Our New IRS National Heroes!
Posted in the Brattleboro Forum
#1 May 15, 2013
Source: Acting IRS chief blames two "rogue" workers for "overly aggressive" handling of tea party tax-exemption requests.
#2 May 15, 2013
The IRS should do more, not less, scrutinizing of political groups
Arn Pearson 14 May 2013
"Since Citizens United, the super rich are using nonprofits to shield their political spending. They need more oversight
The recent IRS admissions about the use of "tea party" or "patriot" labels to flag applications for nonprofit status for additional scrutiny raise serious questions about political bias, and should receive a thorough and independent investigation.
There is rightly a growing call for House and Senate hearings to answer those questions, but any investigations must delve deeper into the bigger problem facing our democracy after the Supreme Court's decision in Citizen United: the dramatic surge in the misuse of nonprofits to hide political spending by billionaires and corporations from American voters, and the lack of any meaningful enforcement response.
Although the IRS must enforce the law impartially, the agency should not abrogate its responsibility to enforce it in the first place. While Common Cause strongly supports an investigation, we are concerned that partisans on both sides will use this tempest to cow the IRS and forestall enforcement of the tax code.
Reported political spending by 501(c)4s – the kind of non-profit groups at the focus of this controversy – surged to $254m in 2012, almost matching spending by political parties ($255m), according to the Center for Responsive Politics, thanks in large part to the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United. The vast majority of that spending – 85%– came from conservative organizations, led by Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS group and Americans for Prosperity, backed by the Koch brothers. Given this disproportionate spending on behalf of conservative candidates at this point in history, most of the groups flagged will logically be conservative organizations, even using impartial criteria.
It is patently obvious to American voters that many of these groups, on the left and right, have been formed in order to hide political spending by mega donors who want to influence the outcome of elections while keeping their identities secret.
There is also no getting around the fact that the IRS search criteria at the heart of the current controversy were developed at a time when billionaire political players, led by the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch, were bankrolling Tea Party groups. In 2010, there were 129 candidates for Congress and nine Senate candidates running for office under the Tea Party label. The primary focus for many of those groups was taking out members of Congress who voted for the Affordable Care Act, and they played a major role in flipping the US House to Republican control in 2010. Some of the groups evaporated soon after the elections were over.
Targeting groups that have applied for tax-exempt status for additional scrutiny because they appear to have an electoral motive is proper – as long as the same criteria is applied to all regardless of political viewpoints. At a time of unprecedented use of nonprofit organizations to funnel money for use in political campaigns, we need more enforcement to prevent evasion of campaign, disclosure and tax laws, not less." ...
#3 May 15, 2013
..."Common Cause filed a complaint in March 2012 to the IRS about one of those organizations in 2012 – Liberty Central – founded by Justice Thomas' wife Ginni Thomas while he was still deliberating on Citizens United. Based on our research, the primary purpose of that group was to elect Tea Party candidates for Congress in 2010 and defeat congressmen who had voted for the Affordable Care Act. Ms Thomas spent much of her time flying to Tea Party events and rallies, expressly called for the election of certain candidates, and featured a candidate scorecard on her website. Ms Thomas left the group shortly after the elections, and its activity evaporated.
Common Cause challenge to Liberty Central's tax status produced no visible action by the IRS, nor did similar complaints from the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 against other groups on both sides of the political spectrum.
The current IRS controversy does not excuse sham political organizations masquerading as social welfare organizations, and shines a light on the critical need for campaign spending disclosure legislation. The increased pressure on the IRS is a direct result of the abysmal failure of Congress and the Federal Election Commission to enact or adopt common sense disclosure rules, despite the Supreme Court majority's assurance that disclosure would allow voters (and shareholders) to make informed decisions.
The crisis is also a product of the fuzzy "primary purpose" test, based on facts and circumstances, that the IRS has long used to determine if a c4 group is violating its nonprofit social welfare status. Vague standards don't work in the world of campaign finance and, given the increased politicization of nonprofits, they are ill suited to the world of tax law as well. It is time for Congress to adopt a bright-line test for deciding when political activity by nonprofits requires a group to form a "527" political organization and disclose its donors.
Instead of moving the ball forward, partisans will try to use the current controversy to intimidate the IRS from ever enforcing nonprofit tax laws when, in fact, the larger problem here is already inadequate enforcement. The IRS backed off enforcement of the gift tax on large contributions to c4s in 2011 after a political backlash. Will the same thing happen here with enforcement of c4 limits on political activity?
It will take a concerted effort by reform advocates and the media for the "Tea Party" controversy to move the country forward instead of backward."
#4 May 15, 2013
I don’t know, it looks to me like the stupid teabaggers endlessly tried to comply with the IRS’s impossible demands. They sucked it up to do the impossible to save a few pennies of taxes and be qualified their donation gotten would be tax deductible.
I mean it is totally embarrassing…how long would they go begging on their knees in the face of massively stupid IRS demands…
I think this is a smart Clinton trap...they are going to eat the teabaggers.
#5 May 15, 2013
Poetic justice is investigating "taxed enough already" Tea party groups that are essentially laundering the anonymous political spending of billionaires.
#6 May 15, 2013
-sez susieQ, who has posted here MANY links to 'news' articles by leftwingnut media outlets funded by billionaire George Soros
Those with the Real truth like Alex Jones are supported by We The People, not any billionaires, since his site Infowars.com and his films expose the evils and corruption of the 'Left' AND the 'Right'
IRS Gave Preferential Treatment to Liberal Nonprofits
The IRS doled out nonprofit status to dozens of leftist organizations while leaving tea party and constitutionalist groups in the dust, according to USA Today.
^IRS boss Lois Lerner approved nonprofit status for illegal Obama foundation. Progress Florida, for instance, is partnered with ProgressNow, a foundation that receives funding from the Tides Foundation and George Soros’ Foundation
Prominent Catholic professor claims IRS audited her after speaking against Obama
#7 May 16, 2013
Yea, they are whistleblowers tring to bring attention to a huge problem...
#8 May 16, 2013
May 15, 2013
The Real I.R.S. Scandal
By SHEILA KRUMHOLZ and ROBERT WEINBERGER
NEWS that employees at the Internal Revenue Service targeted groups with “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their name for special scrutiny has raised pious alarms among some lawmakers and editorial writers.
Yes, the I.R.S. may have been worse than clumsy in considering an avalanche of applications for nonprofit status under the tax code, and that deserves scrutiny whether or not the agency’s employees were spurred by partisan motives. After all, some of these “tea party” groups are most likely not innocent nonprofit organizations devoted to the cultural significance of hot beverages — or to other, more civic, virtues. Rather, they and others are groups that may be illegally spending a majority of their resources on political activity while manipulating the tax code to hide their donors and evade taxes (the unwritten rule being that no more than 49 percent of a group’s resources can be used for political purposes).
The near vertical ascent in political spending by these “dark money” groups was prompted by the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, among others, freeing them to be more active in this realm.
And it’s a bipartisan scandal, though it’s hard to tell that judging by the names some groups have adopted — as the I.R.S. should know. Can you tell which of these lean left and which ones right? Patriot Majority USA, Crossroads GPS, American Future Fund and the Citizens for Strength and Security Fund.(Nos. 1 and 4 are liberal, 2 and 3 are conservative.)
The majority of the organizations that appear to be most politically active — from groups that run their own ads, like American Action Network and Americans for Prosperity, to the mysterious Center to Protect Patient Rights, which distributes money to other political groups — already have exempt status. There’s little evidence that the I.R.S. is looking into these groups.
The latest news will make that job more difficult. It’s unfortunate and unacceptable that these groups may have received more scrutiny and suspicion than they deserved — the I.R.S. reportedly even asked what books their leaders were reading.
#9 May 16, 2013
But even more regrettable is the long-term damage to the credibility of the I.R.S. as an impartial arbiter of whether organizations merit tax-exempt status. This will be difficult to undo, particularly because of the secrecy required for the agency to effectively examine organizations without generating doubts about them, as well as to prevent other organizations from coming up with strategies to evade scrutiny in the future.
Indeed, the latest revelations are not the first to cause pushback by Congressional conservatives. In 2011, tax authorities considered applying the gift tax to large contributions to 501(c)(4) groups, and they sent letters to a handful of big donors informing them they may be taxed. The agency received a swift and forceful response from the Republican senators Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, John Kyl of Arizona and others demanding to know whether the I.R.S. was acting on the basis of partisanship.
The agency folded like wet cardboard: the deputy commissioner took the extraordinary step of ending the audits in progress.(That official, who has been the acting head of the agency, was fired yesterday by the president.)
Now Republicans like Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania are saying the search criteria used by the I.R.S. are “akin to an enemies list,” like the one kept by President Richard M. Nixon.
Mr. Toomey, it should be noted, has personal experience with these groups: in his last race, in 2010, he benefited from the outside spending of conservative 501(c)(4) groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition and Crossroads GPS, founded by Karl Rove. In fact, such groups spent $17.6 million on his behalf, while liberal counterparts spent $12.8 million helping his Democratic opponent, Joe Sestak.
With the surge of dark money into politics, we need to ensure that the I.R.S. is capable of rigorously enforcing the law in a nonpartisan, but also more effective, way. While we focus on the rickety raft of minor Tea Party groups targeted by the I.R.S., there is an entire fleet of big spenders that are operating with apparent impunity.
Congress has already announced hearings and investigations, and the service’s leadership will be grilled, as it should be. But it would be a travesty if the misdeeds here undermined the important work that must now be done to foster greater transparency, and to bolster confidence that the I.R.S. is in fact scrutinizing politically active groups across the board, regardless of their ideological bent.
Citizens need to rest assured that the integrity of our political system is intact. But achieving that assurance will take more than a tempest in a teapot.
Sheila Krumholz is the executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, where Robert Weinberger is the chairman of the board.
#10 May 16, 2013
Unique and Useful Purpose
Rosemary Fei is a lawyer at Adler & Colvin. She has advised nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations for 22 years, focusing on their political and advocacy activities.
May 15, 2013
Recently, organizations exempt from taxes under Section 501(c)(4) have gotten a bad name, due to their use – and, perhaps, abuse – for political purposes, spending staggering sums to influence elections in 2012 without disclosing their donors. These new organizations began applying for recognition of their exemption in increasing numbers starting about six years ago. The trickle increased to a flood after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision opened the gates to independent expenditures on candidate elections by corporations.
But Section 501(c)(4) has been around for more than 50 years, and we should not let the current scandal obscure the unique and useful place (c)(4)’s occupy in the universe of tax-exempt organizations.
If Section 501(c)(4) were eliminated, low-income housing providers and neighborhood associations would be taxed like businesses, even though they operate to benefit society and not their shareholders.
Just as 501(c)(3) organizations are often referred to as “charities,” those exempt under 501(c)(4) are called “social welfare organizations,” sometimes described as a step down from charity, or “charity-lite.” What’s the difference? Unlike charities,(c)(4)’s cannot offer their donors charitable contributions deductions on their income taxes, a serious disadvantage in fundraising; the trade-off is that (c)(4)’s can engage in unlimited lobbying in furtherance of social welfare (charities can do some), and in some candidate electoral activity (how much is debated; charities cannot do any). In addition to being more empowered politically,(c)(4)’s are permitted to confer somewhat more benefit on their members, their neighborhood or some other group that cannot qualify as a charitable class.
The types of organizations who have historically occupied the (c)(4) niche follow directly from these differences. The Sierra Club, the AARP and the National Rifle Association, to name examples, are too politically engaged to be charities, yet they work toward what each believes will be a better world. Charities who find Section 501(c)(3)’s restrictions hamper their advocacy, often create a (c)(4) affiliate to pursue their lobbying agenda. Health maintenance organizations, low-income housing providers and homeowner or neighborhood associations are all examples of groups that may confer too much private benefit on their members, tenants and residents to qualify for (c)(3) status, yet their contributions to the social welfare are undeniable and warrant their continued exemption from federal income taxes.
If Section 501(c)(4) were eliminated, these groups would be taxed like businesses, even though they operate to benefit society and not their shareholders or corporate executives. The I.R.S. needs to fix Section 501(c)(4) to address its use by abusive organizations, but we shouldn’t eliminate it.
#11 May 16, 2013
#12 May 17, 2013
At the bottom of this is government workers doing 4 times more work than they once did and now doing it with less money...
#13 May 17, 2013
Flashback: Schumer, Franken urged IRS to target tea party in 2012
EXPOSED: George Soros Spent $6.1 Million Pressuring The IRS To Target Conservatives (Soros is a NWO-promoting CFR member and a Jew who admitted collaborating with the Nazis)
DOJ Sought Surveillance On Several Thousand U.S. Citizens In 2012
“These sought information pertaining to 6,233 different United States persons,” wrote Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik in the letter.
Ohio IRS Employees At Center of Scandal:‘We Simply Did What Our Bosses Ordered’
IRS Approved Non-Profit Status For Conservative Group Media Trackers After Re-Applying With ‘Liberal-Sounding Name’
Report: IRS Denied Tax-Exempt Status To Pro-Life Group On Behalf Of Planned Parenthood
IRS officials refused to grant tax exempt status two pro-life organizations because of their position on the abortion issue, according to a non-profit law firm, which said that one group was pressured not to protest a pro-
Documents Prove IRS Harassment Of Pro-Life Groups Dates To 2009
IRS Targeted National Security Org That Criticized Obama’s Response To Benghazi
IRS Chief Won’t Say Who Ordered Targeting Of Obama’s Enemies
WATCH – HILARIOUS: Dennis Miller Takes On The Obama Scandals
#14 May 19, 2013
#15 May 19, 2013
4 times zero equals zero!
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