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View Diary: IRS Targeted Progressive Groups MORE than Tea Party (93 comments)

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  •  It doesn't matter if it was progressive groups (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ericlewis0, nextstep, Kvetchnrelease

    or Tea Party groups, what matters is how they were treated by the IRS and if the applications were processed in a fair and timely manner. The press has reported that some groups received no response from the IRS for a year or more. That's just wrong, regardless of the political ideology of the applicants. In addition, some of the requests for information have been well beyond what the IRS needed to make a judgement on the application. The Congressional focus on the Tea Party was misguided, but the focus on the IRS, and it's process, was appropriate.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 11:04:17 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Not a bit (61+ / 0-)

      The focus was entirely on the targeting of Tea Party groups. Since it appears the IRS exempted all groups it investigated, and many or most of those have tax-exempt status and were allowed such even though they explicitly are political action groups, a focus on that would be appropriate.  Complaining that the process was slow, after the IRS has been operating on reduced staffing due to Republican desires is akin to complaining about reduced security at embassies and consulates after you've reduced the budget for security.  

      •  Nope, the data does not agree with you (3+ / 0-)

        When this issue first came to the surface several entities went through the caseload, staffing and budget history and that wasn't the cause. These applications were being routinely handled within a few months and then the IRS went radio silent followed by more intense review. There was a change in policy, and there may have been a good reason, but the communication with the public, Congress and the applicants was dismal.  

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 11:25:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  same time (54+ / 0-)

          as federal job positions were being frozen, furloughs, budget cuts, as well as more politicalization of everything.  No wonder they went for duck and cover.

          As for Issa's investigation, he asked that it only include waht was done to right leaning groups, it was not real, and the IG shouldn't have gone along with it.  I am all for sunshine in government, but Issa and his hunts for scandal are just more obfuscation.

          The IRS could have done better.  Issa did wrong on purpose.

        •  I missed that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ericlewis0, Tonedevil, caul

          the concern was about the time taken to not decertify groups.  My impression from casual information about the hearings was that they were mostly about outrage at which groups were targeted.  Were they also about delays?

          •  Yes, some groups had no response at all for (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ericlewis0

            as long as 18+ months.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 11:58:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Gave 'em extra time to (8+ / 0-)

              get directly involved in countless GOP primaries and funnel all that good Koch money into campaigns, in FLAGRANT violation of the 501(c)(4) regulations (and law!).

              Delays??? These sombitches are lucky they haven't been perp-walked for TAX FRAUD!

              •  And these Koch groups (4+ / 0-)

                will be getting away with this thru 2014 , because the IRS has been told to stand down on the subject , but the IRS will still go after progressive groups of course

                Obama and the dems should bring the hammer down on the Issa stooges and the IRS with the info in the diary , and not listen to these wimpering comments of VClib voters

                Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                by Patango on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 03:01:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  StillAmused - what tax fraud? (0+ / 0-)

                The contributions were not tax deductible and these organizations never have profits so where is the tax fraud?

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 05:04:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A little slow on the uptake, (5+ / 0-)

                  are ya', Cletus?

                  "Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(4) provides for the exemption of two very different types of organizations with their own distinct qualification requirements. They are:

                  "• Social welfare organizations: Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated EXCLUSIVELY for the promotion of social welfare, and

                  • Local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of designated person(s) in a particular municipality, and the net earnings of which are devoted EXCLUSIVELY for the promotion of social welfare."

                  "Reg. 1.501(c)(4)-1(a)(2)(ii) provides that the promotion of social welfare does NOT include direct or indirect participation in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office."  — IRS (my emphases)

                  In other words, Cletus, these fraudulent applicants for the (c)(4) exemption are not only directly or indirectly participating in political campaigns, they don't have to disclose the sources of the money they're using to do it!

                  If it walks like tax fraud and talks like tax fraud, then...

                  Always glad to help...

                  •  c'mon drop the 'cletus' stuff please (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Kvetchnrelease, VClib

                    VClib is always polite and presents his cases clearly...no need for Yahoo! Talk™

                    This machine kills Fascists.

                    by KenBee on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 06:21:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  StillA - for many years the IRS has applied a (0+ / 0-)

                    "majority" standard rather than an "exclusive" standard to these 501 c 4 organizations. The reason is that the Congress passed a Revenue Act in the 60s that conflicted with part of the 501 c 4 regulations. While the IRS has repeatedly asked Congress to clarify this section it has never done so. That has led to the practice of "majority" standard. The IRS has recently solicited comments on how it should re-write the 4c standards. The exclusive language will be modified, although it is unlikely that "majority" will be substituted. It will likely be somewhere between 30-40%.

                    No 501 c 4 organization who has applied, or has been approved, is committing any tax fraud by using less than half of its funds for political ads. That's the current safe harbor standard, although it is likely to change before the 2016 election.  

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 07:22:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Having been chastised by your legal counsel, (0+ / 0-)

                      I will (more) respectfully point out that the ONLY discernible 'activity' in which most — if not all — 'Tea Party' groups are engaged is political!

                      This is not a statistical hair-splitting exercise... the 'Tea Party' "experience" — unique among other 501(c)(4) applicants (except for the Kochs' AFP itself!) — is a literal tsunami of in-your-face, partisan political involvement, and both the history and financing of many 'Tea Party' groups is a matter of public record.

                      Your reading assignments, should you choose to accept them:

                      This and this from our own Daily Kos.

                      ... and these from Sourcewatch, HuffPo, Reid Report, Alternet and The Nation.

                      If you need more, The Google is your friend.

                      Cheers.

                      •  SA - there is nothing mutually exclusive (0+ / 0-)

                        about being a Tea Party advocate organization and qualifying for, and complying with, 4 C regulations. None of us know how these groups are actually spending their donations and if they are committing tax fraud or not. My understanding is that if a 4C group violates IRS regulations the remedies are civil and they are treated as a taxable entities. Few of these small 4 C organizations are "profitable" in an accounting sense as they tend to spend all of the donations they collect. Therefore there is no real incentive for the IRS to audit these entities in mass because there is no significant tax recovery available. The contributions to these 4 C's aren't tax deductible so there is no significant recovery available to the IRS from donors. The IRS typically targets people and entities where they can collect more taxes.  

                        "let's talk about that"

                        by VClib on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 08:26:26 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  "None of us know how these groups are actually (0+ / 0-)

                          spending their donations and if they are committing tax fraud or not." ???

                          The "fraud" lies not necessarily in "how these groups are actually spending their donations" but in their overwhelmingly documented, repeatedly reported and unashamedly trumpeted PARTISAN POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT in numerous campaigns, the whole POINT of the law and its derived regulation. It's their reason for being — their ONLY reason — which means that they KNEW they were, and would be, in violation of both the statute and the regulation governing 501(c)(4) WHEN THEY APPLIED.

                          Your unremitting, furious struggle to find an "out" for these fraudulent front groups on your calculator is impressive... dare I say, obsessive.

                          I'm sure you have your reasons. I'm not interested in knowing them.

                  •  I have long thought the IRS scandal was... (2+ / 0-)

                    that any applicant seeking to engage or subsequently engaged in politics on ANY level received or retained its 501(c)(4) certification.

                    The law itself and the regulations, as quoted above, clearly say that certified organizations may not engage in political activity of ANY kind.

                    The scandal is that the IRS does not immediately jerk the certification of ALL organizations that engage in political activity of ANY sort no matter how slight.

                    I have nothing against the organizations engaging in political activity. I just don't think those organizations should be given special tax treatment unless they follow the law that grants it to them.

                    "An egg is not poultry.” An old Blues tune's brilliant insight into the notion that a zygote can, in any sense, be "a person."

                    by carbonman1950 on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 07:57:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  The more intense review was appropriate, since (8+ / 0-)

          many organizations were applying for tax exempt status that probably didn't qualify.  An application should not be rubberstamped, which is what these entities were expecting.  The IRS was trying to do its job.  I'm glad there was a change in policy, whether it affected progressive causes more or less than teaparty ones.  Except, of course, that the IRS trying to do its job gave the asshat republicans something to cry "victim" about.

          •  Some historical perspective... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Prickly Pam, eagleray

            "The number of applications sent to the IRS by groups seeking 501(c)4 tax-exempt status begins to increase sharply, rising to 3,400 in 2012 from 1,500 in 2010, according to the IRS...

            "As of Aug. 8, they had spent more than $71 million on ads mentioning a candidate for president, according to estimates by Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, or CMAG. Super PACs have spent an estimated $56 million..." — ProPublica

            One might say that the crappola was hitting the fan in increasingly large, right-wing buckets, and IRS — lacking the ability to foretell the future — had failed to stock up on wetsuits and bilge pumps.

        •  Progress Texas received similar scrutiny as TeaP (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eagleray
          5/15/13.....A liberal group on Wednesday said it had faced the same level of scrutiny from the IRS that was applied to tea party groups.

          “Progress Texas and the Tea Party strongly disagree on the role of government,” the group’s executive director, Ed Espinoza, said in a statement. “Yet, when we applied for tax-exempt status, Progress Texas received the same type of additional scrutiny that Tea Party groups are complaining about. The similar treatment indicates the IRS was likely addressing a flood of 501c4 applications after Citizens United, and undermines the paranoid notion that Tea Party groups were singled out.”
          http://www.rawstory.com/...

          "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

          by MartyM on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:31:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The Bush administration started cutting the IRS (4+ / 0-)

        budget.

        The FBI complained about record numbers of foreclosures in 2004 but they had their staff  their budgets cut and personnel was reduced. It was the same for Food and Drug admin when the Chinese shipped us poison dog food children's toys with lead. There were not enough inspectors to cover the job.

        Money was stripped from the budgets of states with  radioactive waste sites. Guess we had to pay for the war somehow.

        Does this seem like a pattern?

        We have to remember that it was a Republican administration (Ike's) that changed the way the statute was interpreted without Congressional approval.

        Republicans are crazy, Democrats need to be useful and its up to us to save our democracy. Get to work.

        by Citizenpower on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 03:55:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They could always pay taxes (15+ / 0-)

      Truth is that groups that have no business being tax exempt and no interest in playing by the rules that go with tax exempt status apply for it and operate under that status all the time. Why should a group trying to buy political influence be tax exempt? answer they shouldn't be… therein lies the answer to your question. The IRS has an obligation to make sure that they are granting this status to a group who isn't planning to misuse it and has an actual claim to avoiding taxation. Truth is these political action groups have zero charitable purpose or intention and every intention of hijacking our political system toward their agenda. If they want to be honest with who they are, they would admit they are not a charity and just pay taxes and end of discussion.

      •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theKgirls

        This whole IRS episode was "The Office".  It wasn't "House of Cards".

      •  DJM - PACs are tax exempt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BPARTR, eagleray

        In addition, these political groups never have taxable profits so it really doesn't make any difference. They always make sure they spend a little more than they take in so this issue of tax exempt or taxable isn't important. They can always be PACs which are also tax exempt. The reason they seek status as a 4 C is that they don't have to disclose their donors. It has nothing to do with the tax status.

        These 4C groups are not and have never been charities and the donations have never been tax-deductible. That's not an issue for these political groups.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 07:29:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No taxes would be due if (0+ / 0-)

        costs matched income (roughly).

        That's not why the groups want this status. It is to keep donors  and recipients secret.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:28:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We could always (10+ / 0-)

      increase funding for the IRS so that they have more cops on the beat and don't have all these delays, but then they might also have time to make sure billionaires are actually paying their taxes, and we can't have that.

      29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 02:02:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ummm... (0+ / 0-)

      No... all these groups were committing fraud, applying for tax exempt status based on the idea that they were community based charities, except their entire purpose was actually to do political advocacy.

      Whether conservative or liberal, every group applying is a tax dodger submitting fraudulent paperwork.

      •  None of them, progressive or Tea Party claimed to (0+ / 0-)

        be charities or were seeking status that would allow contributions by donors to be eligible as a tax deduction. This seems to be a widely held Internet myth that is totally false.  

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 07:32:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prickly Pam

          doesn't tax exempt status mean they would avoid paying any taxes while engaging in either political advocacy or lobbying?

          I used to work for a nonprofit that had to avoid any "advocacy" and considered getting 501(c)4 status so they could do limited lobbying.  But I think several groups starting abusing this option -- claiming to be nonprofits but without a social welfare purpose (no charity, just politics).

          The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

          by LiberalLady on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 09:03:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  LiberalLady - if they were taxable and made (0+ / 0-)

            a profit yes, they would have to pay an income tax. However, these entities are run so that they never make a profit so it doesn't really matter. If you are an organization that is donor funded it's really easy not to be profitable.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 09:09:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  3 Progressive groups denied tax exempt status (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib
      3 Groups Denied Break by I.R.S. Are Named

      July 2011......Three nonprofit advocacy groups that were denied tax exemption by the Internal Revenue Service were all units of Emerge America, an organization devoted to cultivating female political leaders for local, state and federal government....... because, the agency wrote in denial letters, they were set up specifically to cultivate Democratic candidates. Their Web sites ask for evidence that participants in their training programs are Democrats.

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

      by MartyM on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 02:28:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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