UPDATE: IRS harassment not limited to Tea Party | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

UPDATE: IRS harassment not limited to Tea Party

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM

This is NOT by way of excuse, but it's important context. The IRS hasn't limited harassment of nonprofits to Tea Party and related groups.

Interesting piece from Washington Post on the agency's historic harassment of gay rights groups. This is the key takeaway:

The Inspector General’s report on the Tea Party scandal paints a picture of mid-level IRS employees being extraordinarily insensitive to the fact that their method of screening applications to form a “social welfare organization” for possible excessive political involvement was by definition rigged against the conservative groups that exploded in number in the early years of the Obama administration. Even after being told to stop using politically tilted methods of screening the groups for review in 2011, the Cincinnati IRS office charged with reviewing the applications reversed course in early 2012 and went back to screening based on the group’s name.

There are two big similarities with the IRS’s struggles over groups dealing with homosexuality in decades’ past.

The most clear-cut similarity is that when legal standards around nonprofit groups’ tax treatment is vague, it leaves far too much power in the hands of tax collection bureaucrats. In a 1980 ruling on the Big Mama Rag case, the U.S. Court of Appeals found against the IRS, writing that “applications for tax exemption must be evaluated . .. on the basis of criteria capable of neutral application. The standards may not be so imprecise that they afford latitude to individual IRS officials to pass judgment on the content and quality of an applicant’s views and goals and therefore to discriminate against those engaged in protected First Amendment activities.”

And again: Why in the world is preferential tax treatment given to overtly political groups? It shouldn't be. At a minimum, the law should require transparency. The big 501c4 players in recent years were formed primarily to give secrecy to donors influencing election outcomes.

UPDATE: Looks like the IRS has pinpointed two "rogue" employees for the Tea Party misdeeds. If they take the fall — and others were involved — you can bet they'll be talking.

UPDATE II: Oops, the same rogue IRS people targeted at least three liberal groups, too.

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • An open line for Sunday

    An open line.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • City plans more spending on 30 Crossing

    The Little Rock City Board meets Tuesday to set an agenda for the following week and among the "consent" items is a new $175,000 with Nelson/Nygaard consultants to "assist with a comprehensive review" of the 30 Crossing project, otherwise known as the bigger concrete ditch the Department of Transportation wants to tear through the heart of Little Rock.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • NFL owners rise to defense of players against Trump and false patriots

    Many football team owners have risen to the defense of players against Donald Trump criticism as yet another racially fraught issue seems likely to gain increasing heat thanks to Trump's rhetoric.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation