Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The real scandal isn't at the IRS

The IRS is tasked with the responsibility to review applications for tax exemption.  In what is known as the 501(c) process, organizations can apply for tax exemption by providing information which proves to the satisfaction of the IRS, that they are non-political, social welfare type organizations whose primary function is not to advance a political agenda.

The IRS has recently come under attack by Republicans in Congress who claim that the IRS over-stepped their authority when it came to reviewing tax exemption applications from Tea Party type organizations.  The outrage of Republicans is evident  in the chambers of Congress where Republicans led by Darrel Issa, chair of the special investigative committee, have sworn to get to the bottom of the connection of IRS wrong-doing with the White House and more importantly with President Obama.

Perhaps because Republicans are blinded by the rush that getting a chance to implicate the President of wrong-doing elicits, they are missing some of the important facts which could, and by all rights should, turn the tide of wrong-doing onto their constituents.

First, to even refer to an organization as a Republican group implicates them as being political.  This violates the meaning of a 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 and should not entitle them to tax exemption.  Even so, the IRS approved applications for many obviously Republican political groups such as the "Tea Party Patriots" the "American Patriots Against Government Excess", "National Tea Party Group" and "Tea Party Radio."  If you have any doubt that these organizations are primarily politically focused, all you have to do is go to their web sites to see it for yourself.

So why did the IRS approve these applications?  If they followed their own guidelines, they should have known that these organizations were primarily involved in politics.  So what did they base their  decisions on?  Despite what the right wing media and Republicans in Congress are attempting to convey, the IRS did not make their decisions based on the names representing these organizations.  They could not have, otherwise they would not have approved the applications.  They made their decisions based on the information that the organizations provided.  

It appears a safe bet that the information provided to the IRS by the applicants was insufficient to implicate the organizations as political action committees.  If this was done by the applicants to  intentionally mislead the IRS review, then it is a crime which is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.  That is the real scandal here.  These organizations might have knowingly hidden information from the IRS in order to get unfair and undeserved tax advantages.  That sounds familiar.  Where have we seen this before?  Oh yeah, Romney was pretty good at that.

Lindsey Graham
Now in a relentless pursuit to find something bad to pin on the President, Senator Lindsey Graham (R- SC) is calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the entire IRS "scandal".  This could be the best thing that ever happened for the IRS and the worst thing for the Tea Party Patriots and their Republican leadership.

If a special prosecutor is called who is impartial, then I predict that the IRS and the President will be cleared of any wrong-doing.  Furthermore, some unhappy Tea Party organizations will be paying for their arrogance and deception when the real scandal is revealed.  Perhaps clearer Republican heads will prevail and convince Graham to drop the idea before the truth can be known.

That would be a pity.

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