By Luke WachobMore thorough investigation should hopefully bring to light further details about the “who, what, when, why, and how” of the scandal. In the meantime, I’ve made my own “initial conclusion:” The right of every citizen to voice their opinion is far too important to be subjected to complex regulations and the whims of IRS bureaucrats.
By Angela HuntThe president used a somewhat different set of terms. He described “special interests” with “harmless-sounding names” that were funding “negative ads,” and he specifically mentioned conservative organizations like “Americans for Prosperity” and “Citizens United.”In 2010 Mr. Obama used these words in at least 33 separate public addresses to condemn conservative political advocacy groups before and during the tax agency’s targeting of them. By likening these groups to “special interests,” which he did in 22 different speeches, Mr. Obama was able to attack tea party organizations without ever having to say their name.It began with his State of the Union speech that January, in which Mr. Obama referred to conservative organizations as “special interests” for the first time. “Last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections,” Mr. Obama said. “They can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads—and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who’s actually paying for the ads.”
By Peggy NoonanThe problem with this story is that liberals were not caught in the IRS dragnet. Progressive groups were not targeted.The claim that they had been rested mostly on an unclear, undated, highly redacted and not at all dispositive few pages from a “historical” BOLO (“be on the lookout”) list that apparently wasn’t even in use between May 2010 and May 2012, when most of the IRS harassment of conservative groups occurred.
By Eliana JohnsonA November 2010 version of the list obtained by National Review Online, however, suggests that while the list did contain the word “progressive,” screeners were instructed to treat progressive groups differently from tea-party groups. Whereas they were merely alerted that a designation of 501(c)(3) status “may not be appropriate” for progressive groups — 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from conducting any political activity — they were told to send applications from tea-party groups off to IRS higher-ups for further scrutiny.That means the applications of progressive organizations could be approved by line agents on the spot, while those of tea-party groups could not. Furthermore, the November 2010 list noted that tea-party cases were “currently being coordinated with EOT” — Exempt Organizations Technical, a group of tax lawyers in Washington, D.C. Those of progressive organizations were not.
By Theo CaldwellAnd that’s the problem: the policy.If your policy is to violate the rights and dignity of innocent people in the name of protecting their freedom, then saying you followed that policy correctly is no vindication.The same is true of the IRS. Perhaps it targeted conservatives on orders from the White House and perhaps it did not. The point is, the IRS should not be overseeing political speech in the first place. The policy, not the politics, is the problem.
By John D. McKinnonNotably, the exempt-organizations division refused to post many of its procedures online, as the law generally requires, according to the advocate service. The report says the exempt-organizations division also resisted attempts by the advocate office to speed up processing of backlogged applications for tax-exempt status starting around 2007. The EO division argued that the advocate office had no authority over EO cases. EO employees also did not refer delayed applications to the advocate office, as the law generally requires, the report says.
By Lisa Rein and Josh HicksCongress should allow “apology payments” of as much as $1,000 to tax-exempt groups and other taxpayers who faced burdens or costly delays because the Internal Revenue Service violated their rights, the agency’s taxpayer advocate said Wednesday.The payments “would serve as a symbolic gesture to show that the government recognizes its mistake and the taxpayer’s burden,” National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson wrote in a special report following the targeting of political groups for special scrutiny.
By Phil GregoryMeasures to require political candidates to disclose all campaign contributions and expand disclosure rules to include spending on ads by independent groups have stalled in the Legislature.Lawmakers may have decided not to advance those bills ahead of the November election, said Heather Taylor with the Citizens Campaign, a government watchdog group.