I can’t deal with the IRS news coverage right now.
In case you haven’t turned on a television, booted up your computer, glanced at a newspaper or listened to a radio in the past few days, the news is all a twitter (and so is Twitter) about the IRS – it just came out that the Internal Revenue Service targeted Tea Party Groups since 2011. Naturally, people are up in arms, as they should be. The IRS was profiling these groups based on the way their names sounded, and with this profiling, they have limited free speech.
It’s bad. I agree. But the response from the right is sickening.
S.E. Cupp is on The Cycle using this as a perfect example to prove that small government is best. The right is crying foul that their civil liberties are being trounced upon, which is utter bullshit considering how many other civil liberties they seem to be fine with throwing away for the rest of us.
John Boehner outright said that someone needed to go to jail for this, as you can see here:
What I want to know is this: where was this outrage when Wall Street was robbing us blind?
Where was this anger, and where were these calls for accountability and imprisonment, when families were losing their life savings to reckless lending practices and rampant corruption in the Big Banking sphere? Where was this outrage when millions of people were losing their jobs and CEOs were pocketing the change? Where was this disgust when workers had to come out of retirement to pay their bills?
Why do our elected officials only cry foul, waving their arms and crying “civil liberties” when their campaign cronies are inconvenienced, when the people they represent have been hurting for years at the hands of a greedy few?
I agree with you about Boehner’s bluster: Me thinks he doth protest too much.
For what it’s worth, I’m a little confused why a group that calls itself a “Party” is unhappy when someone questions its application to be a Social Welfare organization.
“Those under section 501(c)(3) are charities engaged in charitable work. They’re allowed to do only minimal political activity. At the other end of the spectrum are Section 527 organizations. These are purely political and are required to disclose their donors. In between are 501(c)(4)s. They can do issue advertising and some campaign politics, but not too much.”
If the “Podunk County Democratic (or Libertarian or Communist) Party” tried to register as a 501(c)(4), there would be a LOT of questions I think justifiably raised. Why doesn’t the same apply for groups calling themselves “Tea Party?” I can see “Boston Tea Party Re-enactment Society” getting a pass. . . . But when a group called the “We the People Convention,” that is fronted by the same guy who runs the Ohio Liberty Coalition and the Portage County Tea Party wants to be a Social Welfare organization, it begs credulity.
Not that I think that the Nixonian tactics are justified. But we all know that there are a LOT of people and organizations going hog-wild under the auspices of Citizens United and a murky tax code.
Another couple of possibilities here – that conservative organizations are more likely and willing to try to play fast and loose with the tax code than liberal organizations are. Or maybe that conservative organizers were prepared for Citizen’s United and liberal organizers were not, so there was a flood of conservative applications. We know what the numerator of this equation was – what’s the denominator?
Even if the IRS did go overboard, some of these organizations probably do deserve some additional scrutiny. There’s a slew of “think tanks” and “educational entities” that are anything but and that should have their tax-exempt status revoked.
I recall hearing an IRS official on the news the other night noting that there had been a massive increase in the filings by these groups from 2010 to 2011 (IMS, somewhere from 1100 in 2010 to nearly 3500 in 2011) and THAT fact had been partly responsible for the IRS’s “unlawful” behavior. Considering the fact also that the whole philosophy of the “TEA Party” had been “taxed enough already,” it doesn’t really seem far-fetched for the organization responsible for the nation’s tax collection and issuance of permits exempting groups from taxation to take a bit of notice and want to ensure these groups weren’t some sort of fronts for actual political activity that is prohibited to 501(c)(3) groups (such as contributions to specific politicians and openly endorsing a particular candidate or position). And, as was noted, there is the spectre that is the Citizens United decision. Considering how many of those so-called homegrown TEA Party organizations were getting start-up money from wealthy conservatives–such as the Koch Brothers–while denying the organizations were anything but “local” groups, and seeming to take a lot of offense at the suggestion that the start-up money was anything more than sheer coincidence, it’s hard to believe that the tripling of applications over the course of a year’s time wouldn’t raise flags somewhere.
One also has to ask what kind of reaction would be coming from the far-right if the IRS had received applications from hundreds of newly-formed groups advocating pro-choice or pro-women’s health positions or serving inner city (mostly minority) residents and the IRS had flagged THESE groups for enhanced scrutiny. For some reason, I don’t get the impression that there’d be the same level of outrage from the right as the outrage currently coming from the left. (It’s sort of the same notion that if the nation were being flooded with images of black men with shotguns and high-powered rifles and carrying signs displaying the usual gun-nut slogans we’ve seen among the incredibly white 2nd Amendment “supporters,” the NRA would probably be there lobbying Congress to ensure that certain weapons be banned and that background checks be made stricter, including at gun shows.)
Good questions, but a cry in the wilderness….