Out: There were so many new applications for tax exemption, the IRS had to choose keywords to sort out the riff-raff.
In: The IRS peons were incompetent, but management put a stop to that as soon as they found out. So you see, there was no conspiracy. Also, nope, no evidence it was political. Nothing to see here, move along.
Here’s Ezra Klein, the founder of JournoList, explaining the new talking points.
“Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review.”
That’s the title of the Inspector General’s report on the IRS’s treatment of tea-party related groups. It’s not a very good title. A better one might be “How a group of I.R.S. employees created a politically biased test for 501(c)(4) applicants, got smacked down, quietly created another politically biased test, and then got smacked down even harder — but in the process, created a lot of delays and trouble for the groups caught in their net.”
There’s a pie chart, too, trying to minimize the effects of a government agency using a political test to see whether or not you got tax-exempt status. But hey, if you were a liberal group? No problem. Approved.
As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups. They included:
Bus for Progress, a New Jersey non-profit that uses a red, white and blue bus to “drive the progressive change.” According to its website, its mission includes “support (for) progressive politicians with the courage to serve the people’s interests and make tough choices.” It got an IRS approval as a social welfare group in April 2011.
Kevin Drum is trying out the “Regulations are too complicated to follow, no wonder they messed up” talking point.
Did you get get that? IRS regs say that 501(c)4 groups can’t primarily be engaged in political activity. Instead, their “primary activity” has to be social welfare. To call this vague would be a disservice to mirages and chimeras everywhere. How the hell are actual human beings sitting in cubicles in Cincinnati supposed to decide whether a group is planning to spend more than 50 percent of its time engaged in something other than social welfare? For that matter, how are they supposed to decide what “social welfare” is in the first place?
Apparently, liberal groups asking for tax-exempt status could figure out what that meant.
Like the Tea Party groups, the liberal groups sought recognition as social welfare groups under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, based on activities like “citizen participation” or “voter education and registration.”
But don’t worry, the spin is in. Politico has determined that its much ado about nothing. Take note of the incredibly good bias skills of these reporters:
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report leaked on Tuesday evening doesn’t nail anyone for lying to Congress. It didn’t out rogue liberal IRS agents with an ax to grind against nonprofit tea party groups.
The report wouldn’t “nail anyone for lying to Congress”, because that wasn’t the investigation’s intent.
TIGTA initiated this audit based on concerns expressed by members of Congress. The overall objective of this audit was to determine whether allegations were founced that the IRS: 1) targeted specific groups applying for tax-exempt status, 2) delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications, and 3) requested unnecessary information from targeted groups.
The spin on the IRS scandal from the liberal media is ever-changing, but the purpose is always to minimize what happened. First, it was just one office in Cleveland. Then it was blamed on the huge increase in applications. Now the explanation is that it wasn’t political, just a few overzealous IRS agents trying to make their jobs easier. It’s almost like they don’t want Americans to notice that a powerful government agency harassed American citizens on the basis of their political beliefs.
That this government agency is about to take charge of one-sixth of the American economy when Obamacare kicks in? No problem. Maybe they’ll just make conservatives wait longer for healthcare services, and then the media can tell us how we’re imagining things. The IRS would never target conservative groups for discrimination.