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Friday, September 20, 2013

The IRS Scandal, Day 134

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Wall Street Journal:  The Press and the IRS: Journalistic Partisanship Fed the Scandal, by James Taranto:

The Washington Post is credited with exposing the Watergate conspiracy and helping to bring down a corrupt presidency. Forty years later, the Post played a role in the corruption of the Internal Revenue Service, to the benefit of an incumbent president in a bitter and close re-election.

A staff memo released earlier this week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee provides an "interim update" on the investigation of the IRS scandal. A central finding: "Media attention caused the IRS to treat conservative-oriented tax-exempt applications differently" from liberal or progressive ones.

The memo presents no evidence that the White House directly ordered the IRS to crack down on political opponents. Instead, it is consistent with the theory, described here in May, that IRS personnel responded to "dog whistles" (in Peggy Noonan's metaphor) in public statements from the president and his supporters. ...

As we have argued before, Barack Obama's re-election deserves to be listed with an asterisk in the record books. He is the political equivalent of an athlete found to have used illicit performance-enhancing drugs. Whether he would have won in 2012 absent the IRS's political corruption is unknowable. We know only that he did win with the help of a corrupt IRS. And if indeed the election was stolen, many in the media were complicit in its theft.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2013/09/the-irs-18.html

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink

Comments

Al Gore's election as president needs to be listed with an asterisk in the record books, also. But could someone explain what the WSJ editorial page is claiming here? It seems that political organizations claiming to qualify for 501(c)(4) status were targeted by IRS. Isn't that what IRS is supposed to do?

In any case, thanks for posting excerpts from Murdoch's minions opinions. There are many of us who no longer subscribe to what once was a great American newspaper.

Posted by: Bob | Sep 20, 2013 7:46:03 AM

> It seems that political organizations claiming to qualify for 501(c)(4) status were targeted by IRS. Isn't that what IRS is supposed to do?

501(c)(4) groups can legally engage in many "political" activities.

And then there's the "small" matter that leftist organizations doing the same things weren't targeted. Yes, some of them were on a list, but nothing bad happened to them as a result. In fact, some of them were given special favorable treatment.

Posted by: Andy Freeman | Sep 20, 2013 10:13:26 AM

So the IRS decided to analyze whether patently political organizations were obeying the law in their tax-emept status applications? Wow - no wonder this scandal has 134 days of resonance.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 20, 2013 10:48:10 AM

Could we update the number of days of the scandal to "two years and 134 days," since the actual scandal started that far back and the cover-up continues.

Posted by: Woody | Sep 20, 2013 11:47:55 AM

Thank you left wing robots for trying to change the narrative. The scandal is NOT that the IRS looked at political organizations to determine whether they were staying within the bounds of 501(c)(4).

Rather, it was the disparity in the treatment of left and right wing organizations, which is now further supported by email evidence from higher ups within the IRS such as Lois Lerner.

Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot, and Bush's administration gave extraordinary scrutiny to every liberal organization while waving conservative groups through quickly - would you be so quick to poo-poo that behavior? I doubt it.

Posted by: Todd | Sep 20, 2013 3:01:15 PM

> So the IRS decided to analyze whether patently political organizations were obeying the law in their tax-emept status applications?

No, that's not what the IRS did. The organizations in question were NOT political wrt the relevant section of the tax code. Moreover, left organizations that were doing exactly the same things were not subject to the same process.

However, now that we've established what the left thinks the IRS should do, they surely won't complain when it's done to them.

Posted by: Andy Freeman | Sep 23, 2013 9:59:15 AM