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?