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I continue to hear the media blabbering about the IRS targeting Tea Party groups.  If one knows what to ask for, a web search will turn up a small number of media sources such as Businessweek that report some liberal groups got the same treatment.  But generally, the media presents it as if it were strictly directed at conservatives.  And that is really what makes it a "scandal".

One of the IRS's duties is to determine which organizations fall into the taxable category and which are tax-exempt.  Whether or not the IRS did this in the most appropriate way, it's not so puzzling why they might have wanted to check groups whose names included "Tea Party" or "Patriot".  Groups that try to elect candidates and such aren't tax-exempt.  That's why you can't deduct campaign contributions off your income tax forms.  We all know that some elected officials are referred to as being "Tea Party".  So why is it so strange that the IRS wants to know if a group with a Tea Party name is trying to elect Tea Party politicians?

OK, but what does "Patriot" have to do with it?  It may be because the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Patriot" program is a fund-raising effort to help the GOP's Congress members who are most at risk of losing in the next election.

In both cases, there is reason to believe "Tea Party" or "Patriot" groups might be election-oriented groups.

On the other hand, the Businessweek article tells us liberal groups with names like "Progress Texas" and "Emerge America" were subjected to the same scrutiny as the Tea Party groups.  (Emerge America actually was denied tax-exempt status.)  Can anyone tell me how those names might imply they were election-oriented groups?  Maybe, THAT should be the scandal.


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