Liberal Media Exposed

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

IRS Tea Party

Taxation is always a thorny subject, raising questions of individual vs. societal rights and about how much of their own hard-earned cash people should be allowed to keep, but in principle just about everyone agrees that at least some tax is a necessary evil. After all we need to support the military and control the borders, and some spending on roads is always going to be necessary. It gets more complex when we start arguing about whether the government should be providing health care and education. Then there’s maybe the biggest difference between the political right and left – should tax be used to redistribute wealth from those who earned it to those who didn’t?
Now a congressional investigation has come up with evidence suggesting that tax policy has been used to do something much, much worse than redistributing wealth – it looks like the IRS might actually have been targeting tax to harm political opponents. The House Oversight Committee is working through 1.3 million pages of documents and emails covering the IRS, Treasury and Justice Department. A lot of this has fallen out of a 2013 FBI investigation that found the IRS had been targeting a variety of politically active groups, giving their tax-free status additional scrutiny. Obviously there are laws covering what political activity a group can carry out and still remain tax exempt, but what worries investigators is the way groups were targeted.
It looks like the IRS chose the groups to investigate by looking at their names, as well as making value judgements on their objectives. Aiming to “make America a better place to live” was enough to start a tax probe. That caught up a handful of liberal groups like Occupy, but it seems likely they were included to disguise the real focus of the operation. Targeted terms included “TEA Party”, “patriot” and anything critical of Obamacare. Any criticism of how the country was being run could trigger an investigation. Suggesting that American children needed to be taught about the Constitution and Bill of Rights would, too.
It’s obvious from the wording that would attract an IRS assessment that this whole plan was aimed at making life difficult for Obama’s opponents on the right. After all how many ultra-liberal groups have “patriot” in their title? Or “Constitution”? This is clear use of the IRS as a political weapon, sending out agents to harass law-abiding Americans on the basis of their political beliefs. If the administration disagrees with someone it should have an open discussion and say why it thinks they’re wrong, not try to silence them by tying them up in the famously arcane bureaucracy and paperwork of the tax system.
It’s likely that most of these investigations would come to nothing, but IRS scrutiny means real possibility of being unfairly stripped of tax exemptions. That can make a huge difference to an organization, depriving them of the funds they need to do their job. Shutting down the opposition is something we associate with banana republics; it’s very disturbing that Congress is now finding so much evidence of tactics like this being used in America.