No excuse for IRS targeting patriotic groups
Published: Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Chilling revelations were made last week that the Internal Revenue Service applied extra scrutiny to groups critical of government spending and the rising national debt that were applying for tax-exempt status. Included in this group were patriotic tea party organizations that were seeking a return to more responsible Constitutional government in the country.
Full disclosure of an inspector general’s report is to be made public this week, but news organizations have already received bits and pieces of the damning revelations. CNN reports that the IRS also applied extra scrutiny to applicants with statements that “criticize how the country is run” or that sought to educate the public on how to “make America a better place to live.” These designations would have included conservative political groups seeking to apply for 501(c)(4) status.
These revelations, reports CNN, have caused widespread anger among Republican lawmakers and activists who have portrayed the federal government as unfairly targeting political rivals. All Americans, Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, should be appalled that the IRS should target certain groups or individuals who are critical of the federal government or any of its elected officials.
Our country was founded on certain freedoms that we all hold dear. Among them, and at the top of the list, is our right to freedom of speech. In fact, our forefathers thought this freedom was so important that they made it part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which is part of the Bill of Rights. Congress shall make no law abridging this right or of freedom of the press or the right to lawfully assemble.
An IRS official last Friday admitted the agency made “mistakes” in the last few years handling tax-exempt status applications, specifically those submitted by groups with the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their names. Various conservative groups said their applications were delayed and returned with lengthy requests for supporting materials, sometimes including website printouts and lists of guest speakers. It was further revealed that IRS officials knew of their agents’ tea party targeting as early as 2011.
“I don’t care if you’re a conservative, a liberal, a Democrat or a Republican, this should send a chill up your spine,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Rogers has called for a full investigation of the IRS’ practices, something both political party leaders have said is necessary after learning of the conservative targeting.
It may be conservative organizations being targeted now by IRS agents, but it may very well be you or your organization that is next. This sort of outrageous behavior by the IRS has no place in our government or in our country. It must be nipped in the bud and those responsible should be held accountable. They should be fired and/or face criminal charges for invading the privacy of American citizens.
And, these are the same IRS agents who have been tasked to enforce Obamacare? Lord, help us all!
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