More Details Show IRS Targeted Groups Critical Of How The Government Was Run

from the ouch dept

Late on Friday (the time when people try to break bad news to avoid a big news cycle) the IRS admitted that the office that scrutinizes non-profit/tax exempt status of organizations had acted politically in targeting groups that had "tea party" or "patriot" in their names. Over the weekend, more details have been revealed showing that they further targeted groups that criticized how the government is being run including so-called "social welfare" groups. In other words: if you want to improve our government, the IRS might target you for a burdensome audit. As someone who regularly criticizes our government because I want it to act better, this is absolutely horrifying. I know that this issue has already descended for some into a "left" vs. "right" political battle, but this is an issue that everyone should be aghast about. While the full report hasn't been released yet (and, in fact, there are already accusations that the IRS has leaked parts to try to contain the fallout), some of the details are astounding:
The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that the IRS field office in charge of evaluating applications for tax-exempt status decided to focus on groups making statements that “criticize how the country is being run” and those that were involved in educating Americans “on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
Educating people about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights gets extra scrutiny by the IRS? Isn't that the kind of thing that we should be encouraging?

Are there groups that abuse the non-profit status? Probably. But targeting them based on their viewpoints goes way beyond what's allowed or should be seen as even remotely reasonable. As some have pointed out, politicizing the IRS was part of the impeachment articles against Nixon.

Is it so much to ask for a government that actually respects the Constitution? Or does simply asking for that make you a target?


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    Jay (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 7:15pm

    Republic

    Is it so much to ask for a government that actually respects the Constitution?

    When we've lost our government, that was supposed to represent the needs of the people, supported by the people, and working for the people, it's almost gut wrenching when people recognize that all people on the political spectrum are the target based on a fear of the public mobilizing against the government.

    I think the chips are adding up to something similar to the turn of the last century though...

    The people might get fed up with the two major parties, and push for their government to go in a more progressive direction, without the lobbying, the backroom dealings, and without so much power given to the government over the needs of the people.

    Maybe then we can make changes so that our government is more of a democratic republic instead of the aristocracy that has been protected for the past 40 years.

     

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    horse with no name, May 13th, 2013 @ 8:14pm

    It seems

    It seems that most groups trying to "educate Americans on the Constitution and Bill of Rights" are mostly trying to re-write those rights to pull the constitutional blanket more to their side of the bed. Groups from the NRA to EFF all spend plenty of time trying to educate people about their one sided views of the universe.

    What the IRS was doing was not nice, but perhaps not that stupid. It seems many of these groups are funded in strange ways, with the very rich playing games to avoid paying taxes while getting a tax exempt group to front for them.

     

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      uRspqF7L (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 8:21pm

      Re: It seems

      what? it's a legitimate interest of the IRS to determine if groups are strategically misusing their newly-gotten tax-exempt status, and actively promoting complete and obvious misrepresentations of US law?

      next you'll say something outrageous like elected governments can be expected to prosecute groups who openly advocate overthrowing them and/or widespread violations of law!

      what is this, Stalinist Russia? Citizens must be free to break and twist every law and principle on which a country depends without threat of arrest, prosecution, trial, or punishment. Otherwise, we have no freedom.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 9:02pm

        Re: Re: It seems

        Citizens of the one percent must be free to break and twist every law and principle on which a country depends without threat of arrest, prosecution, trial, or punishment. Otherwise, they have no freedom to oppress, subjugate and steal from everyone else.

        ftfy

         

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        Jay (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 10:07pm

        Re: Re: It seems

        it's a legitimate interest of the IRS to determine if groups are strategically misusing their newly-gotten tax-exempt status, and actively promoting complete and obvious misrepresentations of US law?

        While there's outrage on this, the actions of a lot of Tea Party groups have been questionable since 2007 for quite some time.

        elected governments can be expected to prosecute groups who openly advocate overthrowing them and/or widespread violations of law!

        Heh, if the government represented the p

        Citizens must be free to break and twist every law and principle on which a country depends without threat of arrest, prosecution, trial, or punishment. Otherwise, we have no freedom.

        Wrong. Citizens decide on laws and who represents them in government. If you want a democratic republic, you have to fight for it. Best option is to go out and form up with others to explain the need for a better government through better representation and more political parties.

         

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          kehvan (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 11:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: It seems

          The TEA Party didn't exist in 2007... it didn't come into existence until 2009

           

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          The Real Michael, May 14th, 2013 @ 4:44am

          Re: Re: Re: It seems

          "While there's outrage on this, the actions of a lot of Tea Party groups have been questionable since 2007 for quite some time."

          Who the hell are they to decide who's opinions are questionable? Since when did the IRS become one political party's hound dog to sick on anyone that dares question government? The very fact that they target groups that educate others about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights should be considered a serious red flag. The DHS has been acting very similar, demonizing political dissidents, gun owners, veterans, "angry parents," and whoever else they wish as supposed 'potential terrorists.' Again, who are they to decide?

          "Wrong. Citizens decide on laws and who represents them in government. If you want a democratic republic, you have to fight for it. Best option is to go out and form up with others to explain the need for a better government through better representation and more political parties."

          What do you mean, "you have to fight for it"? Lest I'm mistaken, we already fought for our independence. Oh, and a lot of good it does to form another political party. Tell me, when was the last time there was a truly independent politician that got in the oval office? The two-party power structure (actually, it's one but we won't get into that) is intent on maintaining its firm grip over all things political in nature.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 4:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

            "actions ... have been questionable" is a lot different then "opinions are questionable". What the guy was referring to was using a tax-exempt status on a group that was really a front for things that shouldn't be tax-exempt. *that* is what was questionable. not the opinions. nice word play there, though. you probably got a few people with that one. moreover, the whole reason this even happened was due to citizens united. that caused a whole crap-load of groups to file for tax-exemption and a caused a lot of abuses as well. the IRS left it to people too low (as in, this should have been decided above *anybody* in the IRS) to decide how to find out who's cheating, so they checked the most popular new trends at the time, which happened to be where the most fraud was happening as well. all you can say is that this is a form of profiling, but even that's stretching it a bit. it's just a bunch of fraud was done, using those types of names as cover. was it wrong? yes. was it evil? no.

             

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              The Real Michael, May 14th, 2013 @ 6:53am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

              What a way to completely ignore the fact that the IRS was intentionally targeting one side of the spectrum, out of political bias. Think, if they can get away with doing this now, what's to stop them from targeting other groups in the future?

               

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                Jay (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 7:35am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                What a way to completely ignore the fact that the IRS was intentionally targeting one side of the spectrum, out of political bias.

                By all means, don't mention how the target was broader than Tea Partiers or how dark money stays in politics.

                Let's just believe this is all about the right wing and not their own past behavior...

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 7:56am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                Way to completely dismiss what he was saying because you don't agree with it.

                It's a valid point to mention that the "Tea Party" and "Patriot" buzzwords were suspect at the time, note, this was before the party came into existence as we know it now.

                This whole "partisan" thing has been blown WAY out of proportion. The original article that I read said something along the lines of 300 organization applications (for non-profit status) had been put aside for additional scrutiny, and of those something like 40% had "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in their applications.

                It's ABSOLUTELY within the IRS's jurisdiction to investigate a company whom they suspect is applying for non-profit status illegitimately, and frankly I'm disappointed with Mike for not looking into this more critically before just accepting the "This is chilling" line that I've seen in a multitude of headlines already.

                 

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                  horse with no name, May 14th, 2013 @ 8:39am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                  Actually, there is a chilling effect here: The IRS is being pretty much told to stop looking at non-profit groups. Since the Republican't supporters are generally the biggest abusers of the system, you can guess where this story is leaking from.

                   

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                    Boost, May 14th, 2013 @ 10:58am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                    "Since the Republican't supporters are generally the biggest abusers of the system..."

                    And I suppose you have evidence of this? Come on, man...at least TRY to be objective.

                     

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                    btr1701, May 14th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                    > Since the Republican't supporters are generally
                    > the biggest abusers of the system

                    Riiighhht... let's pretend there aren't just as many left-wing political action groups out there, backed by big Soros-type money, trying to influence politics in the U.S.

                    If the IRS were looking into such groups of *all* political persuasions, that would be fine. But they weren't. Hence the shitstorm.

                     

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                      Jay (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 8:17pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                      Riiighhht... let's pretend there aren't just as many left-wing political action groups out there, backed by big Soros-type money, trying to influence politics in the U.S.

                      Name them.

                      If the IRS were looking into such groups of *all* political persuasions, that would be fine.

                      And how many "left wing" politicos are using money to abuse tax exempt status?

                       

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                        kehvan (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 6:48am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                        I'll get the ball rolling...

                        http://mediamattersaction.org/

                         

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                          Jay (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 3:23pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                           

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                            kehvan (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 4:41pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                            The proverbial "exception that proves the rule."

                             

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                              Jay (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 3:19am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                              Wrong. We give different standards to Democrats:

                              Bush’s use of the IRS was but one part of that larger assault. As my Salon colleague Alex Seitz-Wald notes today in greater detail, in 2005, Bush’s IRS began what became an extensive two-year investigation into a Pasadena church after an orator dared to speak out against President Bush’s Iraq War. Not coincidentally, the Los Angeles Times reports that the church targeted just so happened to be “one of Southern California’s largest and most liberal congregations.” That IRS church audit came a year after it launched a near-identical attack on the NAACP after the civil rights organization criticized various Bush administration policies.

                              But by all means, let's go back here:

                              FDR focused his efforts on derailing a slew of perceived opponents, including Andrew Mellon, who was the secretary of Treasury under President Hoover. In the Roosevelt administration, Mellon was subjected to intense income tax audits, and endured a two-year civil action lawsuit, which was referred to at the time as the "Mellon Tax Trial."

                              This is the same Andrew Mellon that wanted farmers to be purged.

                              Few would peg civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as a felon. But in February 1960, the Alabama grand jury issued an arrest warrant for King on two counts of felony perjury for fraudulent tax returns in 1956 and 1960.

                              Yep, that Martin Luther King.

                              Labor organizer Victor Reuther urged Robert F. Kennedy, who was attorney general at the time, to suppress the rise of conservative groups around the country in a memorandum addressed to the entire Kennedy administration and "certain sympathetic senators and congressmen." The 24-page memo contained various plans, including stifling the flow of funds to conservative organizations by way of IRS investigations in hopes of finding a reason to remove the groups' tax exemption status.

                              One of the major targets was the John Birch Society as described by the late historian John A. Andrew III in his book "Power to Destroy: The Political Uses of the IRS from Kennedy to Nixon.


                              Hmmm... Liberals and conservatives as defined by their political ideology.

                              So your "exception" doesn't seem so exceptional.

                               

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                                kehvan (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 7:06am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                                You think you're retorting me, but what you're really doing is providing more proof the IRS is out of control.

                                 

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                                  Jay (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 8:23am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                                  So you win because this is all the government's fault?

                                  Wut?

                                   

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                                    kehvan (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:05am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                                    I win, because this isn't a contest.

                                     

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                                      Jay (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 6:20pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                                      Your comment is to say that the IRS needs to be destroyed essentially. That means you want to "win".

                                      It's kind of ridiculous because it means you have no argument other than one confirmed by bias.

                                       

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                                        kehvan (profile), May 18th, 2013 @ 4:52pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems

                                        It comes down to one thing and one thing only, you're going to overlook the unethical actions of the IRS for whatever your personal/political reasons or you're not.

                                         

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      Howard the Duck, May 14th, 2013 @ 7:14am

      Re: It seems

      Wow. Re-writing is relegated to the left. You must take the words in the Constitution and Bill of Rights literally. Don't try to interpret it for the sake of banning something you don't like.

       

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    Stock, May 13th, 2013 @ 8:27pm

    Hmmm

    If your quote, "criticize how the country is being run" then it is clearly a violation of the targeted individuals first amendment Constitutional Rights.

    Not that it matters. The US Government is now the largest corrupt regime in the world. They know it, and they know we know it. Which is why the increasingly heavy-handed communist tactics from our government.

    Face it. Freedom and Democracy are 100% dead in America.

     

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    sehlat (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 8:31pm

    American Experiment: The Results Are In

    The late Joseph Sobran once remarked that America was an experiment to determine whether or not a documented set of rules could restrain government from growing into tyranny. He then commented that the results were clear: it couldn't.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 8:40pm

    This does not matter to me...

    because I am not one of those groups critical of how the government is run.

    Therefore, the moral of the story is NOT to be critical of how the government is run and you will be OK... until what you do is contrary too what the government stance is... but don't worry about that unless you are a terrorist.

     

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      anonymouse, May 14th, 2013 @ 4:42am

      Re: This does not matter to me...

      I am not surprised about this i am just surprised that they are so honest about it when they know it will cause a backlash on them, but maybe it really has got to the stage where they feel they have enough power that they cannot be hurt by releasing this information.

      Is it illegal for even the president to ask for a group to be investigated for a crime and reporting them to the IRS due to suspicions they are committing fraud? I believe both sides have used the IRS in this way before. Or maybe it is the dems using the IRS to attack the tea party so that the republicans are seen helping them when the majority of the population know they are crazy people.

      Political games are sometimes difficult to Analyze as some targets they want to achieve with their actions are only understood when the flames settle down.

      I don't see the big worry here, anyone can report someone else to the IRS, that is the way it was set up so that neighbors could rat out each other, not a nice environment to live in but taxes are the most important thing in America to fund the massive government and super massive army.

       

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        Howard the Duck, May 14th, 2013 @ 7:20am

        Re: Re: This does not matter to me...

        "the majority of the population know they are crazy people"

        You're an idiot. This country wouldn't be here if it weren't for those types of "crazy". Did you blame Boston on the Tea Party too?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 9:28am

          Re: Re: Re: This does not matter to me...

          Well, there was a little shindig in Boston 200+ years ago that was absolutely the fault of a "tea party". :)

           

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        Mr. Applegate, May 14th, 2013 @ 10:39am

        Re: Re: This does not matter to me...

        Is it illegal for even the president to ask for a group to be investigated for a crime and reporting them to the IRS due to suspicions they are committing fraud?
        For the most part the answer to that question is yes, it is wrong. The only way it is even remotely plausible is if the president had first hand knowledge of wrong doing. If the President is just saying "Hey, target these right wing non-profits", then that is a huge problem. It is an abuse of power.

        Sure both parties do it. Yes it has been going on for ever. That doesn't make it right. It is a sad statement for our country and our government when our leaders stoop to such levels. It shows our government is little better than certain other governments around the world where people live in fear of voicing opposition to the leadership of their country.

        It would be one thing for you or me to alert the IRS to investigate an organization (or individual). it is quite another for a person in power to do it.

         

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    Lurker Keith, May 13th, 2013 @ 8:51pm

    Timing fail

    (the time when people try to break bad news to avoid a big news cycle)
    Well, they failed at avoiding extended coverage. I just saw Jay open the Tonight Show w/ a joke about not making a joke about Obama because of the IRS doing this (he then made a joke about Hilary & Obama).

     

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    Jesse (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 8:52pm

    "Or does simply asking for that make you a target?"

    And you can go on the no fly list too, no extra charge!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 9:00pm

    "As someone who regularly criticizes our government because I want it to act better, this is absolutely horrifying.

    Welcome to socialism.

    Just be glad you are not living under Stalin, or Mow, Pol Pot, or any of the other more progressive governments which did not steal just money but also stole lives too.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 9:04pm

      Re:

      Wait a minute ..... what?

      Are you daft?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 9:05pm

      Re:

      You have no idea what socialism is.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 9:28pm

      Re:

      Who is mow? Stalin and Pol Pot were not progressives. Stop using words you don't understand.

      This article also has nothing to do with socialism

       

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      Jay (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 10:17pm

      Re:

      Welcome to socialism

      Socialism - Democratic control of the means of production by the working class for the good of the community rather than capitalist profit.

      Better yet...

      Socialism - : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

      Now does any of the bureacracy of the IRS sound like collective ownership to you?

      No? Then your only target is to misguide people about a different economic system that you want to beat people over the head with as being bad.

      So let's do a quick history lesson...

      The US has had war for over 200 years of existence

      In other words, the US as a country has never seen a decade without war.

      We're either fighting someone or planning to fight as a warrior nation.

      Hell, the US was created based on the genocide of Native Americans. It utilized cheap labor from workers because of the color of their skin.

      And the US wanted Chinese and black people to fight during the railroads so they fought over jobs and wages while people like the Rockefellers exploited everyone.

      You, do not even understand your own history and you think that bringing up this false notion of Socialism is going to protect your belief from scrutiny?

      Sad. Please go look up a history book. It's disappointing when people make false assumptions about economics with nothing to back it up.

       

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        Howard the Duck, May 14th, 2013 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re:

        Quit pissing on America. It's disappointing when people make it sound like the US is a shithole, bringing up centuries-ago violations of human rights. Go back in history on any country or state, you find the same crimes. Your warring diatribe only shows that you hate capitalism.

        "collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods"

        You can administrate through legislation and executive orders. Distribution is one of Obama's strong points. Divisiveness is another.

         

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          Jay (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 10:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's disappointing when people make it sound like the US is a shithole, bringing up centuries-ago violations of human rights.

          The US is and there are better ways to allocate resources, but that's a different argument for another day.

          Your warring diatribe only shows that you hate capitalism.

          BWAAAHAHAHA! So I'm supposed to cheerlead when people in positions of power abuse rights all over the world all in the name of capitalism?

          Good job on a bad argument.

          You can administrate through legislation and executive orders.

          That has nothing to do with Socialism. Try again.

          Distribution is one of Obama's strong points. Divisiveness is another.

          Again, non sequitar. Focus on something that actually follows a coherent point.

           

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      Zakida Paul (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 11:48pm

      Re:

      Go back to school and learn what Socialism, then come back and comment.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 1:36am

      Re:

      Hahaha! Right wing americans, hell yeah! Socialism = bad, Death penalty = good, Government = bad, Doomsday prepping = necessity etc.

      Nuances, my friend! Education is not the work of the devil, you know...

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 1:38am

      Re: LOL

      Right Wing Dictionary

      Socialism - word to be used synonymously with communism, marxism, fascism, progressive, and/or liberal. Actual meaning is irrelevant, as these words inspire fear and motivate the sheeple.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 8:03am

        Re: Re: LOL

        Left Wing Dictionary:

        Choice - their choice
        Freedom - coddled by the government
        Democratic - unless we win, then anything goes

        The real fear is coming from the left. Fear that "Right-wingers" are coming to get them with their guns and bible in hand. The media motivates these sheeple. They are not doers, they are whiners. Everything will be better when the gubment has us all under wing. Forget about the wire taps and the email, rendition (still here), expanded homeland security, on and on, somehow this time we can trust the feds. Sheeple indeed. Read any history book, please.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 3:38am

      Re:

      You are a profoundly stupid person who has no idea what "socialism" actually means. Please shut up until you have undergone remedial education and a brain upgrade: you are not worthy of the privilege in speaking in public, particularly among those who are vastly superior to you.

       

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    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, May 13th, 2013 @ 9:19pm

    The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

    The original purpose of income tax was on UNEARNED income. None of you would even be paying income taxes today except that The Rich got control of the system and turned it into a re-distribution scheme from you to them. -- The Grace Commission in the first Reagan Admininistration proved that not a dime of what is paid to the IRS goes to run the gov't. I know that's so difficult to believe that most just roll eyes and go on, but the truth is far worse than "economist" Mike ever lets on

    But with this he slips in a mis-direction:
    "Are there groups that abuse the non-profit status?" -- Mike answers "probably" as if small fish, but the real answer is ABSOLUTELY. Every damned tax-exempt "non-profit" FOUNDATION that The Rich use to spread their evil is an abuse. -- Those are simply tax shelters NOT charities; the money is still controlled by the founder or family, they get income from it and all expenses paid while doing "work" for the foundation, the always necessary whitewashing of evils with PR is better than free, PLUS the foundation keeps on doing evil after the founder dies, estate taxes are avoided forever. The IRS does NOT go after those, because the foundation owners OWN the IRS.

    By the way, I'm with those who believe this is just smoke screen to take focus off elsewhere. -- Even Mike says it's a limited hangout ploy. We just don't exactly know for what.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 9:22pm

      Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

      " I'm with those who believe this is just smoke screen to take focus off elsewhere."

      Same goes for the AP story since: The Rothschilds own AP (Rothschilds purchased Reuters in the 1800s and Reuters purchased AP a few decades ago), The criminal families indirectly own the Justice Department through blackmail, secret socities and traitors so this is a load of BS propaganda.

       

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        btr1701 (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

        Re: Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

        > The Rothschilds own AP (Rothschilds purchased
        > Reuters in the 1800s and Reuters purchased AP
        > a few decades ago), The criminal families
        > indirectly own the Justice Department through
        > blackmail, secret socities and traitors so this
        > is a load of BS propaganda.

        Alex Jones, is that you?

         

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      Zakida Paul (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 11:47pm

      Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

      Another blanket attack against 'the rich'. Yawn.

      Here's a newsflash. Some people who are rich are criminals, some people in the middle are criminals, some people who are poor are criminals. Blanket attacks on one group achieves nothing.

      Get back in your box, please.

       

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        Josef Anvil (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 1:50am

        Re: Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

        "The rich" are not inherently crooks, but in general they have the means to influence policy and their general slant is counter productive and harmful.

        There is an excellent talk on TED that completely debunks the hypothesis that "the rich" are job creators. The crux of the argument is that job creation is an expense and is the last resort of any business. In other words, reducing taxes on the wealthy does not spur job creation, but rather increases wealth which is not proportionately distributed into the economy. Consumers are the actual engine of growth. If demand rises then jobs need to be created to handle demand.

        The point being, that "the rich" have historically allowed their greed to drive societies to the brink of implosion.

         

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          The Real Michael, May 14th, 2013 @ 5:09am

          Re: Re: Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

          You hit the nail on the head. Tax breaks for the rich have never resulted in job creation. Just another political lie in order to further burden undermine the middle-class, i.e. the 'engine' of the American economy. On the opposite side, the socialist leanings of the current adminstration cause roughly the same damage. Unless there's MAJOR reform in government, this ongoing problem isn't going to fix itself.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 5:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

            "socialist leanings of the current adminstration"

            lol ...
            The current admin would be considered middle of the road republican if it weren't for the recent knee jerk move to the right, but in hindsight most of the past republican admins would be slammed today for being a bunch of lefties. Boy oh boy, that Reagan was such a socialist.

             

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              kehvan (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 6:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

              Keep telling yourself that... it still isn't true.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 5:07pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

                It's not just me drawing this conclusion, but then you knew that. Some people will deny facts right in front of their faces, sad really.

                 

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              kehvan (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 6:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

              Keep telling yourself that... it still isn't true.

               

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            boost, May 14th, 2013 @ 11:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

            What I don't get is people who think the "rich" are somehow evil or bad for wanting to make money. We all want to make money. The way to make money is through productivity. Businesses grow in spurts, you increase your productivity in spurts in order to grow your business. One way to increase productivity is to hire people to help. But you're not going to hire people to help if they aren't going to grow your business by at least as much as they're going to cost you. Business owners are job creators, but only if they have the other tools to grow their business. They're not just going to hire people willy nilly because they have the money.

            Honestly...I don't get what's so hard to understand about the concept.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 5:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The IRS should be used to go after real crooks: The Rich.

              Yeah, I'm glad someone took the time to point this out as there are so few people who truly understand this.

              Furthermore - you know that Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were simply trying to grow their business and create jobs for all those less fortunate. Those that forced them to confess to committing crimes should be ashamed.

              It is like the people selling over priced gold to paranoid senile retirees, knowing full well the bubble will burst ... they were only attempting to grow their business and create jobs for all us peons. Thank god for the job creators.

               

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    Andrew F (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 9:41pm

    Tax Code

    Non-profits claiming 501c3 status can lose their tax exemption if they engage in certain political activities. It's a fine line -- for instance, while it's okay to advocate for some particular legislation, it's not okay to advocate for a particular candidate. It's not a new development but rather a longstanding interpretation of the law.

    Given that, it's not surprising that the IRS would focus on Tea Party groups. Imagine if you saw a sudden surge in non-profit applications under a section of the tax code that prohibits lobbying for or against specific candidates and that these groups are associated with movements were explicitly organized to protest the election of a political candidate that now happens to be President. That would raise all sorts of red flags!

    That's not to say what the IRS did was legal or proper. But I'd chalk this up to overzealous enforcement of the tax code rather than any specific malicious or ideological intent.

     

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      Kal Zekdor (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 10:31pm

      Re: Tax Code

      Thanks for being one of the few people who've reacted to this story with any sort of sense.

      You're absolutely right, this was most likely a result of IRS agents trying to do their job (poorly), and not, as some espouse, a political conspiracy directed from the top.

      That said, I'm personally outraged by this bias in the IRS, whatever its original intent. It's akin to racial profiling; though there may be a statistical correlation between the population and behavior (correlation, not causation, big difference), by no means does this make it acceptable to target said population in order to prevent the behavior, based on no other evidence.

      Even if this isn't a conspiracy, the people responsible need to be fired. This sort of behavior is entirely unacceptable for any part of our government, and particularly for the IRS which is supposed to maintain political neutrality.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 4:48am

        Re: Re: Tax Code

        Oh come on ... we all know this goes all the way to the top.
        Thanks Obama
        /s

         

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        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 7:07am

        Re: Re: Tax Code

        Is it bias, or is it part of a profile? As you suggest, if some set of facts has a tendency to break the rules, then one needs to look at all instances of that set of facts. It is not causal, but I don't see where the IRS has said it was causal. That is a reaction by the press/public (hmmm, maybe some bias' there). But, looking at all correlated organizations is not out of line. Taking punitive action (denying their classification, which merely means their exemption status changes, and they might owe some tax) without proof would be out of line.

        There are a whole series of 501(c) levels. I once helped a local chapter of a national association through a rewrite of their by-laws and constitution. Being located in the DC area at the time, one of our members knew a K Street tax attorney. That individual helped us put the right words in our documents to attain our goal status. We wound up with a better tax rating than the national organization. But, we also changed our purpose, and then followed up on that.

         

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    Pixelation, May 13th, 2013 @ 10:16pm

    "Is it so much to ask for a government that actually respects the Constitution? Or does simply asking for that make you a target?"

    Where are the states? Where is the oversight?

     

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    Jake, May 13th, 2013 @ 10:38pm

    The Tea Party are an organisation who are basically dedicated to the idea of rendering their government incapable of doing anything but murdering the odd coloured person. The odds that they're not complying with the letter of the law with regards to their taxes are probably quite high...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 2:03am

      Re:

      It is a strange world:
      TEA, used to stand for "Tax Enough Already" in the beginning.
      Then the historian constitutionalists came in and referenced the historic Boston Tea Party movement in 1773.
      Now, the tea party has become a unifying parole for people who "Are not satisfied with the current leadership of the republican party".
      A 2011 study found that the tea party was more concerned about putting god in the white house than lowering taxes...
      It has been called an astroturf movement several times recently which is probably correct since members are fleeing and most activities have extremely strong corporate backings.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 4:50am

        Re: Re:

        What I find really humorous is the tea party saying that fox news is too far left - this face palm worthy

         

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      ShellMG, May 14th, 2013 @ 6:35am

      Re:

      You really are spouting the MoveOn party line, aren't you?

      The "Tea Party" covers a whole spectrum of small groups hoping to use the 501(c)(4) designation so their donors can remain anonymous (as much as you can with the DOJ misbehavior) and to get a break on their expenses. We push for stopping the government, both local and federal, from their massive spending and waste. DC is a huge boomtown and has been while the rest of the country struggles with recession. Now we have Obamacare, and the hiring of 15,000 new IRS agents to enforce it.

      I wonder if you would be so quick to dismiss the wrongful, possibly unconstitutional actions of the IRS if their red flagged terms were "progress," "social justice," "labor," "minorities," "workers," or other favorite terms of the left?

       

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      Howard the Duck, May 14th, 2013 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      "murdering the odd coloured person"

      Another moron. Keep watching "The View".

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 10:59pm

    That is exactly why anonymity is still so important and relevant and probably will continue to be for a long time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 1:29am

    not biased at all then??

     

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    Police State, May 14th, 2013 @ 3:02am

    Obama=Putin

    Obama=Putin

     

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 7:10am

      Re: Obama=Putin

      Putin is, as far as I can see, white, Obama is not.

      Putin is Russian, Obama is not.

      You have already failed on two parts of your equation.

       

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        Howard the Duck, May 14th, 2013 @ 8:14am

        Re: Re: Obama=Putin

        Obama is white... too. Or did you forget?

         

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        Police State, May 14th, 2013 @ 9:22am

        Re: Re: @ Marcel de Jong

        Obama's ACTIONS are reminiscent of Putin's.
        He's turning out to be just like him (are u going to reduce the discussion to racial issues again?).

         

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          Kirion (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 4:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: @ Marcel de Jong

          While IRS tactics does remind me of NGO bashing in our country, please do not compare your ELECTED PRESIDENT to our full-blown DICTATOR

           

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    RyanNerd (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 4:26am

    The IRS exists for three reasons

    1. Keep the poor poor.
    2. Keep the rich rich.
    3. Keep the people in fear of government retribution.

     

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      Howard the Duck, May 14th, 2013 @ 8:18am

      Re: The IRS exists for three reasons

      So how do you keep the rich rich? By auditing the conservative groups? I thought the conservatives were rich, or at least backing the rich? Make sense. Everyone knows there's no such thing as a rich liberal that doesn't pay taxes.
      /s

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 6:01am

    A lot of the 3rd party political groups these days are organized as 'social welfare' groups, which is a joke, since their sole purpose is to influence elections, and not help feed/care for the poor or help cure some disease.

    Groups like that don't deserve tax exempt status, regardless of which party they're for. They make a complete mockery of charitable organizations, and could even cause the government to take away the tax exempt status from ALL charitable organizations if this keeps up.

    Don't think that'll happen? California used to have a tax deduction for being clergy of any religion, until some websites like the church of the flying spaghetti monster started to 'ordain' anyone as a minister in their religion who paid them $20. California fought that as not being a valid clergy and valid religion (since almost all the people claiming the tax deduction were clergy in that 'church'), and lost because the government doesn't get to decide what a real religion is under the 1st amendment. So California repealed the tax deduction.

     

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    gorehound (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 6:28am

    I am not a fan of Targeting Groups but I do have a few points here.

    1.Thanks to these Tea Party/Far Right Extremists we have to live with their Baby........Citizens United.
    Thanks to them Corporations are People.

    2.I want to know just what these guys are doing.They were the ones who brought Big Money Hell on every one of the Citizens.

    I do want to see them looked into.After what they pulled I say let them Complain.I do not care about their feelings.They are the ones who have attacked me in more than one way.

     

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    Nick Dynice (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 7:11am

    The IRS targeting groups critical of government taxation is really no different than DHS targeting protesters who are critical of the police state. Both are immoral acts by the government.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    everyone should learn legalese

     

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    anonymousity, May 14th, 2013 @ 7:39am

    "everyone should learn legalese"

    that would level the playing field

     

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    ShellMG (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 9:51am

    FOIA

    Given the fun and games sites like Techdirt and Popehat enjoy FOIA, this is a variation on a theme of the current administration:

    "Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Conservative Enterprise Institute."

    Really, using government extensions and groupthink has been the MO of the Obama Administration since Day 1. This "news" on the IRS and Benghazi has been known and reported for years; the only surprise was the AP's admission.

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2529609#.UZJpr5r5fMM.twitter

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 4:27pm

    IRS targets Tea Party

    It's all in how you read it.

    I read it as: the IRS looks for trends, and the Tea Party VERY much want to mask who funds them - the best way is to get tax-exempt status, so all Tea Party groups tried.

    The IRS saw this trend, and realizing the Tea Party was FAR more likely to try to get tax-exempt status than anyone else, targeted them - but only because they knew that was where they were most likely to find a problem, not political.

    The Tea Party, and Republicans generally, see a "liberal plot". To me, a little stupid, but then, trying to get rid of the deficit without fairly taxing the 2% with 74% of the total wealth is even more stupid.

     

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