IRS Mainly Targeted Nonprofits on the Left

Financial Justice

irsLittle Rock  According to IRS documents now released to the public, the Republicans and the right have been squealing like stuck pigs about being discriminated against on their applications for a free tax ride without any good reason, because the IRS was an “equal opportunity” discriminator targeting both the left and the right for special attention.  The IRS docs seem to back up their earlier contention that they were using “key words” to root out what they suspected might be political organizations hiding behind a social welfare cover story in order to con the tax man.  They not only pulled out Tea Party but also Occupy and Progressive in their searches.  There are lessons here, but I’m not sure any of them are all that good.

            According to a report in the New York Times, this name sorting attack went on until recent weeks.  Furthermore, the slap at the left was broader and more political than the conservatives have claimed.

One such “be on the lookout” list included medical marijuana groups, organizations that were promoting President Obama’s health care law, and applications that dealt “with disputed territories in the Middle East.”

            The IRS seems to be over the top in his ham-fisted appreciation of both foreign and domestic policy.   It will be interesting to see if Congressman Issa and his investigations committee will be as lathered up now that it is clear that the main targets were liberals and not conservatives.  I’m not holding my breath.

Clearly, they were out of control, but what’s new about that?

The IRS or the Service as it calls itself often believes there are no boundaries to the questions and information that they believe is relevant in an investigation.  Years ago I had a lawyer who referred to government investigators for the IRS and DOL as always looking for “booze, broads, and Cadillac’s,” but that’s way old school now.  They operate more like a Google search with an IRS ID-badge  believing that they have license to delve into anything they might have pulled up in a search, and, god knows, if you’ve ever been on the internet, you know there’s some crazy stuff out there about virtually everything and everyone.

The IRS needs to collect what taxes are due and make sure that there are no wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, but maybe they should go back to the old school and just go through one application at a time and get it right.  In the meantime anyone applying for a tax exemption would be wise to think very carefully about what name they call their outfit.  I would recommend plain vanilla like Institute for Social Welfare or Organization for the Good or something along those lines for a quick “yes” from the IRS.