That IRS Scrutiny of the Tea Party? On Second Thought….

Update: Below


The whole rush to cry victim of IRS abuse, so finely honed by the American Right, is falling apart now that actual information is arriving.

Two months of investigation by Congress and the I.R.S. has produced new documents that have clouded much of the controversy’s narrative. In the more complicated picture now emerging, many organizations other than conservative groups were singled out: “progressive” organizations, medical marijuana purveyors, organizations formed to carry out President Obama’s health care law, and open source software developers who create software tools for computer code writers and distribute them free of charge.

Having been part of 401 c (3) applications I know it’s no fun; the questions coming back seem like so much obstructionism, but in a country slipping away from the ‘common good’ to the ‘get mine’ ethos, how should claims for tax exemption be treated?  Perhaps most should be approved and then audited for what these ‘educational’ programs are actually all about.  And, since the guidlines seem to be floppy, better policies should be set in place to make it clear where the lines are between education and advocacy, or voicing opinions and lobbying, or speaking in favor of a candidate’s positions and participating in a political campaign.

It is fascinating to think back on how fast, and self-assured the claims of Right Wing targeting were, given how little investigation was done after the initial claim.


Update: from Salon

…almost two months later, we know that in fact the IRS targeted lots of different kinds of groups, not just conservative ones; that the only organizations whose tax-exempt statuses were actually denied were progressive ones; that many of the targeted conservative groups legitimately crossed the line; that the IG’s report was limited to only Tea Party groups at congressional Republicans’ request; and that the White House was in no way involved in the targeting and didn’t even know about it until shortly before the public did.

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