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?

Filed Under: advocacy, constitution, irs, non-profit, patriots, political targeting, tax exempt, tea party


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 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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