IRS Fights Tea Party on the Beaches, in the Hills
May 12, 2013
This seems pretty thuggish: Apparently in recent years the IRS has targeted Tea Party groups for additional “scrutiny”.
This has been covered everywhere, from local Tea Party groups to National Review Online:
- Cincinnati East Tea Party, “IRS Apologizes for Unfair Tea Party Scrutiny”
- NRO, Kevin Williamson, “The IRS’s Tea-Party Targeting: An apology, but no explanation”
. . . groups with the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their names were improperly targeted for additional levels of tax-status review by the agency. Those actions, she said, were “wrong” and “inappropriate,” but she denied that they were the result of political bias against tea-party groups. When asked how the IRS determined that the actions were not the result of political bias, Ms. Lerner could only say, “That is not how we do things.”
The problem originated in a Cincinnati IRS office — Ms. Lerner would not say which one — that handles applications from 501(c)(4) organizations, groups that under law may engage in political advocacy so long as electioneering accounts for less than half of their spending. The same branch of the IRS, dealing with such applications, also came under criticism last year when confidential tax documents filed by American Crossroads, the nonprofit organization associated with Karl Rove, were illegally leaked to the media and published by ProPublica, the nonprofit project funded in part by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. No one has been charged in that crime.
. . .
Third, and perhaps most troubling, those tea-party organizations were sent letters of inquiry demanding information that would seldom if ever be demanded of any other applicant in the process. The IRS demanded lists of donors, names of spouses and family members, detailed information about political views and associations — all of that “under penalties of perjury.” Many applicants dropped out of the process. The questions were remarkably invasive . . . .
Lists of donors, huh? I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t want the professionals at the IRS to get ahold of that sort of thing; can you?
Senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups as early as 2011, according to a draft of an inspector general’s report obtained by The Associated Press that seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner.
- Cincinnati Enquirer, “Senator: IRS targeting of tea party is ‘chilling'”
The more the enforcement of laws is left up to the discretion of powerful bureaucrats, naturally the more that will erode the foundational principle of equality under the law. It’s the rule of law vs. rule of men. Recently America seems to have entirely too much of the latter.