With the NSA phone log warrant story taking all the headlines and pundit breath, the previous "controversies" surrounding the Obama administration have taken a back seat. It's time to revisit one of them: the "IRS/Tea Party" "scandal". To hear Republicans and FOX "News" tell it, the president conspired with the IRS to target Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status.
The initial question, of course, is: WHY should a blatantly political organization be granted tax-exempt status in the first place under a designation reserved for social welfare groups (which are the antithesis of what the Tea Party and Republicans stand for)? I am not the only person to ask that question
The tea party groups in question were applying to become tax exempt 501©4 groups, also known as social welfare organizations. McDermott noted the purpose of such groups was to advance the common good and general welfare a community. Political organizations, on the other hand, are categorized under section 527 of the federal tax code.
“Each of your groups is highly political,” the congressman said. “From opposing the President’s healthcare reform, to abortion restrictions, to gay marriage, you’re all entrenched in some of the most controversial political issues in this country – and with your applications you are asking the American public to pay for that work. Many of you host and endorse candidates. The line between permitted political activity and non-permitted political activity can be very fine, and it’s important that tax payers know which side you fall on.”
So to that point - the "targeting" fell squarely within the purview of the IRS's mission to legally collect taxes and ferret out the cheats. However, that sort of question just inflamed the right-wing even more. Investigations were initiated. Lies and misrepresentations were rampant
. The heads of the affected groups testified before Congress about how they felt their 1st Amendment rights were being stifled (pssst - here's what it means to have free speech
And of course - there was the accusation that this was somehow orchestrated by the White House. It has been previously reported that the person in charge of the region where this occurred was a Bush appointee that was still in her job. The head of the IRS at the time was also a Bush appointee (and yet somehow the person currently acting as head of the IRS had to be sacrificed by President Obama at the altar of Republican douchebaggery).
It is now coming to light that the IRS agent that initiated the targeting of Tea Party groups was - in fact - a conservative Republican
A U.S. Internal Revenue Service manager, who described himself as a conservative Republican, told congressional investigators that he and a local colleague decided to give conservative groups the extra scrutiny that has prompted weeks of political controversy.
In an official interview transcript released on Sunday by Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, the manager said he and an underling set aside “Tea Party” and “patriot” groups that had applied for tax-exempt status because the organizations appeared to pose a new precedent that could affect future IRS filings.
The excerpts of interviews with IRS workers released by Cummings indicate that the IRS manager and an underling first decided to contact Washington, D.C. IRS officials for guidance on the cases from groups aligned with the anti-tax Tea Party movement.
They did so to consolidate them, as they might be precedent-setting for future cases, the manager said, according to the interview transcripts.
So: We have a conservative Republican IRS agent, reporting to a Bush-Appointee area manager, working under a Bush-Appointee IRS head, and somehow - somehow
- this is a partisan Obama controversy??
Perpetual witch-hunter Daryll Issa wanted the truth to come out, and there is certainly enough truth out there now to prove that this was a "ground-up" operation (rather than a "top-down"), and was not done for partisan reasons. All Issa has proven thus far is that HE is the partisan hack wasting taxpayer dollars while he pursues his partisan agenda.