flawed.  The correct analogy is whether a traffic stop would be justified  of a car with a bumper sticker that says "Hey officer--there is a greater than 80% chance that there's a brick of hashish in my trunk."

          Sorry, but it ain't profiling to take a close look at a group that advertises by its name its natue.

          "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

          by Old Left Good Left on Tue May 28, 2013 at 06:04:27 PM PDT

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          •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

            Disagreeing and exercising your own judgement on this matter is certainly your right.

            Black Holes Suck.

            by Pi Li on Tue May 28, 2013 at 06:07:16 PM PDT

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          •  And BTW (1+ / 0-)
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            lgmcp

            Your bumper sticker analogy is incorrect. The groups in question were singled out because they had words like "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in them...not "Re-Elect Michelle Bachman".

            A more apt analogy, re: the bumper sticker, would be a bumper sticker that said "Legalise Pot Now." I'm assuming you don't think such a sticker would warrant that car being stopped.

            Black Holes Suck.

            by Pi Li on Tue May 28, 2013 at 06:09:53 PM PDT

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            •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

              The IG report, for example, concluded that more than 80% of the Tea Party groups applying for 501(c)(4) status warranted additional scrutiny.  So try reading my comment again.

              "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

              by Old Left Good Left on Tue May 28, 2013 at 06:54:40 PM PDT

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              •  Again, missing the point (0+ / 0-)

                It's interesting that you quote the IG's report for your own ends, but ignore the conclusions of the report. It's not question of whether it was discovered that they warranted additional scrutiny. It's about the criteria they used to flag these groups in the first place. What's so hard to understand about this?

                The issue is singling them out using key words in their name as criteria. That's the thing people (not you) have an issue with. The fact that it was later determined that they warranted "additional scrutiny" is irrelevant, and doesn't excuse the IRS's initial impermissible, and unconstitutional, actions.

                Had the IRS received specific information that X group was engaged in questionable activity, then it would be permissible, and appropriate, to investigate THAT GROUP. But that's not what we're talking about here.

                To go back to your bumper sticker analogy. Suppose the police pulled over every car that said "Legalise Pot Now", because they thought, well, those people must be carrying pot. And later they discovered that 80% of the cars they pulled over had either pot or drug paraphernalia...would that have made pulling those cars over, based solely on their bumper sticker, OK? Of course not.

                Look, I understand that you disagree...but I have to tell you, your understanding of the law, the constitution, and the facts, is wrong. If a group calls itself "Tea Party", and the government singles them out based on that alone alone, that's a constitutional violation. The government just CANNOT discriminate that way, it has to apply the law equally. It doesn't matter what they think other tea party groups are doing. If you can't see that, I don't know what to say to you. And it's not just me saying that, as I've pointed out.

                Anyway, we're not going to agree, so I'll leave it that. If you'd like you can have the last word.

                Black Holes Suck.

                by Pi Li on Tue May 28, 2013 at 07:14:48 PM PDT

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                •  Tell you what (0+ / 0-)

                  The way one determines what the law is by citing a case.  Go ahead--cite a single case that says that the IRS cannot take into account the name of an organization in determining whether to examine it.  Because so far no one has done so--instead, you toss up stupid analogies to racial profiling.

                   

                  "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                  by Old Left Good Left on Tue May 28, 2013 at 07:32:33 PM PDT

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                •  And also (0+ / 0-)

                  Go ahead and indicate what fact I got wrong.

                  "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                  by Old Left Good Left on Tue May 28, 2013 at 07:34:08 PM PDT

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    •  How about "Committee to Re-elect the President"? (0+ / 0-)

      Is THAT a name that in and of itself might merit closer scrutiny?  

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Tue May 28, 2013 at 05:50:06 PM PDT

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