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Friday, January 31, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 267

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Meanwhile, Back in America . . . The Growing Distance Between Washington and the Public It Dominates, by Peggy Noonan:

The State of the Union was a spectacle of delusion and self-congratulation in which a Congress nobody likes rose to cheer a president nobody really likes. It marked the continued degeneration of a great and useful tradition. Viewership was down, to the lowest level since 2000. ...

Meanwhile, back in America, conservatives targeted and harassed by the Internal Revenue Service still await answers on their years-long requests for tax exempt status. When news of the IRS targeting broke last spring, agency officials lied about it, and one took the Fifth. The president said he was outraged, had no idea, read about it in the papers, boy was he going to get to the bottom of it. An investigation was announced but somehow never quite materialized. Victims of the targeting waited to be contacted by the FBI to be asked about their experience. Now the Justice Department has made clear its investigation won't be spearheaded by the FBI but by a department lawyer who is a campaign contributor to the president and the Democratic Party. Sometimes you feel they are just laughing at you, and going too far.

In the past five years many Americans have come to understand that an agency that maintained a pretty impressive record for a very long time has been turned, at least in part, into a political operation. Now the IRS has proposed new and tougher rules for grassroots groups. Cleta Mitchell, longtime attorney for many who've been targeted, says the IRS is no longer used in line with its mission: "They're supposed to be collecting revenues, not snooping and trampling on the First Amendment rights of the citizens. We are not subjects of a king, we are permitted to engage in First Amendment activities without reporting those activities to the IRS."

All these things ... have the effect of breaking bonds of trust between government and the people. They make citizens see Washington as an alien and hostile power.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2014/01/the-irs-scandal-27.html

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Comments

Peggy, Peggy, Peggy. Conservative 501(c)(4) applicants tended to draw more IRS attention than liberal 501(c)(4) applicants for one simple reason: the IRS has limited enforcement resources and therefore--and quite rationally--engages a worst-first enforcement approach. Peggy Noonan of all people should understand this. After all, wasn’t it she who helped Ronald Reagan explain to the gullible American public, over and over and over, that Willie Sutton robbed banks “because that’s where the money is?” The IRS gave the greater attention to the conservative “social welfare” applicants because that’s where the money is. If the IRS’ function is “collection revenue,” then why not look “where the [revenue] is?” Until Peggy Noonan and her fellow travelers can show–convincingly–that IRS went beyond that obvious and intuitive enforcement strategy, her nattering makes little impression.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jan 31, 2014 7:40:33 AM

New Pubes, just above, hasn't educated himself/herself with the specifics of the scandal, apparently.

And Peggy Noonan should hold her tongue. She was one of the many, after all, who was mesmerized by TFG, this know-nothing Senator who was nominated for president because he was black (partly black) and for no other reason.

Posted by: Sphynx | Jan 31, 2014 8:06:50 AM