Here's the story: A bunch of right wing think tanks were campaigning for Republican politicians and calling themselves charities. They weren't even trying to hide it. The IRS went after them because hey, low hanging fruit. That didn't change a damn thing about how illegal their actions were. There's a reason it's illegal to pretend to be a charity. A good one. And you're being disingenuous (read: lying through your teeth) when you suggest otherwise.
May 18, 2009 12:01 a.m. ET
Barack Obama owes his presidency in no small part to the power of rhetoric. It's too bad he doesn't appreciate the damage that loose talk can do to America's tax system, even as exploding federal deficits make revenues more important than ever.
At his Arizona State University commencement speech last Wednesday, Mr. Obama noted that ASU had refused to grant him an honorary degree, citing his lack of experience, and the controversy this had caused. He then demonstrated ASU's point by remarking, "I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS."
Just a joke about the power of the presidency. Made by Jay Leno it might have been funny. But as told by Mr. Obama, the actual president of the United States, it's hard to see the humor. Surely he's aware that other presidents, most notably Richard Nixon, have abused the power of the Internal Revenue Service to harass their political opponents. But that abuse generated a powerful backlash and with good reason. Should the IRS come to be seen as just a bunch of enforcers for whoever is in political power, the result would be an enormous loss of legitimacy for the tax system.
Fast forward to 2012 when Lois Lerner and her minions sought out politically disfavored groups for targeting. And of course lots of potential evidence magically disappeared right after Congressional subpoena.
You also characterize the targeted groups incorrectly, perhaps in an attempt to paint them as somehow more worthy of your contempt.
The groups in question were not presenting themselves as "charities". Under point of law, they presented themselves as 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations. Such organizations are not charities, and donations to them are not deductible. Organizations like Greenpeace and Obama's own Organizing for Action (to promote President Obama's legislative priorities) are 501(c)(4) organizations. Such organizations cannot donate to campaigns, but are free to pursue issue-based initiatives, which may align with or be opposed to positions taken by one or more politicians or candidates and thus by indirect extension "support" or "oppose" candidates.
As previously stated, and much like the Clinton email server scandal, the Obama Justice Department investigated the Obama IRS and chose to file no charges.
The lack of transparency, destruction of evidence, and self-serving denial goes a long way in Obama's administration.
I hate to think what putting the IRS and Justice Department in either Hillary's or Donald's hands would look like. Make Obama look like a piker.