May 15, 2013

Manufactured Outrage

Some comments on the IRS scandal:
  1. Until there is proof saying otherwise, let's assume that any laws broken or policies breached were due to overzealous employees and not a directive from Overlord Obama. 
  2. I'm completely fine with an investigation into the whole thing.
  3. Based on the limited information I can gather, the IRS office that has been accused of (admited?) wrong-doing was solely charged with reviewing applications from 501(c)(4) groups. 
  4. "These groups don’t pay taxes; they don’t have to disclose their donors—unlike traditional political organizations, such as political-action committees. In return for the tax advantage and the secrecy, the 501(c)(4) organizations must refrain from traditional partisan political activity, like endorsing candidates."
  5. The Citizens United ruling which gave corporations unlimited "free speech" in political affairs, led directly to a large number of "grassroots" groups seeking 501(c)(4) status. (About 3400 in 2012 --nearly 3 times as many as in the previous election.)
  6. MOST IMPORTANTLY: These groups deserve additional scrutiny. They should be sought out and information should be triple-checked. 501(c)(4)'s are seeking to operate as wholly TAX-EXEMPT. This is not something that should be rubber-stamped. 
  7. 501(c)(4) status is granted to groups 'not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.' However, the IRS says that promoting social welfare doesn't include participating in 'political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office... . Organizations 'may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity.'
  8. As noted in the many news stories about this scandal, Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS was one of the applications singled-out. First of all, it may have been set aside for review, but it did ultimately get its non-profit status. Secondly, for an organization whose primary function is (by law) NOT political, $70,000,000 is a lot of money to spend on political ads. Perhaps we can concede that the scrutiny was not undue?
  9. If Obama, in some delusional right-wing fantasy, really tried to use the IRS to thwart the opposition, not only did it fail miserably, but it didn't have any real impact on their activities since all their fundraising remains secret while an application is pending and all the group's activities proceed as usual.
  10. Why is no one that pissed off about the wiretaps at the Associated Press?

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