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Tea Party Cries Of IRS Harassment Debunked

Updated on June 25, 2013
Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel
Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel | Source

In a conference call on June 24, acting IRS Chief Danny Werfel finally put the IRS "scandal" to bed.

When the IG report was released in May, Tea Partiers across the land at long last felt vindicated in their long-held feelings of IRS harassment - and many were quick to file lawsuits against the IRS in response. Tea Party rallies have been popping up around the country, with calls for the IRS to be disbanded. Some conservative legislators have echoed these sentiments.

This scandal seemed destined to forge on into the mid-term elections, as it perfectly fit the conservative small-government narrative - and was to be ubiquitous in general election campaign ads next summer and fall, excoriating liberals and their belief in using government for the good of the people.

The IRS preemptively admitted and apologized for flagging groups with the names "tea party", "patriot", and "9/12" for additional scrutiny, ahead of the release of the IG report.

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As some have held throughout, the IG report was specifically and singularly focused upon IRS viewpoint discrimination against conservative groups. However, "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement", were all afforded additional scrutiny.

While it is plainly obvious that the IRS list of groups for target include both conservative and liberal points-of-view, there was no IG report on the targeting of liberal groups congruent with the report on the targeting of Tea Party groups.

IRS Chief Danny Werfel has now disclosed that groups with the names "progressive" and "occupy" were also flagged.

What this suggests is that while groups of all political stripes were flagged, it seems as though Tea Party groups were simply the ones taking offense to said targeting. In fact, no conservatives groups were actually denied, only liberal.

Oops.

Source
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House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (CA-R) has outdone himself once more, cherry-picking testimony in which to leak in order to fit his default narrative of Obama as scandal-ridden tyrant.

Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (MD-D) has released the full testimony, which shows that the apparent initiator of the targeting was in fact a self-described "conservative Republican", who was simply trying to do his job.

In the end, no groups should be specifically targeted for their political beliefs - but it is the responsibility of the IRS to determine whether those political beliefs bleed into political activity. Congress passed legislation which Eisenhower signed into law in 1959, which defines social welfare groups as "not for profit" and engaging "exclusively" in social welfare. Not politics.

The IRS subsequently changed their own definition to "primarily" engaged in social welfare, with some politics acceptable. The "conservative Republican" Cincinnati supervisor should have never been in the position of making such determinations. The IRS is not following the law as passed by Congress and signed by President Eisenhower.

Concurrently, if any of these groups applying for 501(c)4 status (dark money with zero disclosure and taxpayer-subsidized political activities) misrepresented their political activities in their applications - they would be subject to the legal ramifications of those statements.

For all of the "IRS is picking on us" whining, they may in fact wind up with something to really cry about.

The good news? Our heroes in Congress (with their 10% approval rating) don't need to do anything at all. The law is already in place concerning 501(c)4 status. The IRS simply needs to be compelled to follow the law as written.

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    • Justin Earick profile image
      Author

      Justin Earick 4 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Zeke - None of those groups have been denied. They simply haven't been approved. Only Emerge America - a liberal group, was denied.

      In fact, twice as many conservative groups have been approved.

      http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/06/repo...

      By the way, it isn't necessary to apply at all, as tax-exempt status can be claimed unilaterally, including by the 25 conservative groups, in the interim.

      Notice Crossroads and Priorities weren't caught up in this mess.

      The one's that did seemingly didn't have high enough quality lawyers to inform them of the law.

      And Malik?... your racist is showing, big guy.

      Walt - You didn't say anything.

      BN - Not a single conservative group was denied status. Not sure where you get your "news" from.

      ...faux news *cough cough*

    • bn9900 profile image

      Clayton Hartford 4 years ago from Alger WA

      Sounds to me like someone is trying to cover up the fact that TEA PARTY or other conservative groups were being denied status. The other groups may have been denied, but what was their reason, was it because they were liberal? No in that case it was for other reasons. Liberals are tearing this country apart.

    • zeke2100 profile image

      zeke2100 4 years ago

      Glad you wrote on this. However your hub states that no conservative groups were denied. The ACLJ have 25 different clients alone that have not received tax exempt status. (http://aclj.org/free-speech-2/irs-abuse-widespread...

      However, Malik Obama's illegal non-profit received a stamp of approval by none other than Lois Lerner in a record 30 days. And also, Malik Obama's non-profit received an unheard of retr0-active tax exempt status for all of his prior illegal non-profit activity.

    • Justin Earick profile image
      Author

      Justin Earick 4 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Well, Lerner admitted that 300 groups (298, I think) were flagged, but that only roughly a quarter where because of conservative names. Again, there is no proof that conservatives were targeted more.

      I must say though, if Tea Party is in your name - it's pretty obvious that you aren't even bothering to hide the fact that you are a political group, daring the IRS to question you, and not at all concerned with apolitical social welfare.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Excellent Hub, Justin. The head of the Cinncinati office is conservative Republican. He was responsible and liberal groups were also targeted but not as much. Besides, all of these groups should be taxed. None of them are social organizations. That goes for both liberal and Conservative groups.