Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tim Carney: The IRS is deeply political — and very Democratic
...In the past three election cycles, the Center for Responsive Politics' database shows about $474,000 in political donations by individuals listing "IRS" or "Internal Revenue Service" as their employer.

This money heavily favors Democrats: $247,000 to $145,000, with the rest going to political action committees. (Oddly, half of those GOP donations come from only two IRS employees, one in Houston and one in Annandale, Va.)

IRS employees also gave $67,000 to the PAC of the National Treasury Employees Union, which in turn gave more than 96 percent of its contributions to Democrats. Add the PAC cash to the individual donations and IRS employees favor Democrats 2-to-1.

The Cincinnati office where the political targeting took place is much more partisan, judging by FEC filings. More than 75 percent of the campaign contributions from that office in the past three elections went to Democrats. In 2012, every donation traceable to employees at that office went to either President Obama or liberal Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio....

IRS Scandal Strikes a Severe Blow to Big Government
...Nor is that the only issue with the IRS and potential politicization. A prominent donor to the Mitt Romney campaign, Frank Vandersloot, revealed yesterday that after donating to Romney (and being attacked by the Obama campaign as being “less-than-reputable”), he was targeted for not just one but two IRS audits, plus a Department of Labor audit.

Vandersloot claims that more Romney donors also got the IRS audit treatment during the 2012 campaign, but are understandably reluctant to come forward. Franklin Graham, the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham and the man running the family’s ministries also claims that the IRS targeted his organization for political purposes during the presidential campaign, costing them over $80,000 and lots of wasted time.

One of the offices of the IRS handling the tax-exempt requests also leaked nine confidential files in progress to the liberal watchdog site ProPublica, according to ProPublica itself....

...“The law authorizes the IRS to share confidential taxpayer information with the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of determining those subsidies,” York reminds us. “In addition, the IRS will keep track of even the smallest changes in Americans' financial condition. Did you get a raise recently? You'll need to notify the IRS; it might affect your subsidy status. Have your hours been reduced at work? Notify the IRS. Change jobs? Same.”

Now consider what may happen when all of this intimate detail ends up in the hands of a politicized IRS, as happened over the last three years. Newt Gingrich asked Monday, “Why would you trust the bureaucracy with your health if you can't trust the bureaucracy with your politics?"

It’s a good question. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the questions that a certain-to-be-revitalized Tea Party will be asking, especially since the IRS proved every warning the grassroots conservatives have about the dangers of big government. This scandal has the potential to deliver a crippling blow to the cult of big government, thanks to the behavior of big government itself.

My Tea Party group’s futile attempt to get IRS tax-exempt status
...we heard back from the IRS that they needed more information from us, and we complied [early 2010]. We didn’t have a ton of information for them however as we had only begun, we had no long term budgets because we were a new organization. But we sent all we had. Then we heard the IRS did not like that we had formed as an LLC, and not just incorporated. I told them that we saw no law or regulations that said we could not be an LLC and asked them to justify which laws or regulations this broke so we could do further research. We learned after this that it was futile to keep fighting with the IRS as they held all the cards and we had nothing to leverage our selves with, so we gave up. [April 2010]...

...“It became just this mountain of paperwork back and forth. And we just decided at that point that you know we saw the writing on the wall … We were some of the biggest critics of the federal government, of course they weren’t going to help us out…. We knew we were the beginning of some big snowball. We kept hearing from other groups, oh, there’s a two-year backlog.”...

...Lois Lerner, the senior IRS official at the center of the decision to target tea party groups for burdensome tax scrutiny, signed paperwork granting tax-exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a shady charity headed by the president’s half-brother that operated illegally for years….

Lerner also appears to have broken with the norms of tax-exemption approval by granting retroactive tax-exempt status to Malik Obama’s organization....

Did The IRS Try To Swing Election To Obama?
...And why is it that, as the New York Times reports, no one involved with the scandal at the IRS has been disciplined while "one in Cincinnati was promoted"?

In the end, the IRS managed to put its thumb on the political scale by squelching political activity on the right — some groups report curtailing get-out-the-vote efforts, spending piles of money on legal fees or disbanding altogether in the face of IRS inquisitions.

And all of it happened during a close and hotly contested presidential election where such mischievousness could make a real difference....