ACORN-Related Groups Targeted by IRS over 10-Year Period

Citizen Wealth Financial Justice

New Orleans  Hey, every day is important. We’re busy bees, and today we even have a mini-hurricane heading our way within hours, so there’s a long list.

Nonetheless, I don’t like to be one of those “I told you so folks,” especially when what I told you, repeatedly, was about some bad and evil activity by the US Internal Revenue Service, but, I have to do what I have to do, so I guess I have to remind y’all that, I told you so.

The Obama era controversy with the IRS was inspired by conservative whining that they were being discriminated against when Tea Party groups, trying to change spots, and in some cases were being rejected in their applications for tax exempt status which requires organizations to be nonpartisan. Heads rolled, conspiracies were claimed, and so on and so on. I pointed out repeatedly during those times what was often buried in most of the reports that indicated that most of the Tea Party groups actually succeeded in being awarded tax exempt status by the IRS, but that the IRS was scrutinizing progressive groups, including former ACORN state organizations in the process of reorganization, even more severely.

In an exhaustive report the Inspector General of the Treasury Department has now conclusively revealed that in the same way the tax exempt division searched for key words on the right to give extra attention, they did the same on the left, by pulling out applications including the words “progressive,” “green,” and of course, “ACORN” or anything like it.

I knew firsthand this was the problem from frequent conversations with Craig Robbins of Action United, formerly Pennsylvania ACORN. In 2010 they had applied for a tax exemption from the IRS on the recommendation of lawyers. ACORN had been a plain vanilla nonprofit under the state laws of Arkansas and never a 501c3 tax exempt organization as classified by the IRS, but in the wake of attack from conservatives and others, lawyers had gained the upper hand in many debates over basic organizing fundamentals, so in an excess of caution to try to survive, many, if not most, of the former ACORN affiliates were applying for tax exemption in order to satisfy potential funders. Some like the organization in Pennsylvania were caught in this wave of IRS prejudice, and unlike the Tea Party whiners, it was not a matter of delays and eventually success, but outright rejection as Craig’s organization experienced.

This is the IRS friends. No apologies will be forthcoming and none are expected.

And, this is America in 2017, so even though more progressive groups were targeted, the conservatives in Congress who have been eating lunch for a long time on their various anti-tax, IRS conspiracies are also still beating the drum even in the wake of this decisive, concluding report on the IRS mischief in the tax exempt division.

I could have also told you to expect that.