21 May 2013

IRS Scandal Bask

Big Brother 22 Comments

I actually haven’t looked into it too closely, being of the “dog bites man” flavor. Here’s my main reaction to it, but I want to give people here a chance to correct me:

This scandal isn’t so much that the IRS was harassing political opponents, like forcing them to hire legal teams and spend a bunch of money just to tread water. Rather, the extra scrutiny was on applications for tax-exempt status.

In other words, what the Tea Party and other groups were being threatened with, was to have to pay the same onerous taxes that…the secretary down the street has to pay.

That’s just how awful our default tax code is, that when the government selectively makes certain people have to bear the full weight of it, we shriek out in horror.

(So, is the above basically right, or were, say, individual Tea Party people targeted for a full audit that ruined their lives etc.?)

22 Responses to “IRS Scandal Bask”

  1. NoGodsOrKings says:

    Among other things, 501(c)4 applicants who were delayed/harassed have said that they were required to disclose, among other things, anonymous donors and a variety of person details not typically required. It is further alleged (not confirmed to my knowledge) that some confidential tax return and audit information was then leaked by an IRS source to a left-of-center media organization, which then proceeded to run attack ads calling out their donors and supporters.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      OK thanks. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if they did these things, but that’s not what anybody official has admitted, right? I have just seen them admitting that they gave applications for tax exempt status “extra scrutiny” if they had certain terms in the name.

      • NoGodsOrKings says:

        I found what I was looking for – The third-party in question is ProPublica, which went way out in front of this scandal and admitted that some of the information they received should not have been given to them. The IRS has confirmed that information had been released “inadvertently” when it was not supposed to be (I.E. before the application was approved, as only tax-exempt organization info can be released) but there are some inconsistencies with that story that I don’t know have been straightened out.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        I think it’s because “Tea Party” and “Patriot” organizations tend to be anti-state.

        The IRS was likely tasked by the executive to go after these organizations under the guise of “Tell the public it’s for shady tax exemption applications purposes.”

        Then possibly a whistleblower leaked it, and now the executive are in a “We didn’t hear about it until we saw it on the news” mode.

      • Ivan Jankovic says:

        Is what officials admit a criterion of truth or what? The left-wing organization in question admitted they got the data about the Tea party groups from the IRS. it was not a speculation. Are we going to wait until IRS admits that particular misdeed to proclaim they have done it? I mean Richard Nixon would be glad to be granted such cavalier terms of dealing with the public. He would have only to deny everything.

      • JimS says:

        Sure, extra srutiny, but a process that takes a couple of months for some and years for others.

        Steyn noted in his article that someone who applied for tax exempt status under the name media watch or something like that waited a couple of years. He reapplied under the name Green Solutions and had his tax exempt status in a couple of months.

        As Mel Brooks would say, “It’s good to be the king.”

        JimS

  2. Art Thomas says:

    BREAD AND CIRCUSES

  3. Ken B says:

    Wow Bob, just wow. Presumed opponents of the incumbent were singled out, some had questions asked about what their prayers are about, and an ideological double standard enforced. Persons named by the president as opponents were audited, the revelations were suppressed during the election, and the IRS told whoppers (sic).

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Ken B. the IRS admitted to all of the above? And until the part about “were audited” you are just repeating my point here. The reason for saying, “What are your prayers about?” is to see if the church can get tax-exempt status. That was the ‘threat,’ that they would hit the church with the same tax rules that apply to Consulting By RPM, right?

      • Ken B says:

        Well maybe I mistook your tone Bob, which seems like “meh”. The shriek out in horror bit seems ironic. Especially as the main complaint is the abuse of power not the amount of the tax, so the horror is not at the tax burden, but the harassment and double standard.

        Although I confess I was a little surprised that you sounded like Gene here … Or even DK. (Runs for the exit)

        • Bob Murphy says:

          ?? At worst Ken, I was saying “meh, but I am ready to be corrected, do I have this story right kids, since I haven’t read it carefully?”

          And yes, the irony was coming in that they were going to apply the same punishment to a Tea Party group that they apply to Consulting By RPM.

          • Ken B says:

            I never expect the worst from you Bob. I like surprises.

            :)

            • Ivan Jankovic says:

              The problem is that the main person who was in charge of the Tea Party harassment now lead the IRS department in charge of enforcing the Obamacare. This is a huge problem for left-wingers who have to maintain the fiction of bureaucratic services being competent, non-partisan and even handed. John Stewart was furious about that the other day: how those mtf..ers dare to give such ammunition to the right-wingers. that’s the big, big story here, not the tax exemptions and our disdain for the Tea Party non-profits sub speciae eternitatis, or should I say, libertatis.

  4. Peter says:

    Agree with dog bites man point. The outrage from the left is not really about taxes but the horror of the politically incorrect (and illegal) act of profiling. The outrage from the right is really about the narrative template of how power can only be abusive and corrupt and that Sauron’s ring must be thrown into the fire.

    • Joel Poindexter says:

      I don’t get the impression that the “Restoring our Country’s Patriotic Constitution by Bill of Rights Education & TEA Parties for Limited Government” really want to chuck the ring into the fire, just pass it on to Romney. One of the main complaints from the Right (at least from what I’ve heard) is that all of this was meant to help re-elect Obama.

      I get the double standard being applied and the allegations of harassment, but I thought this is what should be expected from a class of people robbing Consulting by RPM and others.

  5. steveZ says:

    Taxing this site (a marketing tool as well as a platform for political opinions) and taxing a group of politically active people who are not trying to make a profit, is still theft in both cases, I agree.

    The real problem for the administration is reminiscent of watergate, where the issue was Nixon lying about when he knew about the burglaries. The IRS denied the initial allegations, in front of congress, tried to blame it on lower level employees, and finally, now that they can’t deny the truth any longer, are admitting to it but saying “it wasn’t illegal, so too bad.” With the top IRS guy resigning (a month before retirement) and moving on to head obamacare. If it comes out that Obama knew, but then lied about knowing, well that’s bad (for him). And if it turns out he didn’t know, and nobody very important knew, then the government is as incompetent as we’ve all been saying.

    They have two choices: evil or stupid? As always. Tom woods’ continual question.

    But this is a serious problem, Dr. Murphy. And from a guy who (correct me if I’m wrong here) said that before ending the FED, we need to end the IRS (or maybe you were just saying its more politically expedient), I would think you’d be all over this. The IRS has tremendous authority, which we all fear and despise. To see it used so explicitly as a political weapon (and to have people on the left defend it) is very troubling, indeed.

    Also, you have to consider the irony of the IRS’s testimony. They said they did it for “efficiency reasons.” Because they figured the non profits with “liberty” or “constitution” in their title were more likely to commit fraud. Is there anything that lefties hate more than “inequality” or “profiling” (trayvon)? But there’s Chris Mathews and bill maher saying “good job IRS, stick it to those racists!”

  6. Keshav Srinivasan says:

    Bob, you say “That’s just how awful our default tax code is, that when the government selectively makes certain people have to bear the full weight of it, we shriek out in horror.” But what people “shriek out in horror” about isn’t the “full weight” part, it’s the “selectively makes certain people” part.

  7. martin says:

    In other words, what the Tea Party and other groups were being threatened with, was to have to pay the same onerous taxes that…the secretary down the street has to pay.

    That’s one way of putting it, another is that they were being threatened with being put at a disadvantage with their political opponents.

    Plus the people in those groups are likely to have jobs and so already pay income tax like the secretary down the street (maybe she is even a member).

  8. Jaycephus says:

    Bob, Catherine Engelbrecht was on the Peter Schiff show yesterday (?) & she’s a businesswoman & founder of True the Vote. She was targeted by the IRS, OSHA & FBI (plus maybe BATF?) after becoming a vocal tea party activist — and she just filed a lawsuit against the IRS. Interesting how she had been in business for ~20 years with no audits or harassment of this nature until almost immediately after filing for tax-exempt status, originally as ‘King Street Patriots’ I believe, which had the same purpose as True the Vote.

    • J. W. says:

      Don’t know if Bob is still reading the comments here, but here’s an article about what Jaycephus mentioned:

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/348756/true-scandal-jillian-kay-melchior

      In short, yes, “individual Tea Party people [were] targeted for a full audit” (and then some).

    • mcarson says:

      She was targeted because her returns showed changes in income and deductions that trigger audits. If all the sudden someone increases their ‘charity’ deductions, and starts expensing all their airfare and meals while doing their ‘charity’, they can get asked to ‘show their work’.

      I don’t mind paying higher taxes to offset other people’s contributions to the Red Cross or a rural fire department, but why should I pay for her self-indulgent grandstanding and grifting? She has the right to any lunatic theory of brown people voting will ruin the world, but she should be able to show she stayed on the non-political side of the street. No honest person thinks she’s non-political, and people who lie about one thing often lie about many things.

      You can do everything she does without having the rest of us chip in to help pay for it, and then it’s no problem at all.

      • Jaycephus says:

        And the IRS audits are normally accompanied by sudden extra scrutiny from OSHA, FBI, and other agencies?

        And this level of scrutiny by the IRS, as well as your attitude is applied to the whole political spectrum, or just the people you perceive to be ‘lunatics’?

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