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IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups During 2012 Election

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the absolute-power-and-absolute-abuse-of-power dept.

Censorship 719

An anonymous reader writes "A recurring theme in comments on Slashdot since the 9/11 attacks has been concern about the use of government power to monitor or suppress political activity unassociated with terrorism but rather based on ideology. It has just been revealed that the IRS has in fact done that. From the story: "The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election . . . Organizations were singled out because they included the words 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. 'That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review,' Lerner said . . . 'The IRS would like to apologize for that,' she added. . . . Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. . . . she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice. Tea Party groups were livid on Friday. ... In all, about 300 groups were singled out for additional review. . . Tea Party groups weren't buying the idea that the decision to target them was solely the responsibility of low-level IRS workers. ... During the conference call it was stated that no disciplinary action had been taken by those who engaged in this activity. President Obama has previously joked about using the IRS to target people." So it's not how they choose cases for review (except when it is), and was not motivated by political bias (except that it was). Also at National Review, with more bite.

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If your group is (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690401)

If your groups is named after the most famous tax revoult in the history of the country I would expect the tax man to pay special interest to it.

Re:If your group is (-1, Troll)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690451)

That and all the obvious tea bag joke is why 'they' should renaming the movement for the Whiskey Rebellion. That and maybe the holy rollers won't take over anything with such a name.

I see groups passing around untaxed whiskey as an act of open civil disobedience. That and huge spliffs in the town square, but only in states where pot is still illegal.

Re:If your group is (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690685)

If your groups is named after the most famous tax revoult in the history of the country I would expect the tax man to pay special interest to it.

That tax revolt was against the previous regime (the British Empire), not the current government (United States of America). The Tea Party advocates for legislative reform of the tax code and containing spending, not revolts against the government. This is clearly a case of abuse of authority by a government agency intervening in the political process for the benefit of the current administration. You've got a pretty big evidentiary burden if you want to try to justify that.

Re:If your group is (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690839)

That's true. However, organizations with those kinds of names are likely to be engaged in political activity which should render them ineligible for tax exempt status.

The fact that the IRS has permitted the LDS and Catholics to get away with using tax exempt resources to campaign does not mean that the IRS should be required to let everybody do it. It means that the IRS needs to do a better job of enforcing the code.

There do appear to be some abuses of power here, but keeping an eye on organizations likely to be engaged in political activity isn't wrong.

Re:If your group is (1)

Myria (562655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690841)

If your groups is named after the most famous tax revoult in the history of the country I would expect the tax man to pay special interest to it.

That tax revolt was against the previous regime (the British Empire), not the current government (United States of America).

But the Tea Party was most certainly in the history of the United States.

Re:If your group is (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690819)

I call it "profiling".

Re:If your group is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690825)

The IRS also targeted groups with "Patriot" in the name. Nobama hates patriotism for America.

Boom Boom.. first? (-1, Offtopic)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690407)

Who got here first?

How APK avoids paying taxes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690409)

irs.gov 127.0.0.0

Very un-PC (0)

alphatel (1450715) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690419)

So wait, they targeted a political organization, much like they might target a religious group, and the former was unacceptable but the latter isn't? It's not like they went after a specific race of Americans...

What is so evil that this needs to be on every news feed in the world?

Re:Very un-PC (1)

StarWreck (695075) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690465)

Where did you get that targeting a religious group is acceptable from?

Re:Very un-PC (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690473)

Because conservatives LOVE any narrative in which they are the victims. Organizations filing for tax-exempt status that are engaged in political work SHOULD receive the kind of scrutiny they got.

Re:Very un-PC (5, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690527)

Organizations filing for tax-exempt status that are engaged in political work SHOULD receive the kind of scrutiny they got.

Sounds good in theory... and yet groups like Organizing for America and MoveOn.org remain unmolested... funny that?

Re: Very un-PC (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690579)

Yes but they arent trying to throw the country under the bus just because the president is black.

Re: Very un-PC (0, Flamebait)

sammie78 (587247) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690581)

Yes but they arent trying to throw the country under the bus just because the president is black.

Re: Very un-PC (3, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690613)

Yes but they arent trying to throw the country under the bus just because the president is black.

No, they were willing to throw the country under the bus just to get a black president.

LK

Re: Very un-PC (5, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690679)

Well said!

It is rather sad when many leftists simply write off opponents to the President as racists of some sort... as it does indicate what kind of issues they themselves have with race if that is the first thing that comes to mind.

MLK said:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character

And yet to the left... it is the color of ones skin, what sort of genitals one has, or what kind of genitals they prefer on the person they are with that is more important than the content of their character.

Re: Very un-PC (0)

clonehappy (655530) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690817)

This should most definitely be modded informative, not funny.

Re: Very un-PC (1, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690811)

Yup.
You either agree with the Presidents agenda or you are a racist.
Either you want the government to spend even more or you want black children to starve.
You are for more government or you are an anarchist.

The left has it all tied up in a neat little package.

Re:Very un-PC (0)

JenovaSynthesis (528503) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690587)

Maybe because groups like MoveOn.Org and co are *gasp* actually following the rules! It's like how these so-called fact checkers went out of their way to find things wrong with what some Democrats said in order not to appear biased because the right-wing was lying left and right.

Re:Very un-PC (2, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690697)

Maybe because groups like MoveOn.Org and co are *gasp* actually following the rules!

You seem to be implying that the tea party groups investigated were not doing so.

Care to cite some specific evidence of both?

Oh right... the fact that the police haven't come knocking at the door of MoveOn.Org proves they've done nothing wrong... and obviously every Tea Party group is guilty as sin because they got an angry letter from the IRS... even requesting information in violation of IRS policy.

Riiight.

Re:Very un-PC (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690747)

All these conservative organizations WERE following the rules. They all passed the audit. The IRS showed impartiality by selectively forcing conservative organizations to PROVE they are following the rules, without any evidence to suggest they aren't. Sorta like a fishing expedition.

Re:Very un-PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690789)

I mean partiality, not impartiality.

Re:Very un-PC (4, Insightful)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690615)

Not to mention that Media Matters still has it's tax-exempt status unquestioned.

Re:Very un-PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690657)

Actually I think they changed their status last year so they could stop pretending

Re:Very un-PC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690721)

The difference here is that these "Tea Party" groups were trying to register as "social welfare" groups to get a tax free status.

These are groups that DESPISE 'social welfare'. They wouldn't walk across the street to p***s on a homeless person who was on fire. They pretend EVERYTHING that isn't 100% capitalism is 'socialism'.

I think it is COMPLETELY valid to question if these groups would really do any 'social welfare' work. In most cases I bet they do NOT.

Re:Very un-PC (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690823)

Awesome way to spread the FUD bro.

Re:Very un-PC (5, Interesting)

trims (10010) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690853)

MoveOn.org isn't solely a 503(c).4 organization. They're very explicitly split into two branches: the main site, which engages in all the permissible organizational and democratic (small 'd') stuff, and the MoveOn PAC, which explicitly is a registered PAC and does promote candidates and specific issues. Their books are separate, and open, and the sections of the web site where PAC vs 503 stuff goes on is clearly demarked. Donations are also clearly marked as to whether you're giving to the PAC or the 503.

The problem with many of the newer 503(c).4 organizations is that they:

(a) don't file the appropriate paperwork, so it's hard to see if they're complying with the reporting and transparency requirements

(b) Engage in activities that are, at best, grey advocacy, and at worst, outright political support of individuals and issues.

I do agree that we need more auditing, and that the selection of who to target was wrong. But that doesn't mean there isn't a serious problem on the Right around this, particularly since there's been a whole lot more money poured into Right Wing 503(c).4 orgs in the past 4 years, and also because the vast majority of these organizations seem to be very heavily politicized, and much less socially-oriented.

FYI - laws say it's fine for a 503(c).4 to advocate certain general positions (i.e. "Clean Water", "Less Coal, more Wind", and do what used to be called "Community Organizing"), so long as they did not promote specific candidates or parties or legislation/initiatives. The problem has been that may 503(c).4 orgs aren't obeying those restrictions. That is, you see a lot of Left-Wing 503(c) doing general voter registration and promoting Big Causes. Recent Right Wing stuff has heavily been oriented around "Defeat taxation" and "Stop Immigration" and the like, which leads (or is intended) to be mostly legislative lobbying, which is NOT OK for a 503(c).4

Re:Very un-PC (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690575)

What is so evil that this needs to be on every news feed in the world?

So you see no problem with an executive branch agency targeting the political opposition to the incumbent administration in a direct, focused way, apparently calculated to hinder their participation in the election process? You are unbothered by government officials illegitimately, and perhaps illegally, demanding membership lists? You have no sense that this sort of thing might undermine free and fair elections? You have no worries about government officials maintaining enemies lists? It strikes me that you have no useful comment to give on this matter.

Re:Very un-PC (4, Insightful)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690601)

I would expect this rationalization from someone who perhaps asks, "what is so evil about fascism that it needs to be on every news feed in the world?". Of course, modern day fascists don't see themselves as fascist, much like insane people see themselves as perfectly rational.

Re:Very un-PC (1)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690637)

You're confusing the word "Fascist" with "Bully." This has nothing to do with nationalism and market control.

Re:Very un-PC (0)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690707)

I would disagree with that statement somewhat.

The german fascist government was *very* interested in membership lists, party affiliations other than their own, and the active sabotage/destruction of thoe agencies, and the individuals associated with them.

You are confusing the political theory, with the manifest government style.

Re:Very un-PC (2)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690731)

If we credit the definitions of political terms to the actions of governments that have worn those words as badges, we will quickly find all political terms to homogeneously mean 'tyrant'.

Re:Very un-PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690669)

They didn't target a political organization, they did a keyword search to find anything with the words, "tea party" or related and audited that. Furthermore, they specifically targeted them because of their political persuasion. That's what's wrong. Ask yourself, "if Nixon had done this, would I be ok with it?"

Re:Very un-PC (4, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690813)

They didn't target a political organization

Correct... they didn't explicitly target the Tea Party Patriots of Golden Valley, MN (to make up a name off the top of my head)... they did something far more sinister, as you say:

they did a keyword search to find anything with the words, "tea party" or related and audited that

They targeted specific words of their target group they sought to punish.

Try that another way... would you still be saying "the IRS didn't target a specific race!" if the tax guy doing keyword searches for people named Juan, Jose, Jesus, Javier, Maria, or Consuelo?

Accountability (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690433)

Why is there no accountability for government workers?

Someone broke the law, even criminally so I might add. People should get fired over this, and criminal charges filed. At the very least this is a serious breach of privacy and trust.

The real question is... (1)

Thangodin (177516) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690453)

Was there reason to suspect improper practices? We've been having a lot of problems in Canada with the Conservative Party (currently the party in power.) Is this a follow up on previous known practices?

Way to go (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690457)

So the government just proved most of the Tea Party's points. Way to go.

Well, of course not. (3, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690461)

...it was stated that no disciplinary action had been taken by those who engaged in this activity.

What else would you expect? Did you really think that the people who did this were going to discipline themselves? What I would have expected was that disciplinary action had been taken against the people responsible. And, I'll add, I'm sure that whoever did this would have ended up in hot water if they'd targeted groups that supported President Obama.

Re:Well, of course not. (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690621)

she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice

The high level IRS officials should know what practices are going on under their supervision and watch . . .

That's their job as managers and executives . . . isn't it . . . ?

Re:Well, of course not. (1)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690791)

When shit hits the fan you get to pick one; incompetent or malicious.

Re:Well, of course not. (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690835)

Yes. Of course. However, they can't be everyplace, looking over everybody's shoulder all of the time. They can only do so much. And, of course, the low level agents who (it's claimed) were responsible probably knew better than to let their bosses know about it. Not just (or mostly) to give them plausible deniability but because they understood that their boss can't forbid something they don't know is happening.

Re:Well, of course not. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690881)

...it was stated that no disciplinary action had been taken by those who engaged in this activity.

What else would you expect? Did you really think that the people who did this were going to discipline themselves?

Reading at the second link, it shows this:

Karen Tumulty
@ktumulty

IRS on conf call saying no disciplinary action against employees who targeted tea party groups for extra scrutiny.

I think you managed to find something mistyped.

And, I'll add, I'm sure that whoever did this would have ended up in hot water if they'd targeted groups that supported President Obama.

I quite agree with you on that point.

So... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690463)

...groups which are publicly and vehemently opposed to taxation are flagged for review by the group responsible for collecting taxes.

Am I missing where this is inappropriate?

And to echo the tea partiers (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690467)

Surely they had no issue with the enhanced audits if they had nothing to hide.

Re:And to echo the tea partiers (2)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690577)

Surely they had no issue with the enhanced audits if they had nothing to hide.

Not sure if funny or insightful.

Re:And to echo the tea partiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690593)

Other than the significant expense of preparing for and responding to an audit. The sad thing, I guess, is that I believe that this was blatant politics, and I believe that it was low level employees, because our government is too incompetent to pull off a coverup.

Re:And to echo the tea partiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690755)

Other than the significant expense of preparing for and responding to an audit.

And? The Tough on "Crime" party has absolutely no problem with forcing people to pay the significant expense of defending themselves in court, but they still stand behind their cop unions and prosecutors who cover up evidence. After all if it turns out someone else killed your wife after 25 years, then we'll set you free and call it even!

I wonder how many Democratic mouthpieces have griped about the Innocence Project. Down here in Texas it's all Republican so it's hard to say.

It's hard to believe (4, Insightful)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690475)

It's hard to believe.

Not that the IRS would do this, that's a gimmie. Or that they'd lie to cover it up, throw some small-time employees under the bus and try to wash their hands of it, we expect that. What's hard to believe is that there will be any real changes past the initial scandal.

The righty groups are already so marginalized in public opinion that most people will look at this article and rather than actually have any issue with the actions of the IRS, they'll feel horrified that the Tea Party was right on something that was already discarded as conspiracy theory. Like a crazy uncle that will never shut up about the time he called it.

Case in point: If this happened to anyone else the outrage would be unquantifiable. But because the systemic harassment of political affiliations only targeted conservatives we will see a whole lot of rationalizing, and IRS apologists. That's the real story.

Re:It's hard to believe (5, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690645)

You're half right.

It's not because Tea Party groups are fringe elements. It's because the average American is only outraged when they are told to be by the mainstream media. The same media that gives Obama the glory-hole treatment every week isn't going to direct people to be upset about the unfair treatment of the opposition.

LK

Re:It's hard to believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690653)

I, for one, would have more sympathy for conservatives if they didn't keep trying to take away important civil liberties (like the ability to marry the one you love (even if of the same gender), the ability to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, etc), and if they didn't keep trying to legislate their religion (by stopping the teaching of science in the classroom and replacing or augmenting it with the teaching of their crazy myths, for example).

What the h-e double hockey are you talking about? (0, Flamebait)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690717)

Right wing groups marginalized? Did you not notice the 24/7 TV channel [slashdot.org] that exists solely to promote right wing views? Did you not notice their complete dominance of local politics (fueled by Citizens United Money) that allowed them to Gerrymander themselves control of the country?

Right wingers represent the ruling class. The 1%. The ones with money. Anything else they say or do is lip service to the ignorant. The Tea Party was created out of whole cloth by a super pack run by Dick Army. Fox news ran stories about UPCOMMING spontaneous protests. How the heck do you advertise for a spontaneous protest? Ask Fox News, I don't know.

This sucks. The Dems tried playing a little hardball, but they can't win. That's because when it counts. When it really counts. When it's not about some dumb ass social issue like two dudes marrying. When it's about _money_. When that happens, the media knows for real what side their bread's buttered on. You won't hear about any of the 1000 things the Bush administration did. You won't hear about the voter suppression in democratic districts. About what _really_ the unconstitutional laws used to shut down Acorn, or about how the police and FBI worked together to shut down OWS and the anti-1% movement. None of that. But mark my words, the dems get a little out of line and you'll hear. You'll get outraged, and you'll go right back to giving everything you have and hold dear to the Republicans and their 1% masters. Just like a good little slave. Obey.

Re:What the h-e double hockey are you talking abou (0)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690773)

Hi, you ignored the second half of the sentence, "in public opinion". That's kinda important here, because it mentions in what scope they're marginalized. For example, your opinions - quite popular! - are discarding of conservatives. You're who I'm talking about. :)

You cannot have it both ways. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690883)

When you say the right wing is the ruling class you ingore the fact nearly every actor in Hollywood backed Obama. Warren Buffet is a liberal. Steve Job was a liberal. Bill Gates, George Soros, I could go on.

And Soros has funded many PACs out of his spare change.

NASCAR is marginalized as white trash and blue collar and... right wing.

The wealth in this country exists in Blue States. The Red States are considered "flyover country".

Public trust may be lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690477)

I do agree that public belief that their government is in control will be lost if these kinds of actions are not dealt with promptly. Thank you

Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profiling (1, Insightful)

jbeach (852844) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690497)

This doesn't seem to be politically motivated, it just seems like common sense. If one group of people tend to hate taxes and think they're unconstitutional and evil, wouldn't it make sense to profile them as more likely to try to dodge taxes? Is it really that crazy for the IRS to look at people who claim to hate taxes, as having a higher likelihood of being tax dodgers?

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690545)

I wish I had mod points, because this is exactly it. NEWSFLASH, if you constantly drone on about how anti-tax you are, don't be surprised if the authorities scrutinize your taxes more.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

stillpixel (1575443) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690567)

Exactly what I thought when I first heard about it.

If you bitch and moan non-stop about taxes and not wanting to pay taxes, I think that would make you a demographic of interest in the eyes of the IRS.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (5, Insightful)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690595)

The idea that protesting a law makes you an automatic violator of said law doesn't stand. (e.g. Protesting weed laws doesn't make you a drug dealer.)

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (2, Insightful)

jbeach (852844) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690803)

Certainly. But if police pull over cars with "Weed is awesome!" stickers more often than "DARE to keep kids of drugs stickers", would you really be surprised?

That's the essence of profiling. I'm somewhat divided on the idea of profiling, I don't like it and I'm sure it's overly applied. But profiling isn't necessarily wilful persecution, that's all I'm saying.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (2)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690833)

I wouldn't be surprised, but I would be upset. Just as I'm upset here. Don't write it off because you dislike the victim, that's the point.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

jbeach (852844) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690871)

I definitely agree with you there. I don't like the idea of profiling at all.

It does seem to me that the converse of what you say is also true: a lot of conservatives don't mind if it's some pot-smokers or some Muslims who are profiled - then it's "If you're innocent, you've got nothing to lose." But as soon as it's people like them who are being profiled, it instantly becomes unacceptable. You know?

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690849)

Protesting weed laws doesn't make you a drug dealer

Of course not, but I bet you'd be hard pressed to find a Republican that would disagree with cops searching the group of NORML protesters marching on 4/20 to see if they're carrying any.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690863)

No one said that the IRS took concrete measures against said political groups, the like of which they use against known violators. Rather, they simply applied a higher level of scrutiny, which is rather appropriate. If I were protesting against any law, of course I shouldn't be treated automatically thereof as a violator of that law, but I sure do expect others to scrutinize me on that law a lot more.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

Kielistic (1273232) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690885)

I can almost guarantee there'd be a significantly higher percentage of users in the group than in the general public though. Probably a higher percentage of dealers too.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

seanvaandering (604658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690895)

Protesting weed laws doesn't make you a drug dealer.

No, but it makes it more likely that you could be, and considering the law of averages, i'll put real money that there are more people carrying weed in their pockets (and breaking the law) at those protests than anything else. The only reason police don't bother is it would become a PR nightmare, and generally not worth the paperwork, but make no mistake - they could round them all up in a heartbeat and be completely justified in doing so.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (2)

spmkk (528421) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690599)

If one group of people tend to hate taxes and think they're unconstitutional and evil, wouldn't it make sense to profile them as more likely to try to dodge taxes?

Only if people who belong to that group have actually been shown to be "more likely to try to dodge taxes". Do you have proof of that, or at least legitimate evidence?

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690605)

This doesn't seem to be politically motivated

Especially since the IRS is an independent enforcement agency currently headed by a Bush apointee.

...except... (2)

cirby (2599) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690609)

"'That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review,' Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association." The woman who heads up the division that handles nonprofits said this.

In other words, no, it wasn't profiling, it was just plain old political nastiness. "Absolutely incorrect" is the right phrase here.

"Profiling" would - maybe- come into play if the groups in question had a history of tax fraud. Unfortunately for the folks who did this, the TEA Party name comes partly from "Taxed Enough Already." No, they don't promote tax fraud - they just don't think we need any MORE taxes. They tend to be fairly law-and-order types, they just want some of the laws changed - or at least a moratorium on new ones that cost more money.

Re:...except... (1)

omni123 (1622083) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690715)

In other words, no, it wasn't profiling, it was just plain old political nastiness. "Absolutely incorrect" is the right phrase here.

I've always applauded this logic; quote a comment an official makes that aligns with your views, dismiss the comments they make that don't.

Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias

(emphasis mine)

Re:...except... (1)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690897)

You can agree with certain opinions and disagree with others without being contradictory. Unless you're asserting that you must either validate a person in entirety to quote them, and I surely hope you're not saying that, what's your point?

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (2)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690631)

If one group of people tend to hate taxes and think they're unconstitutional and evil, wouldn't it make sense to profile them as more likely to try to dodge taxes?

Interesting how you hear what you want to hear... or simply aren't paying attention.

I can't say I've heard all that many tea-partiers (and I've known and protested with quite a few) who are absolutely anti-tax in all forms... or uniformly claim that they are unconstitutional.

The beef has long been about the degree of taxation and how that money (along with what is printed) is spent.

Lemme guess... you also heard that there were tons of racists and tea party events with pictures of Obama with a Hitler mustache... without ever knowing that the bulk of them are Lyndon LaRouche fans.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690749)

Except it's most often liberals who think that rules should apply to everyone else.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1, Insightful)

dfenstrate (202098) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690751)

This doesn't seem to be politically motivated, it just seems like common sense. If one group of people tend to hate taxes and think they're unconstitutional and evil, wouldn't it make sense to profile them as more likely to try to dodge taxes? Is it really that crazy for the IRS to look at people who claim to hate taxes, as having a higher likelihood of being tax dodgers?

Yeah, those tax-evading tea partiers like Timothy Geitner and a good portion of the white house staff. It's about power, and exercising power to the detriment of your enemies and the benefit of your friends. The Rule of Law is not the point. It's Chicago style politics writ large. There will always be people, like you, who will rationalize and defend the behavior as a method of servicing their ideological tribesmen. In generating excuses and furthering the degrade of the rule of law, you are a retrograde, who pushes humanity towards baser tribal behavior, and away from enlightenment values. But f*ck it, they're on your team, so it's all good, right?

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

jbeach (852844) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690859)

Whoa, slow down there: profiling is not persecution. That's all I'm saying. And this seems almost certainly to be profiling.

Nearly all conservatives I know approve of paying special attention to people with Muslim backgrounds when trying to root out terrorists. That doesn't seem to be considered as persecution, that's considered profiling too.

This just happens to be a case where conservatives are probably being profiled. And I say, good for the goose then good for the gander.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690855)

I know it is a waste of time but....the Tea Party isn't so much anti-tax as saying Taxed Enough Already. That's it. I don't mind paying taxes, well.....not so much, but I just want some kind of limit on it. Every time I turn around someone wants more. I say how much is enough and they just holler MORE, MORE, MORE. And that is the problem. Fucking enough already. I pay over half my income in taxes and that is more than enough. It's time to cut someone's handouts.

Re:Not trutly bias, not punitive. More like profil (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690857)

Is it really that crazy for the IRS to look at people who claim to hate taxes, as having a higher likelihood of being tax dodgers?

That's exactly what the really big tax dodgers want them to do while they lay low and keep their mouths shut. These noisy small fries are the best way to divert attention, and might even be the reason for their existence. Yes, it is that crazy, and it's wrong.

timing of this release... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690501)

Interesting that this comes out at the same time the Benghazi scandal is going mainstream.
A case of dueling scandals...how is a low-information voter keep up with it all?

"Tea Party groups were livid on Friday." (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690503)

Is this actually news? I thought that Tea Party groups are livid seven days a week.

Re:"Tea Party groups were livid on Friday." (1)

stillpixel (1575443) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690583)

I think it's only 5 days a week now, apparently the rank and file tea baggers didn't like paying their party dues.. so they had to cut back.

Re:"Tea Party groups were livid on Friday." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690785)

They quit being livid on Saturdays. It was part of the sequestration.

What took so long? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690505)

Tea Party groups were complaining about this in February of 2012.

Re:What took so long? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690525)

This is a diversionary tactic to take attention away from Benghazi.

Random inspections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690523)

If we can do enhanced security on elderly white women getting on a plane and then let the next passenger who is a bearded 19-year old pass, then surely we can randomize tax audits. Make it lotto-balls with the last 2 digits of your SSN or TIN on them.

Re: Random inspections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690733)

Fuck you; profile bitch! I have no problem conducting random audits proportionally to the top percenters. Say, 1%ers get audited more often than 2%ers so on and so forth. Likewise; if your a Muslim and get offended by me using a pigskin book cover for a Koran, your ass needs a cavity search. Not some WW2 veteran that can't even wipe his own ass.

It just makes no sense... (1)

jd.schmidt (919212) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690529)

Why would IRS workers and the Taxed Enough Already Party not get along?

Insensitive? (4, Insightful)

Intropy (2009018) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690533)

It was insensitive? Does the IRS think that the issue is that they insulted a particular group by singling them out? That's what it would have been if you'd just called them mean names. Actually using your authority as part of the government to target them is bit worse than "insensitive."

Re:Insensitive? (-1)

andylisa (2886337) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690673)

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seems reasonable to me (0, Flamebait)

cas2000 (148703) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690549)

that a bunch of people who spend a lot of time whinging about taxes and telling each other stories about being tax protestors and evading or even avoiding tax, may actually be good targets for tax audits.

i.e. if you're doing your job of loooking for people avoiding tax, then starting with people who are ideologically inclined to avoid tax would be sensible and, likely, productive.

Terrorists deserve investigation (0, Troll)

DeathGrippe (2906227) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690573)

It is an unfortunate fact that several of the successful, and worst, terrorist attacks in this country (USA) have been carried out by right wing extremist groups or "lone nutcases" closely associated with Tea Party causes.

During the Obama administration right wing hate radio, and television, have blatantly espoused the overthrow of the government, advocated the failure of both foreign and domestic policies, and have made thinly veiled threats to assassinate prominent "liberal" political figures, including the president.

Given these right wing and Tea Party agenda, it makes perfect sense that the IRS, which was mandated to target terrorist affiliated organizations, would target Tea Party groups, and it is mind boggling that they would apologize for doing so.

Re:Terrorists deserve investigation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690787)

OK and when Left Wing extremists carry out terrorist attacks the left welcomes them and appoints them to positions in the university system and has them speak on behalf of their candidates. I am talking about Bill Ayers et al. Sheesh, talk about double standards.

on a serious note (5, Interesting)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690617)

I have a question...

Maybe more than one..

Under Bush, lotta crying, moaning, and bleeting from the people. Seems now the same people who did this are or have been involved in;

Cold blodded murder of enemy combatants (Bin Laden could have been taken. He was simply assasinated..) - remember the pictures of a soldier doing this under Bush? all hell let loose. Wot, now its ok cos the pres says so?

Illegal bombardment of other nations land, and illegal operations and flights over other nations airspaces. Drone use today is at an all time high..
Gitmo still seems to be open..
Still in Afganistan, and ever more so in Afpak.

Seems to me that the President and friends is getting a very big free pass on a lot of activities.
And some stuff is new, like drones over the US and further assassinations of unwanted or disliked individuals.

Whatever the background, the IRS should be politically independant and not a tool to be aimed at opponents.
I'm not American. But I have to say that in recent years it seems a lot of mud gets thrown. The republicans and tea party folks are accused of living in their own bubble. And I think thats true. But have to say, the other side is in its own bubble, and its not getting better. In fact, its getting really quite bad.

The President is murdering civilians. And he's issuing orders to kill people. And he seems to have no check or balance. Seems dem press are giving free rides. Doing so isn't proving loyaltly to their beliefs or so called values.

When 3000 Pakistani's die from drone strikes, will it turn to a Pearl Harbour for Pakistan?
More than anything else, put aside the politics, these policies and ideas are not more effective than Bush, or better than Bush. The current work isn't effective in even the medium term. Short term, maybe the US gets some people. But whole villages are being turned. Its winning hearts and minds, but not for the US. This is not going well. It may seem like it is on the surface, but thats all.

Re:on a serious note (1)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690671)

Gitmo is a bad example to throw in, as the President signed a EO to close it - but got snared in red tape on the "how-to" part. Aside from that I generally agree.

Re:on a serious note (1)

jd.schmidt (919212) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690713)

You are out of your mind if you think Bin Laden could have been taken alive. If you think we should have not run the mission, that is one thing. But it could not have been run any other way. And for the record I would have prefered for Bin Laden to stand trial.

The President did try to close Gitmo, I think we have to give him a lease a B for effort.

But the cross boarder attacks are an issue. just not a simple issue.

It's NOT suppressing Free Speech (5, Insightful)

trims (10010) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690687)

First off, I do think it was politically motivated, at least in the extent that someone decided to do something that would be looked favorably on the higher-ups. That's not OK, and people should get fired for it.

However, do note that what they are discussing here is auditing 503(c).4 organizations, to make sure they were complying with the regulations.

That is, these organizations are supposed to be engaging in NON-POLITICAL activities, for which we give them the benefit of being non-profit (and, making donations to them tax deductible).

There's been an explosion of 503(c).4 organizations over the past 4 years (after the Citizen's United decision), and a large number of them have been funded from "right-wing" sources. These organizations have been very lax about filing the proper paperwork about their donors, and in fact, have been downright secretive. And many of them are engaging in activities that very much skirt the line (if not cross it entirely) of political advocacy. The quantity of money (and number of organizations) engaged in this kind of shadowy advocacy/political support is very seriously tilted towards right-wing sources.

The fact is this: if you want to engage in political activity, then fine. Government can and should not have any say about your content. But if you want to get tax-free benefits, then there's a certain set of rules that you MUST play by, and claiming that this is suppressing Free Speech because we won't give you the benefit while you violate the rules is sophistry.

All 503(c).4 organizations need more scrutiny. I'm pretty sure that the IRS was engaging in the equivalent of racial profiling here, with the added notion of pleasing some political higher-ups. But at the end of the day, if those 503(c).4 organizations were breaking the law, then it's hard to say the IRS wasn't doing it's job by auditing them.

shoot Obama! I heard it on the radio! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690757)

I'll have some belief that tea baggers are being targeted when I read about the vocal nutjobs that drive their party policies being imprisoned for e.g. calling for our President to be murdered on their radio shows (I've heard that, and I've not heard of any tea bagger being imprisoned, waterboarded, or "Patriotized" as a result of their fanaticism.

All Americans should be bothered by this (2)

srichard25 (221590) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690821)

If you are an American and this doesn't bother you, then I hope some group of yours gets targeted by the IRS next.

"First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me."

The "low level" people who did this should be fired immediately to send a clear message that it is not ok for government agencies to specifically target and use their power against groups that they disagree with.

Regardless of your political background (4, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690847)

This should seriously worry you. Remember that anything used against one side can be used against the other.

Want liberal groups harassed by the IRS? Or should we do something about protecting political speech and preventing federal agencies from being used partisan chess pieces.

How can we trust the FBI or the CIA if we assume they're loyal to a political party and not the American people and the law?

This is non-functional.

Where's Carmen Ortiz when you need her? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690887)

This is the kind of thing a federal prosecutor ought to be sinking their teeth in to.

I guess there's more terrorists to get AFTER they blow something up.

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