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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) (R), speaks with Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) at Capitol Hill in Washington June 20, 2012. The House Oversight and Government Operations Committee is conside
The more we learn about the IRS "scandal," the clearer it becomes that Mark Sumner nailed it on day one: The IRS was just trying to do its job by making sure that groups seeking tax-exempt status actually qualified for the special treatment they sought. The latest:
Officials at the Internal Revenue Service were encouraged to flag groups with the word "emerge" in their names as well as potential successors to the anti-poverty organization ACORN, according to documents released by Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.
Organizations with "emerge" in their name tend to be Democratic, just like organizations with "9/12" in their name tended to be Republican. Given that one of the key requirements of achieving tax exempt status is that an organization not be primarily involved in electoral activity, exposing such groups to additional scrutiny seems pretty reasonable. And given that the agency used keywords to track both Democratic and Republican groups, Darrell Issa's claim that the GOP was unfairly targeted doesn't hold water.

It's possible that keywords aren't the best way to conduct screening—perhaps the IRS should have used other factors, like proximity to elections. But that sort of question is really mostly technical in nature and certainly doesn't come anywhere near the level of the political scandal that Issa had claimed it to be. In fact, it's frankly kind of boring, which makes it no surprise that Issa's reaction to the news would be to keep his mouth shut:

A request for comment from House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) office was not immediately returned.
Sure, the facts are against Issa. But what does he care? His job is to educate inform entertain Fox News viewers, and everybody knows facts don't have anything to do with that.

Tell the House Ethics Committee that the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee is not a place for politically motivated inquisitions that build campaign coffers. Rep. Darrell Issa should be investigated and censured for his misconduct.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am outraged (13+ / 0-)

    that a car-stealing, fire-setting high school dropout has this much power in our government. Voters, wake up! This is not a quality human being.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

    by anastasia p on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:04:55 AM PDT

  •  I'm outraged that anybody could be targetted (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, lyvwyr101, Gentle Giant

    on an unconstitutional basis.

    The IRS should have a damned good reason to subject any applicant to extra scrutiny and delay -- more properly known as harrassment.

    Something is wrong with the oversight in that agency.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:05:42 AM PDT

    •  Too much here and not enough on the "Intelligence" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, lyvwyr101, Gentle Giant

      Committee

      I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

      by JML9999 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:09:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't see the problem (14+ / 0-)

      These groups were applying for tax-exempt status. The IRS needed to screen them. The IRS was given too few resources to do its job because Republicans don't want any part of government to function.

      They took shortcuts such as scanning names for keywords. That may be dumb; it may even be unconstitutional; but I'm suffering from too much outrage fatigue to muster any for this.

      Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

      by blue aardvark on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:13:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lots of groups apply for tax-exempt status. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lyvwyr101

        There is no problem with ordinary scrutiny.

        The problem occurs when groups are singled out for special scrutiny and the criteria by which that is done.  If the criteria are unconstitutional (based, for example, on religious or political affiliation), then the extra scrutiny is improper.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:16:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Religious affiliation woudn't (8+ / 0-)

          raise a red flag since religious organizations are pretty much all tax exempt.  Political affiliation in itself shouldn't target the group for a closer look, but political activity certainly is, since political action groups are definitely not tax exempt.  And since groups affiliated with a particular party are more likely to be politically active, there's a path from A to B.  Maybe not the most direct path, but as long as it wasn't a case of one side being targeted while the other was immune it's at least equitable.  And considering the vast quantities of dark money being poured into campaigns in the post-Citizens United world, it's really not an unreasonable measure to take.  Issa's poutrage was over right wing groups being looked at more closely while left wing groups supposedly skated.  When that theory of the crime was debunked... crickets.

          I can't believe this is still a story.  Don't they have a Benghazi conspiracy to thrash out or something?

          I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

          by mojo11 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:28:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  dinotrac says (4+ / 0-)
          The problem occurs when groups are singled out for special scrutiny and the criteria by which that is done.
          Such a comment in a diary like this after all we have witnessed is outrageous , there were no rights being violated , and the GOP have been exposed as lying hypocrites , for anyone to give them legitimacy and cover for their actions just confirms why Americas governing apparatus is so dysfunctional , if we can not call out the witch hunting liars , we will be forever lost    

          Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

          by Patango on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 12:23:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  On what grounds is political affiliation not (0+ / 0-)

          constitutional?

          I won't believe corporations are people until Texas executes one. Leo Gerard.

          by tgrshark13 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 12:53:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Political groups are not exempt. That's why (0+ / 0-)

            these groups were under extra scrutiny. Many of them were clearly gaming the system.

            "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by Kombema on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 12:55:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  How could this be unconstitutional? (7+ / 0-)

        I seriously have a hard time understanding that claim.

        And I don't even see it as dumb.  People usually name organizations with some utility in the name.  It makes sense to me that they would have a first pass by looking at the names of the groups.

        Where else should they have started?  Or should the IRS just not have done their job?

        •  Right-thinking, God-fearing Americans KNOW (0+ / 0-)

          that subjecting patriotic, liberty-loving groups to any scrutiny whatsoever is an unconstitutional outrage. (snark off)

          The more people I encounter, the more I appreciate our cats.

          by Old Sailor on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 12:26:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Me too! Issa sops up my outrage like a sponge. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lyvwyr101, blue aardvark

        I have to recharge my outrage batteries to muster anything more.

        Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

        by Floyd Blue on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:26:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree (13+ / 0-)

      It is NOT "harassment" to investigate a group asking to be exempted from paying taxes on the grounds that it does non-political social advocacy work.

      There is NOTHING wrong with the IRS. There is something wrong with politicians who think their groups are entitled to potentially break the law and never be questioned about it.

      Anyone asking for a freebie from the IRS should be investigated.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:16:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This whole matter was diversionary (0+ / 0-)

      It was intended to create a smokescreen covering up the more distressing fact that the IRS does in fact work hand in glove with large law firms, accountancies, and anyone with real political power to rush "determinations" that well-heeled corporations and companies are tax-exempt.  

      Then they have the advantage of IRS laws to conceal contributions, move money around for different purposes (including those considered illegal or untoward, and generally play havoc with rules dealing with political uses of exempt contributions.  Both Democrats and Republicans make use of the IRS' passivity as a captive agency enthralled to high-priced tax lawyers, economists, and university professors who populate the many commissions and advisory boards that oversee IRS activities.  Absolutely bipartisan, this practice is common and uniform among the rich.

      Everyone on DK who is pleasantly smug about the "victory" in the House should think again.  While you're gloating at Issa's embarrassment, he and the other Republicans are yucking it up, how much money they raised via EOs in 2010 -- enough to win the house -- and how much more they expect to spend in 2014, taking (they hope) both houses.  

      Bob Jacobson, Tucson, Arizona & Malmö, Sweden | "The spirit is to win in the heart of the enemy." -- Sun Tzu, Art of War, 6th BCE

      by Cyberoid on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:18:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wait a minute. Issa hasn't started a hearing on (7+ / 0-)

    this targeting of Progressive groups? Hmm. This is one reason I'd like even a tiny Democratic edge in the 2015 House, say 219-216. It would tone down Issa and make him semi-invisible.

    Leviticus: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself"

    by TofG on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:06:45 AM PDT

  •  Your Joke goes here (5+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:07:47 AM PDT

  •  When does the investigation of Issa begin? (4+ / 0-)

    Does, for example, the GAO have authority to investigate the use of government resources for partisan political purposes?

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:12:03 AM PDT

  •  I hope the media covers this like it did the false (7+ / 0-)

    accusation, accusation that now are an article of faith among the Republican cadres.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:19:38 AM PDT

    •  The media is busy blaming Obama for (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, TDDVandy, lyvwyr101

      the NSA and the Patriot Act. Just like this site!

      •  I'm not sure about that. The rec list (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TDDVandy, lyvwyr101, Gentle Giant

        is very interesting in the NSA issue, and many rec-listed diaries and many commenters blame Obama.  The media, however, is covering the story, and every latest Greenwald or Snowden thing, but they also are covering many other things.

        The substative NSA issue (1.  Should the NSA be allowed to collect all this data and (2) If so, should there be more safeguards for privacy) gets some media coverage, but Snowden and Greenwald compete for coverage (not necessarily intentionally).  

        The fornt page covers the NSA story as one of many issues.  The heavy focus on NSA here is driven by a few hundred people for whom it is a very important issue.   So some people here are extremely critical of Barack Obama because of the NSA, just as they have been critical of Obama on various issues over time.  There have been some who demonize Obama, but in my experience (and I have avoided most flame war diaries), that is a minority view among critics of NSA.

        I guess my point is that the media is less focuses on NSA, Snowden, and Greenwald than the Rec list here.  

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:28:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed, DK has its priorities wrong, bigtime (0+ / 0-)

          Agreed, the NSA story is a thousand times worse for the well being of the nation than Issa popping off about the IRS, which knows how to take care of itself and survive both Democrats and Republicans, just bureaucratically moving forward at the behest of global law firms, big accountancies, and people in power.  The whole discussion here is rather ridiculous, remote from reality.  NSA's assault on our civil liberties is incontrovertible, as is the President's role in not protecting our Constitution or the people.  I'm pretty much done with DK, it's gone off the tracks.

          Bob Jacobson, Tucson, Arizona & Malmö, Sweden | "The spirit is to win in the heart of the enemy." -- Sun Tzu, Art of War, 6th BCE

          by Cyberoid on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:25:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Bo's private plane is article of faith (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Sailor

      among those same folks.  At some point, you just throw up your hands.

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

      by lgmcp on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:41:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Contact the San Diego County Democratic Party (4+ / 0-)

    And get involved so a Democratic challenger is mounted against Darrell Issa for the love of god.

    Website:  http://www.sddemocrats.org/
    Address:  8340 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
    Suite 105, San Diego, CA 92111
    Phone:  (858) 277-3367
    Fax:  (858) 571-0275
    Contact Form:  http://www.sddemocrats.org/...
    E-mail:  info@sddemocrats.org

  •  Issa is an isshole. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bryduck, lyvwyr101, Old Sailor
  •  What liberal media? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101, Gentle Giant, Old Sailor

    Alex Seitz Wald had a good column on how the media, including supposed liberals like Chuck Todd and Jon Stewart, freaked out big time when the IRS targeting was reported, with Todd calling it "Nixonian" before the first IG report was even released, and then basically not covering any of the follow up details, including groups with "progressive" or "Occupy" being targeted.

    link.

  •  I am outraged (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101

    that all of these groups were ultimately granted tax-exempt status.

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

    by TDDVandy on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:36:28 AM PDT

  •  It doesn't matter if the IRS targeted everybody (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101, Old Sailor

    in the nation. The idea that the rightwing organizations were targeted is still unfair. Only deferential treatment is fair for rightwingers. They are the anointed, God's own. The fact that organizations of all persuasions were targeted means nothing.

    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:37:10 AM PDT

  •  A lot of folks on this site were very ready (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101, Gentle Giant, myboo, majyqman

    to censure the IRS for inappropriate "targeting" behavior.  

    Not me.  I was confident that any targeting going on was exactly what it's supposed to be:  targeting potential abuse of tax law.  It seems to me that the IRS is pretty well insulated from electoral politics at the field level.  Sure, there could always be rogue individuals.  But a whole program of partisan scrutiny against anyone but the perennnial establishment target of "hippies" struck me as most highly unlikely and implausibe.

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

    by lgmcp on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:38:19 AM PDT

    •  One feeling I have about the IRS issue is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Old Sailor

      that the Right is only upset that they were even challenged. Their hope is that all of their money-generators would be given a pass by the IRS. That is the true source of their outrage. The feed trough was being threatened.
      Anyone else being scrutinized could be considered collateral damage, even a bonus for their side.

      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:46:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I am mad about is the fact that they came (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, Old Sailor, akadjian

    out and freaking "apologized" to the nation and said they were "targeting" tea party groups!  How ridiculously stupid and it will be used as a soundbite for elections to come.  They didn't say all groups or use a different word for "target"....nor did they say they did so because it was perfectly legal.  Rather, "We targeted and we apologize."

    Can't take that BS back and whoever the PR person was that thought apologizing to the tea baggers and  to the rest of the world was a bright idea ought to be on the soup line now....especially now that it is coming to light that they had no need to apologize and it was all groups and it was perfectly legal and proper.

  •  Exactly Bailey2001 (0+ / 0-)

    You can bet your a$$ this was set up as a PR campaign for the next election , from the beginning of it  , and it is unfortunate that The Obama Team took the bait  

    When this story broke Obama and all the senior dems got up the next day and condemned the IRS , taking the word of the False Witness Party , when will dems learn to not jump thru hoops on command form the GOP ?  

    Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

    by Patango on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 12:35:22 PM PDT

  •  Once a Used Car Salesman... (0+ / 0-)

    "What can I do to get you to buy into this scandal today?"

  •  issa (0+ / 0-)

    is one of the most disturbing four letter words in our vocab.

  •  What does Issa care? (0+ / 0-)

    Damage done...the storyline is out there.

  •  How many mea culpas have their been? (0+ / 0-)

    I mean, a few of us argued from the beginning that a Sherrod Brown like overreaction was unwarranted, and likely to end the same way...

    ...that the most likely of cases at the time (flood of tea party groups who were likely to (and as it turned out, did) break the rules re their exemption, and the flagging of which was an INSANELY efficient indicator of for who extra scrutiny was warranted (the true scandal being they got approved anyway)) was still, you know, not a scandal...

    ...and even then there were a suspiciously large number of other groups also reviewed with, what, not a liberal group to be found? So maybe there was some more "there", there, and maybe we find out about that before doing the republicans job for them..?

    ...and here we are, IRS was doing NOTHING wrong... it used keywords for both ideologies to narrow down those likely to be misusing the exception (as in, groups likely to be engaged in political activity more than anything else), and Issa played a good number on this site for utter fools by having a report made with specific instructions to only review the targeting of conesrvatives, and subsequently investigation this handily perfect situation for him to decry...

    ...and these people believes Issa! ISSA! And began apologizing for the bad things liberals had no control over anyway... because Sherrod Brown never happened to learn from... or anything Issa has done, ever...

    ...and so I figured, now, there'd be a few mumbled apologies and slinking away at least...

    But no! Dead quiet or doubling down is apparently where it's at.

    Well, if we ever needed an indictator by which to know with absolutely certainty who to assign literally zero trust factor to the assertions of...

  •  Never any facts (0+ / 0-)

    It's always funny to me that Democrats fail to provide facts for an argument.  It's like knowing that the Lexus line is the most stolen car line in the world (I made that up), but Democrats point to one Smartcar getting stolen and saying: "SEE, I TOLD YOU SMALL CARS ARE STOLEN JUST AS MUCH..."  No, not really.  

  •  Big congratulations over nothing (0+ / 0-)

    So Issa was wrong and now looks stupid.

    The fact is, the IRS is often complicit in taking better care of some taxpayers -- particularly the rich and powerful -- than others, the rest of us.  While everyone here is cawing about how bad Issa looks, they're not watching the IRS closely enough to see how involved it is in helping out the rich.  But I get it that DK is no longer a journal of critical thought, but rather a cheerleading section.  Rah rah, the billions the rich don't pay soon becomes your responsibility, money scrapped together to pay for the wars, the bailouts, etc.  

    What are you all so thrilled about?  It's happening now, these thefts and bendings of the law? And you're worried about Issa? WTF!

    Bob Jacobson, Tucson, Arizona & Malmö, Sweden | "The spirit is to win in the heart of the enemy." -- Sun Tzu, Art of War, 6th BCE

    by Cyberoid on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:30:22 AM PDT

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