The Internal Revenue Service is supposed to be nonpartisan and impartial in executing our tax laws. As revealed recently, however, this has certainly not been the case in recent years. I refer, of course, to the targeting of conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status.
To refresh your memory, these organizations were subjected to long, intrusive questionnaires which inquired about the resumes of their past and present directors, as well as attempts to obtain the names of their donors. The waiting times for approval of their tax-exempt status were so long that some organizations simply gave up and quit trying.
President Obama made a puzzling statement yesterday, saying that "if in fact IRS personnel" targeted conservatives, that would be "outrageous". Why make this conditional, when the IRS has already admitted its actions? Actually, the actions of the IRS may be worse than what they have admitted.
Meanwhile, what we the people are getting are the usual obfuscations and outright lies from the administration. President "I never knew anything about this" Obama would have us believe that he was totally unaware of the situation, yet he "joked" in 2009 that he could use the IRS to target political enemies, but said, of course, that he never would.
IRS spokeswoman Lois Lerner insists there was no political motivation in what the IRS did. If that's the case, then why did they target only conservative organizations? There are abundant data that these, and earlier, inquiries were indeed politically motivated. It's also known that these inquiries came not just from the Cincinnati office, as Ms. Lerner implied, but also from offices in California and Washington D.C.
IRS officials are still sticking to their story that these questionnaires were not meant to intimidate these groups. Yet anyone who has ever received mail from the IRS can attest to the fact that when that envelope arrives, your blood runs a bit colder. Everyone knows that the IRS doesn't contact you just to be friendly.
I don't know how much President Obama knew about this and I'm not implying that he gave direct orders to harass these conservative groups. Obama politico David Plouffe tweeted that what the IRS did was "dumb and wrong", but that Republicans will use this to raise more money. In Plouffe's world, apparently all that matters is partisan advantage instead of equal treatment under the law that Americans have a right to expect from their government. The actions of the IRS were prompted by a mindset that's prevalent in this administration, i.e., hit your enemies hard with whatever means you have available. That bully mentality has filtered down from the very top. Whether you're conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, every American should be disturbed by this abuse of power.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
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