Monday, May 13, 2013

Comes The Dawning: Updated

(Editorial cartoon published by Mike Luckovich for the Atlanta Journal Constitution 3/29/11.  Click on image to enlarge.)

I've been waiting for the wackaloons in Congress to wake up to the fact that while they've got nothing when it comes to Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!, they might have something with respect to an IRS targeting of 501(c)(4) groups prior to the last election.  Those groups are registered with the IRS as "educational" entities and don't have to report where they get their funding as long as they don't go over a certain limit in political advertising.  In that regard, see my post here.

Early last week, the IRS issued an apology for targeting those groups with certain key words in their name to check to see if they were going beyond their allowable limit on political work.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The Internal Revenue Service improperly screened applications from conservative groups that sought tax-exempt status, a senior IRS official said Friday.

IRS staffers selected for more review the applications that included the words “tea party” or “patriot,” Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations, said in a conference call with reporters.

“That’s absolutely inappropriate and not the way we should do things,” Lerner said.

The staffers also requested information the IRS does not normally ask for, including donor lists.

Lerner first disclosed the improper screening in response to a question she received at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Assn. in Washington earlier in the day. In the conference call that followed, she said that of 300 applications staffers selected for additional review, about a quarter were selected solely because of the flagged words. The rest were selected for a “broad spectrum” of reasons, Lerner said. She could not elaborate on the other groups’ purposes or politics. ...

Lerner said the staffers selected the applications with “tea party” and “patriot” in them for expediency, not out of political bias.   [Emphasis added]

Now, I tend to believe the IRS spokeswoman when it comes to the issue of expediency, as did Libby Spencer in her take on the issue:

I'm also remembering the IRS has been hit by austerity fever same as every other federally funded agency. Also, the applications for this particular status by politically motivated individuals has exploded in that time frame. So you have fewer workers reviewing umpteenth more applications and they took a shortcut to meet their quotas.

Have to agree with Think Progress here. The real problem is they used the wrong keywords. While it's true a lot of these Tea Party groups are fleecing the gullible rubes, they're just the grifters. It's the deep pocket front groups who are cheating on the codes.    [Emphasis added]

 Like I said, the IRS apology was made public on Friday, but it wasn't mentioned by the GOP players until Sunday.  Sen. Collins (R-Maine) and Rep. Issa (Wackaloon-CA) both mentioned it on the bobbleheads on Sunday.  And the Benghazi issue continues to take up most of the oxygen.

Of course, the White House response played along, stating that the Inspector General's report will be reviewed carefully and implied that heads would roll if the IRS was playing politics.  Apparently it hasn't occurred to our president that far more Republicans were abusing the system than Democrats, probably because the Democrats hadn't figured out how to make the system work.

This one is going to be fun to watch.


From Josh Marshall at TPM:

Marco Rubio just called on President Obama to fire the Commissioner of the IRS. Small problem: the Commissioner in place when all this happened was Bush appointee Douglas H. Shulman. He left just after the November election and there’s an acting Commissioner currently in place.  [Emphasis added]

Like I said, this one is going to be fun.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous paula said...

In the Sixties, Seventies, liberal groups and liberal celebrities were targeted, remember? Ever thus.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

And as recently as 2000, All Saints Episcopal Church was targeted because of an anti-war sermon.

Like you said, "Ever thus."

7:50 AM  
Blogger John Gardner said...

i'd presume nobody picked it up Friday because it was a Friday document drop that the news in general tends to ignore. By picking up the volume on the sunday circuit, you get some momentum for the Monday morning news cycle?

10:20 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Absolutely, John.

But check out the update. The IRS commissioner in charge at the time was a Bush appointee.

12:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home