Friday, May 10, 2013

The taxman cometh

No longer having any trust in the first 12-24 hours of Twitter/Facebook/Media coverage of any breaking story, I'm reserving my outrage until I figure out what's going on with this IRS mini-scandal. I'm not at all comfortable with IRS scrutiny based on political beliefs but I'm not entirely sure that is what's happening here. I'm sure this is true.

She said that between 2010 and 2012, about 75 of these groups were selected for extra screening as part of a broader review of political advocacy organizations that were seeking tax-exempt status. Front-line IRS employees working in the tax-exempt unit in Cincinnati selected groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, she said, as a shorthand because of the proliferation of these groups in recent years.
I'm also remembering the IRS has been hit by austerity fever same as every other federally funded agency. Also, the applications for this particular status by politically motivated individuals has exploded in that time frame. So you have fewer workers reviewing umpteenth more applications and they took a shortcut to meet their quotas.

Have to agree with Think Progress here. The real problem is they used the wrong keywords. While it's true a lot of these Tea Party groups are fleecing the gullible rubes, they're just the grifters. It's the deep pocket front groups who are cheating on the codes.
Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, for example, told the IRS that any political ads run by the group would be “limited in amount” and “would not constitute the group’s primary purpose.” Campaign finance reform advocates have argued that, in light of more than $70 million in “independent expenditure” ad spending, the group’s primary purpose is clearly campaign activity. But rather than register with the Federal Election Commission as a political committee, Crossroads GPS continues to claim that it is not such a group and need not publicly identify its funders.
Far as I know he's still getting away with it. The overworked IRS guys would have been better off plugging in the names of the big money NGOs and seeing how many media buys pop up.

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