Christopher Weyant, The Hill

Christopher Weyant, The Hill

The Obama Administration and Democrats could have an enormous problem on its hands with recent revelation that the Internal Revenue Service targeted Tea Party, Jewish groups and any group that “criticized the government or sought to educate the people about the Constitution.” As much as the majority of Americans despise the U.S. Congress, including the Republicans, the White House and Democrats need to tread cautiously or they could be in for another shellacking in 2014. The goal of the Republicans is to get people whipped up over their manufactured scandals. They have decided that working on the issues confronting Americans such as sequestration, gun control, reducing unemployment, etc., isn’t in their best interest.

New York Times: “Since last year’s elections, Republicans in Congress have struggled for traction on their legislative efforts, torn between conservatives who drove the agenda after their 2010 landslide and new voices counseling a shift in course to reflect President Obama’s re-election and the loss of Republican seats in the House and the Senate.”

“But the accusations of I.R.S. abuse are sure to fuel an effort that appears to be uniting dispirited Republicans and their conservative political base: investigating Mr. Obama and his administration. Republicans are pushing a portrayal of an administration overreaching its authority and punishing its enemies.”

Washington Post: “Politicizing the IRS was one of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon,” noted Doug Schoen, who handles polling for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “That being said, we are still a very long way from that point.” But, Schoen added: “The allegations are very, very serious and it is simply impossible to believe that it was just Lois Lerner and some low-level employees in Cincinnati who came up with this scheme to systematically focus on Tea Party and ‘patriot’ groups.” …”It could grow into a major political problem for Democrats over the coming months.”

The talking points the IRS released was blaming low-level employees in Cincinnati for coming up with the scheme to focus on Tea Party and ‘patriotic’ groups. No, this came from the higher echelons and it’s very problematic. Who else has the IRS targeted over the years? The Obama administration has largely been scandal-free, until now with the Benghazi drama continuing the swirl as Republicans use it as a lifeline to prop themselves on to find some kind of footing, and now, the IRS snooping scandal. The Obama administration is starting to take on the appearance of one hellbent on crushing its enemies and critics.

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

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  • sheknows

    Again…300 applications….none denied!

  • CStanley

    More than half have not been approved, sheknows…see my comment in the other thread.

  • rudi
  • sheknows

    CS..I do not see anywhere where there were HALF the applications that were not approved. Do you have a source for that please? In fact the word being used is SCRUTINIZED not denied.
    Any who withdrew their applications may have had good reason to…we simply don’t know that.

    BTW, can you tell me just what the Republican ideology is again?

  • CStanley

    CS.I do not see anywhere where there were HALF the applications that were not approved. Do you have a source for that please? In fact the word being used is SCRUTINIZED not denied.
    Any who withdrew their applications may have had good reason to…we simply don’t know that.

    I didn’t use the word denied either, sheknows. What most sources (including quotes from Lois Lerner) say is that the majority of these applications have not been approved…that probably means not that they have been denied but that they’ve been mired in red tape. Some organizations have been litigating this, saying that they were given an inordinate number of hoops to jump through.

    BTW, can you tell me just what the Republican ideology is again?

    A central tenet of it is that government power should be strictly circumscribed, to limit the abuses of it. Why do you ask?

    Those who feel that those limits are too constrictive might want to think about the need for scrutiny in order to prevent such abuses, I would think.

  • CStanley

    Ah, Rudi, that totallly makes it all cool then.

    How does this work in terms of the scorekeeping though? ‘Cause I think you may have skipped a certain administration in the gap between Nixon and George W. Hmmm….who could it be?

  • sheknows

    Again CS..please tell me what ” most sources are” Lois Lerner did NOT say that the “majority of these applications have not been approved.”

    and why I ask is because I have not seen any redeeming qualitiies in your “central tenet” applied by your party. Limiting the abuses of government???!! Really CS?? Like Republicans never do that?? LOLOL …Thanks, I needed a laugh this morning.

  • CStanley

    I’ve seen references to the number in many sources. Here’s one. Here’s one.

    Of the 300 groups that were filed for further review, 130 have been approved, 180 are still in process and about 25 are under review, Lerner said.

    I’m glad you find it amusing that you can avoid scrutiny of your own party by looking at the faults ofmthe other.

    BTW, can you tell me what the ideology of the Democratic party is again?

  • KP

    There is no wiggle room here. The IRS cannot break laws by targeting certain groups. Is there anyone on the left, in the middle or right who disagrees with that statement?

    The President just called the idea of targeting “outrageous”.

  • zusa1

    sheknows, Do you disagree with pretty much all recorded history that government will tend to abuse power? I don’t think the tenet says “It will happen with the other guy, but somehow we will manage to overcome history and human nature and it won’t ever happen to us”.

  • Anna

    Personally, I think all political groups regardless of ideology looking for some sort of tax-exempt status should be heavily scrutinized by the IRS and jump through many hoops before being approved. They tend to be, in general, fronts for the money sludge that continues to make Washington work (actually, not work) the way that it does.

  • STinMN

    Anna, I agree, but the issue is that an organization applying for a 501(c)(4) is claiming it is a social welfare organization.

    Personally I think this another Republican manufactured scandal intended to discredit the current president. This did happen under the watch of Douglas Shulman, the IRS commissioner appointed by George W Bush. /sarcasm

  • roro80

    I guess I’m a little confused by this whole scandal. So there are numbers of non-profits among whose specific goals is to tell everyone how they should be protesting against taxes, and to figure out how to elect officials that share this philosophy. It seems a little unsurprising that such groups might be checked into carefully to make sure their taxes are in order, and that they aren’t engaging in direct campaigning for specific candidates.

    • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

      Dear All: Stay away from demanding others tell you something or other. Here, no one has to reply to demands that one detail anything. Stay to the topic of the post, give your thoughts, teachings, facts, ideas in a civil manner, and all is well and will be well.

      thank you

      archangel/ dr.e

  • CStanley

    Roro these are applicants for 501 c 4 corps, which are allowed to campaign. The issue is that those who promote right wing causes were selectively targeted for additional scrutiny as compared to those that support progressive campaign issues and politicians.

  • roro80

    No, it’s the 527s that are allowed to campaign — the SuperPACs. Right? I’m not an expert obviously, but my understanding was that the 501c4 orgs are called out as “social welfare” orgs, can take anonymous donations they don’t have to disclose, but cannot explicitly promote a particular candidate or party. Many orgs have two different “branches” — one classified as a 527 (must disclose donors, but can spend unlimited amounts on campaigning), and one as a 501(c)(4).

  • roro80

    Furthermore, I guess it just feels a little disingenuous when the lefties have been talking for decades about how particular people of color, and people of particular non-Christian religions, have been specifically targeted by different governmental functions, and nobody on the right — or in the government — would listen. No, gotta profile the Muslims and black organizations and infiltrate lefty groups. Now that it’s white folks who explicitly don’t want to pay taxes, now we’ve got a “scandal!” Let’s not forget, also, that Tea Party orgs went from zero to hundreds over the course of very little time, and that the Citizens United case significantly changed all the rules on these sorts of organizations again in very little time, and perhaps this means a little more scrutiny is in order than may have been needed in recent years. The numbers I’ve seen show that about 300 of thousands of applications were given the heightened scrutiny, and about 75 of those were conservative organizations. I’d be curious as to what the other 225 were, and why those groups aren’t complaining.

    In any case, I’m sure we’ll get a full investigation, and more will become clear as time goes on. If something illegal happened, I do hope that those responsible are held accountable.

    BTW, long time no see CStanley. I hope you’re well.

  • sheknows

    Yes, we can all see how the primary requirement of a 501c focus of the NRA is “promoting social welfare”.
    Good article in WSJ from last night. Again, nowhere does it, or any other reputable source I looked at today say anything other than scrutiny, albeit targeted.
    I have already stated my feelings about tax exempt organizations and believe ALL of them should be looked at with an electron microscope. One of the main reasons these groups want that status is not only because they don’t have to pay taxes..they don’t have to give names of their donors. When asked for them, the TP took immediate exception and rightfully became upset.

    As far as I am concerned, all non profit and tax exempt organizations should not only be ultra scrutinized, but should be reviewed every year for status discrepancies as well.

  • CStanley

    Roro my understanding is that 501 c 4 corps are allowed to campaign and lobby but not as their primary activity.

    I’m not endorsing the idea that these should be tax exempt entities, BTW. It would be better to do away with the whole classification, I think but on both sides these groups are very active in GOTV efforts I think, so no one is going to want to get rid of them.

  • bluebelle

    IMO,Congress should vote to eliminate these types of tax exemptions. These organizations are basically just fund-raising operations for political purposes–
    That doesn’t mean that this is ok-though

  • dduck

    “Real” campaign finance reform would be nice including these much abused (c)4 gizmos. Who will be the first to suggest it, McCain and Feingold tried. The Citizen’s United BS should also be corrected by congress.

    P.S. one very busy politician will be doing three fund raisers today in NYC.
    BTW: how does he get here? The big plane, helicopter, special train (that was cool).

  • KP

    “As far as I am concerned, all non profit and tax exempt organizations should not only be ultra scrutinized, but should be reviewed every year for status discrepancies as well.”

    I agree with you.

    Would you agree with me that the IRS has an obligation to do it legally?

  • KP

    This is a bad development for all of us; left, middle, right. The IRS has to be above reproach. I want to be clear, I don’t think the President has anything to do with this, but this is going to sting.

    I am not happy about this, but some of these targeted groups may have been damaged financially. That could mean lawsuits, being settled years from now. That’s separate from Congressional investigation; or the AG or an independant prosecuter.

  • sheknows

    KP Well , yes if the government insists on continuing its tax break policies for businesses and organizations, while having the rest of us foot the bill..then I agree, it should be done fairly. ( I am not seeing where legal applies just yet)

  • CStanley

    I really don’t think the outcome of this was all that substantial, but the idea that the IRS has to be completely neutral on politics should be inviolable. A significant number of Democrats seem to see that, too.

  • KP

    “I agree, it should be done fairly.”

    I agree with you. Since we seem locked on this, I will finish our thoughts with ‘it should be done legally — as well as fairly and impartially’.

  • zephyr

    As far as I am concerned, all non profit and tax exempt organizations should not only be ultra scrutinized, but should be reviewed every year for status discrepancies as well.

    Great idea but the IRS is too underfunded for that – which makes no sense given their mission.