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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.



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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