The IRS targeted groups for their political ideology when deciding whether or not to give them tax-exempt status. The New York Times barely covered the story when it broke, downplaying it as an apology for a few lower-down echelons in an isolated case. Now that the case has broken wide open to reveal that IRS employees actively targeted both Tea Party groups and groups that said they wanted to make America a better place, the Times puts a spin on it’s page one headline that reflects its liberal bias:
I.R.S. Focus on Conservatives Gives G.O.P. an Issue to Seize On
The Internal Revenue Service’s special scrutiny of small-government groups applying for tax-exempt status went beyond keyword hunts for organizations with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names, to a more overtly ideological search for applicants seeking to “make America a better place to live” or “criticize how the country is being run,” according to part of a draft audit by the inspector general that has been given to Capitol Hill.
The head of the division on tax-exempt organizations, Lois Lerner, was briefed on the effort in June 2011, seemingly contradicting her assertion on Friday that she learned of the effort from news reports. But the audit shows that she seemed to work hard to rein in the focus on conservatives and change it to a look at any political advocacy group of any stripe.
Note the bold in the second paragraph. The Times deliberately downplays a contradiction by the head of the division about how she learned of the abuse.
The lead plays down the issue, the headline is outright editorializing, and the angle of the article is all about how conservatives can use this against the Obama administration. Shouldn’t the angle be that a government organization (that will soon be in charge of administering Obamacare) targeted groups for their First Amendment-protected right to freedom of expression? Shouldn’t the angle be that a U.S. government organization has no right to target Americans for their political viewpoints? This is not Venezuela. This is America. The Times is supposed to be a champion of free speech. I guess the speech only matters when it’s not coming from conservative groups. And then there’s this:
House Republicans have vowed to begin their own hearings and investigations. And Republicans fanned out on the political talk shows on Sunday to express outrage that is only likely to grow. Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and a prominent moderate, said on CNN that the singling out of conservative groups was “absolutely chilling.”
Anyone who follows politics knows that the guests on the Sunday talk shows are chosen by the shows. The Republicans didn’t “fan out” onto the shows. They were invited by the producers because it’s rather an important topic–the U.S. Constitution being subverted by government employees who singled out certain kinds of political groups to give excessive and onerous explanations as to why they wanted tax-exempt status. The IRS never did any such thing to liberal groups like Media Matters for America, which is so overtly Democrat and liberal it should have its 501(c) status revoked.
And this article is actually better than the one the Times published when the story broke. That one concentrated on how the IRS apologized to the Tea Party but it was no big deal, just a few loose cannons in one office.
The Internal Revenue Service apologized to Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations on Friday for what it now says were overzealous audits of their applications for tax-exempt status.
Lois Lerner, the director of the I.R.S. division that oversees tax-exempt groups, acknowledged that the agency had singled out nonprofit applicants with the terms “Tea Party” or “patriots” in their titles in an effort to respond to a surge in applications for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012.
She insisted that the move was not driven by politics, but she added, “We made some mistakes; some people didn’t use good judgment.”
The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that on June 29, 2011, IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.” Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the agency, raised objections and the agency revised its criteria a week later.
But six months later, the IRS applied a new political test to groups that applied for tax-exempt status as “social welfare” groups, the document says. On Jan. 15, 2012 the agency decided to target “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement.,” according to the appendix in the IG report, which was requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has yet to be released/
Where is the outrage from the left? Where is the outrage from the president? Where is the outrage from the liberal media? And more importantly–where is the outrage from the Democrats in Congress at this utter abuse of power by IRS agents? This goes against everything the Constitution stands for, and yet, people are still pretending it’s just a Tea Party thing.
They targeted pro-Israel groups, too.
The Z Street group has been suing the Internal Revenue Service since 2010, when it says a federal agent told the group’s lawyer that the IRS was “carefully scrutinizing organizations that are in any way connected with Israel.”
This administration’s Chicago politics are out of control. It’s past time something was done about them.