Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tea Party cries wolf over IRS "scandal"

Lest you think the Tea Party might actually be right for once in its miserable existence, we can lay this belief to rest today.

Much noise has been generated about the IRS allegedly singling out the Tea Party for stricter scrutiny, and now a new official report is shedding light on this notion. The Media of course has been happy to help the Tea Party's claims in recent days, but these claims can be debunked.

First of all, when the IRS came up with its rules for enhanced scrutiny in 2011, it was under the auspices of Douglas Shulman - a Bush appointee. This shoots down the Tea Party's claim that President Obama sicced the IRS on them. Furthermore, these guidelines say that organizations received greater scrutiny if there were any statements in their case file critical of how the country is being run. So the rules could apply not only to the Tea Party but also Occupy. If it applied only to right-wing groups like the Tea Party, it's because progressive groups weren't applying to the IRS under the same guidelines as right-wing groups.

There's reasons for that. Although progressive groups have more popular support than the Tea Party, they have far less money to finance organizations that might apply to the IRS. When the guidelines were written, folks on the left didn't have their own named movement like the Tea Party. There was no significant progressive counterpart to the Tea Party at the time - and there still isn't, because Occupy wasn't intended to be one. Plus, the Tea Party was applying under a provision called 501(c)(4) - which covers tax-exempt charities. In other words, the Tea Party was trying to abuse a tax-exempt status by calling themselves a charity instead of the Republican superPAC that they are.

The IRS's basic charge is to make sure people pay taxes. If someone calls themselves a charity when really they're just a political group, why shouldn't the IRS subject them to extra scrutiny?

In 2012 - only months after those guidelines - the IRS issued new guidelines that gave more scrutiny to groups advocating "social economic reform/movement." Gee, I wonder what that was in response to? Ponder, ponder.

The long and short of it is, there is absolutely no scandal here. None. The press shows its Tea Party bias by calling it a "scandal."

Remember when the thug Bush misused the IRS to try to shut down a church in California because the rector delivered a sermon against the Iraq War? That should be the real story here. Not some persecution fantasy held by the 3 remaining Tea Party members.

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