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The Sunday talk shows are again going on about the IRS tax-exempt question.  Neither the Democrats nor Republicans are arguing against the accusation of bias.  However, neither makes a clear claim of violation of a specific law.  Both sides say it's unacceptable - whether or not it is actually illegal.  That is a significant distinction I will get to in a moment.

Let us review.  It was the IRS's duty to distinguish between organization which qualified for tax-exempt status and those which did not.  The question is whether when the IRS did this it was done in a politically selective way rather than equally for all.  Tax-exempt status can be beneficial for non-profit groups that meet the criteria.  Humanitarians would prefer that real charities and similar groups not be taxable.  Still, it's not a basic democratic right.

What is a basic democratic right?  Voting is about as basic as you can get.  How much good would it do to be able to say whatever you wanted, but have no say in the government?  In 2012, Florida selectively purged its voter rolls - in a manner which was biased against groups which are more likely to vote Democratic.  Florida claimed to have reason to think the people were ineligible to vote, but did not present evidence - then many of those people proved Florida wrong by showing they were eligible.

Also in 2012, various Republican states used various attempts to make being able to vote more difficult, to discourage minorities, to discourage certain communities with hours-long waiting lines at some voting sites.  In the 2012 election, if you add up all the votes for every Congressional district you'd find Democrats got 51% of the votes for House seats.  Yet, Republicans took a majority of the seats because of gerrymandering.

What is more important - the lessening of our democracy and the misrepresentation of our voters' will - or selective verification of some groups' tax-exempt status?

OK.  Gerrymandering may not be illegal.  Selectively purging voter rolls may not be illegal.  Selectively discouraging voters may not be illegal.  The various ways to weaken democracy may not be illegal.  But illegal may not be the issue with the IRS either.  Which is more important?  The Democrats and media are essentially silent on these questions.  Why aren't we hearing about this also?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    by workingwords on Sun May 19, 2013 at 08:38:48 AM PDT

  •  The issue is relevant, IMHO, because, (0+ / 0-)

    if federal taxes are collected to return the currency to the Treasury, whence it originates, then there is no reason to have exemptions. If our records are to be accurate, and if the circulation of the currency is to be augmented, then no dollars should be left out. Moreover, if that functional agenda is followed, then the rate of taxes will be determined by those practical considerations.
    Federal taxes should not be used to promote or discourage ideological perspectives. Imagine using inches to determine whether or not people get to eat. There is a relationship between inches and how many are needed to go around a person's waist, but the number should not be used to determine who gets to eat how much. No more should dollars.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:02:42 AM PDT

    •  But if (0+ / 0-)

      federal taxes are to return currency to the Treasury, our records must be inclined to be accurate. The circulation of currency must be augmented, to be sure, but then if that functional agenda is followed the rate of taxes will be determined not  to promote or discourage ideological perspectives but for other reasons. Dollars must be circulated, and if the Treasury, through 501(c)4's is going to augment that, the functional agenda is therefore followed.

      •  Exemptions do not promote recycling, nor good (0+ / 0-)

        record keeping.
        Well, that was true as long as the non-profits were exempt from filing any kinds of reports. That the exemption from filing has been rescinded is, I suspect, the REAL object of the objections.
        You see, the Obama administration has implemented the filing of income reports by all non-profits, period, regardless of whether or not taxes are owed. Previously, non-profits which took in no more than $25,000 were under no obligation to file any kind of report. But, without any information in the data base, how was the IRS to determine that any organization was taking in more? The GM charitable fund could claim, for an outrageous example, that they taken in no more than that minimal amount and how would the IRS prove different.
        Also, we need to remember that the income tax is voluntary in the sense that people file and pay on their word of honor and it's only if perjury can be proved on the part of the person attesting to its accuracy that there is a prosecutable offense.
        The U.S. runs on voluntary compliance. This is very upsetting to authoritarians. How can they satisfy the impulse to coerce,    
        if citizens are compliant on their own. Democracy is a challenge to tyrants, not just because there is no role for them, but because self-direction is a foreign concept. Authoritarians do not know how to function in a self-directed environment.
        I suppose in that sense authority and autonomy are antagonistic concepts.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:49:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm A LOT more concerned about us hitting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, workingwords

    400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere.  That is a real PROBLEM (Yes, I meant to yell that.) we need to be urgently and actively working on, but nooooooo.  We get the talking heads going on and on about psuedo-issues brought up by dickheads like Issa and McConnell et all.  

    AARRRGGGHHHH!!!  deep breaths, deep breaths

    Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

    by bkamr on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:25:01 AM PDT

    •  Tsk, Tsk (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You act as if a global environmental catastrophe is more important than the inconvenience of conservatives proving they qualify for tax exemption!

      "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

      by workingwords on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:06:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The POTUS is trying hard to get out in front (0+ / 0-)

    of the IRS issue.

    I think you will see at least two more senior managers resign soon. Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Organizations, has retained William Taylor III, a high profile criminal defense attorney. The other is Holly Paz, the Director of Rulings and Agreements. Because these are career civil servants they are entitled to due process. However, I believe you will see them make deals to resign in the very near future. The criminal probe by the DoJ may create a second round at some future point. One issue is lying to Congress. Several senior members of the IRS management were, at best, not candid in their testimony to Congress.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun May 19, 2013 at 09:52:21 AM PDT

  •  We now have some Democrats suggesting Obama (0+ / 0-)

    fire a lot of people, including AG Holder. There is nothing to any of these fake scandals. But Democrats get scared again as they did because of ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, Van Johnson, etc.. Haven't they learned, it doesn't matter how many, or who they fire, the republicans will continue with their fake outrage, scandals and obstruction.

    Too bad people aren't paying attention to real scandals involving republicans not doing anything to help recover the economy for 4 1/2 years. But instead they obstruct (about 430 filibusters), Numerous hearings on fake scandals, voting to repeal ACA 38 times. We now know one of the reason for all the repeal ACA votes, has more to do with new republicans having their names recorded as a vote against it for political reasons.

    All this has cost the tax payers what could be $100s of Millions. Now these are real scandals. If the MSM didn't suck, these are the scandals they should investigate and report.

  •  I am also curious how the MSM will push the (0+ / 0-)

    the story of the fake and altered talking points republicans gave ABC about Benghazi, the excuse republicans showed so much outrage over and the basis for their fake scandal.

    They have held at least 9 hearings costing over $55 million and time best spent creating jobs and recovering the economy. 15% of congress time was spent trying to repeal ACA. What percentage of time has been spent holding fake hearings, blocking nominees? And finally, how much time left out of the few days congress is in session was actual legislation accomplished?

    Republican history making obstruction, which include all these fake scandals and hearings, borders on treason. Yet, only about 1% (evening MSNBC) of the MSM touch the subject. In fact, I bet most people don't know republicans have filibustered about 430 times. They instead talk about the second term being a curse and how much Obama hasn't done and fake scandals. The Republican party is a scandal.

  •  Petition to Enforce law defining 501(c)(4) groups (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    we petition the obama administration to:

    Enforce law defining 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations as "operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare".

    The IRS has been reading "exclusively" as "primarily" since 1959, and by doing so they made IRS workers become judges and investigators of political activity. IRS employees were then forced to evaluate just how political a given 501(c)(4) organization might be. Since the Citizens United SCOTUS ruling, many groups are popping up wanting to keep their donor lists secret while influencing political campaigns, which are now always ongoing. The solution is to revert to the original law, still on the books, which requires these groups to be operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare. The IRS does not want to be in the business of defining which group is doing political activity and which is not, nor does the public want this to continue.

    Please sign at

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