Monday, January 1, 2018
Washington Post editorial, Scandal Has Overwhelmed the IRS:
Conservatives who long sought to restrain the Internal Revenue Service have managed to throw a wrench into an IRS division that is supposed to regulate tax-exempt nonprofits and charities, just at a time when these groups are becoming more partisan and complex.
In a Dec. 18 article in The Post, reporter Robert O’Harrow Jr. offered a disturbing picture of the besieged Exempt Organizations division of the IRS, which regulates charities and nonprofits such as those allowed under sections 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) of the tax code. The former may not directly or indirectly support a political candidate, but they are allowed to participate in educational debates about the issues; the latter are social-welfare groups that can be involved in politics only so long as it is not their primary activity. The number of applications from new charities has exploded in recent years, and the law is a bit of a gray zone — vaguely written and hard to enforce.
In recent years, overwhelmed by applications, the division and its then-leader, Lois Lerner, fell into the crosshairs of the conservative tea party movement for the slow pace of approvals of tea party groups, which they claimed was due to a conspiracy by the Obama administration to target them. Subsequent investigations found mismanagement — the IRS was taking shortcuts and using keywords to deal with the mountain of applications — but not deliberate targeting.
Still, the charges took a toll. The division seems to have lost its will to scrutinize charities. According to Mr. O’Harrow, last year the division rejected just 37 of the 79,582 applications on which it made a final determination. He reported that charities have now begun to recognize they face little or no chance of examination or sanction. The division’s budget has declined from a peak of $102 million in 2011 to $82 million last year. The number of division employees has fallen from 889 to 642. ...
There is more than enough blame to go around in this tale. The conservative groups, their allies in Congress and the IRS itself all bear responsibility. It is clear what the result will be. Voters will have less and less knowledge of who is paying for political activity in their democracy, even as many politicians hypocritically claim to favor transparency.
(Hat Tip: Bill Turnier.)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1697: Budgetary Evisceration After Tea Party Targeting Allegations Has Left The IRS Incapable Of Implementing The New Tax Law (Dec. 31, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1684: Fallout From Allegations Of Tea Party Targeting Hampers IRS Oversight Of Nonprofits (Dec. 18, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1681: Robert Mueller And Lois Lerner (Dec. 15, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1672: Ohio Attorney General Asks Federal Court To Release Lois Lerner's Deposition In Tea Party Targeting Case (Dec. 6, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1671: Lois Lerner’s Secrets (Dec. 5, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1657: Lois Lerner Fears Retaliation If Her Tea Party Targeting Deposition Is Made Public (Nov. 21, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1632: Department Of Justice Settles Tea Party Targeting Cases For Millions And An Apology (Oct. 27, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1630: The Real Scandal Is The IRS's Budget (Oct. 25, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1612: Inspector General Debunks Ideological Targeting Of Conservative Groups By The IRS (Oct. 7, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1611: TIGTA Report, Review Of Selected Criteria Used To Identify Tax-Exempt Applications For Review (Oct. 6, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1610: Inspector General Says IRS Gave Extra Scrutiny To Liberal Groups, Undermining GOP Claims Of Ideological Targeting Of Conservative Groups By IRS (Oct. 5, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1501-1600 (June 18, 2017 - Oct. 4, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1401-1500 (Mar. 10, 2017 - June 17, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1301-1400 (Nov. 30, 2016 - Mar. 9, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1201-1300 (Aug. 22, 2016 - Nov. 29, 2016)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1101-1200 (May 14, 2016 - Aug. 21, 2016)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1001-1100 (Feb. 4, 2016 - May 13, 2016)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 901-1000 (Oct. 27, 2015 - Feb. 3, 2016)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 801-900 (July 19, 2015 - Oct. 26, 2015)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 701-800 (April 10, 2015 - July 18, 2015)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 601-700 (Dec. 31, 2014 - April 9, 2015)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 501-600 (Sept. 22, 2014-Dec. 30, 2014)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 401-500 (June 14, 2014 - Sept. 21,2014)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 301-400 (Mar. 6, 2014 - June 13, 2014)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 201-300 (Nov. 26, 2013 - Mar. 5, 2014)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 101-200 (Aug. 18, 2013 - Nov. 25, 2013)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1-100 (May 10, 2013 - Aug. 17, 2013)