Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, June 27, 2013 9:32 pm

Guess why the IRS only targeted Tea Party groups

Because Darrell Issa told it to, that’s why:

The Treasury inspector general (IG) whose report helped drive the IRS targeting controversy says it limited its examination to conservative groups because of a request from House Republicans.

A spokesman for Russell George, Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, said they were asked by House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) “to narrowly focus on Tea Party organizations.”The inspector general’s audit found that groups seeking tax-exempt status with “Tea Party” and “patriots” in their name did receive extra attention from the IRS, with some facing years of delay and inappropriate questions from the agency.

But top congressional Democrats have wielded new information from the IRS this week that liberal groups were also flagged for extra attention on the sorts of “be on the lookout” lists (BOLOs) that also tripped up conservative groups.

The spokesman for the Treasury inspector general noted their audit acknowledged there were other watch lists. But the spokesman added: “We did not review the use, disposition, purpose or content of the other BOLOs. That was outside the scope of our audit.”

The admission from the inspector general comes as Democrats have sharpened their criticism of George, with Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) dubbing the audit fundamentally flawed on Monday.

Levin, the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, stressed to The Hill on Tuesday that the inspector general did not say the audit was limited to Tea Party groups when it was released in mid-May.

The Michigan Democrat also maintained that the audit’s shortcoming had emboldened Republicans to try to link the targeting of Tea Party groups to the White House.

“You need to get at the facts. And those facts weren’t given to us, even when asked,” Levin said. “The Republicans used the failure of the IG to spell out what they knew as an opportunity to totally politicize this.”

No. You can’t be serious. Darrell Issa politicize something? Issa withhold material information so as to propagate a falsehood widely? Never in a million years.

You know, I’ve been saying that to the best of my knowledge, which I’ll admit isn’t comprehensive, what went on at the IRS went on because of the disproportionately larger number of GOP-leaning tax-exempt groups created since Citizens United. Other people insisted, however, that the disproportionate focus on Tea Party groups meant this wasn’t accidental, that it was part of a conspiracy. Well, they were right and I was wrong. But I’m pretty sure a conspiracy originating with Darrell Issa wasn’t what they meant.

Now why, you ask, would as high a ranking GOP member as Issa do such a thing? I’ll tell you why. The Tea Party is basically indistinguishable from the wingnut GOP base. And while the GOP leadership is perfectly happy to use those rank-and-file people during elections, the only agenda item they really care about is hoovering more money upward to the rich. That’s all. Nothing else. The Tea Party people have a somewhat more complicated agenda, and for them to gain too much power in the party would mean interference with, or at least distraction from, the top agenda item.

So, if you’re a Tea Party member, remember this: Barack Obama didn’t sic the IRS on you. Darrell Issa did. And he did it because he wants your money, end of story. You vote however you want, but you need to be sure to take that fact into the voting booth with you when you do.


  1. Not quite what this says – the inspector general only looked at the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS and ignored the targeting of progressive groups (which also occurred) because Issa directed them to only look one way. Not quite the same as the original problem, which was the IRS using some fairly broad-brush terms to pull out applications for closer scrutiny. Either way, Issa’s a tool. Frankly, if you’re looking for groups that might be spending more time on political activities than the tax exemption law allows, having “Tea Party” in your vision statement is a good indication that you fucking well ought to be scrutinized.

    Comment by Tony Plutonium — Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:12 pm @ 10:12 pm

  2. That is about as “yeller dog ” as I have ever seen

    Read the letter Bucko

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Friday, June 28, 2013 2:25 am @ 2:25 am

  3. Fred, I read the letter, and it doesn’t contradict the IG’s report because the IG said Issa told it to look only at conservative groups. Had the IG been directed to look at how all groups were treated, I suspect the numbers would’ve been a little different and we’d find that more liberal groups had been targeted. I suspect eventually we’ll find that anyway, but even if we don’t, Tony’s larger point is correct.

    Tony, as for the larger issue, after the Citizens United ruling, a whole boatload of new 501c4 groups were created, the vast majority by conservatives. That created a larger work load for the IRS’s exempt organizations office in Cincinnati overall. In addition, many of those conservatives creating the groups were unfamiliar with the process, while a lot of liberals had some experience creating exempt organizations and knew how to do it right the first time.

    Citizens United does not mean we HAVE to allow politicians to use exempt organizations to launder political contributions. So how do we fix it? By requiring the publication of every donor and the amount that donor gave. That strikes a fair balance between free speech and protecting against bought government. An even more drastic step would be to bar all political expenditures by exempt organizations (except PACs), but I foresee a number of constitutional problems with that approach.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, June 28, 2013 5:57 am @ 5:57 am

  4. Thank you Jay Carney aka Lex

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Saturday, June 29, 2013 12:47 am @ 12:47 am

  5. So much for the Obama statement that “All 501C applications were treated the same way”… bullcrap.

    And note that today, a 3rd senior manager at the IRS has now taken the 5th and refused to testify before Congress. No politically-motivated harassment or intimidation, my rosy red behind!

    Of course, the lamestream media is to busy playing “Look at that, a squirrel!” using poor Paula Deen as the bait – still providing cover for Obama, even as he attacks and spies on them.

    Someone once asked me how we would know that tyranny had arrived…well, folks, look around you. Here it is.

    Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 12:44 PM

    By Lisa Barron

    Russell George, the Treasury Department official who detailed the IRS targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, says liberal groups faced far less scrutiny from the agency.

    George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, told Democratic Rep. Sandy Levin of Michigan in a letter that just six progressive groups were targeted compared to 292 conservative groups, reports the Washington Examiner.

    In Wednesday’s letter to Levin, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, George also said that 100 percent of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status were scrutinized, compared to 30 percent of progressive groups.

    Levin and other Democrats claimed this week that progressive groups were targeted just as much as conservatives, and pointed to new information showing that the terms “progress” and “progressive” were also on the so-called “Be on the Lookout,” or BOLO lists.

    “Based on the information you flagged . . . TIGTA performed additional research which determined that six tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 having the words ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’ in their names were included in the 298 cases the IRS identified as potential political cases,” wrote George.

    “We also determined that 14 tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 using the words ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’ in their names were not referred for added scrutiny as potential political cases.”

    Democrats have charged that George’s initial audit allowed Republicans to over-politicize the IRS handling of applications for special tax status.

    “In total, 30 percent of the organizations we identified with the words ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’ in their names were processed as potential political cases,” George wrote, adding, “In comparison, our audit found that 100 percent of the tax-exempt applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were processed as potential political cases during the timeframe of our audit.”

    “At this point, the evidence shows us that conservative groups were not only flagged, but targeted and abused by the IRS,” said Sarah Swinehart, a spokeswoman for Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican.

    “As we gather the facts, we will follow them wherever they lead us. Chairman Camp encourages all groups, regardless of political affiliation, that feel they may have been targeted to come forward and share their story,” she said.

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Sunday, June 30, 2013 4:59 pm @ 4:59 pm

    • Notice that this version conveniently leaves out the fact that they did things this way BECAUSE DARRELL ISSA TOLD THEM TO. C’mon, Fred, keep up.

      Comment by Lex — Sunday, June 30, 2013 5:28 pm @ 5:28 pm

  6. Amazing what you will tolerate when the comi– er progrssives are doing it.

    You stick with the nit picking . I’ll stay with the facts

    Oh, and have you abandoned Tammy ” The Bully ” Duckworth.

    Be careful !

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Monday, July 1, 2013 1:31 am @ 1:31 am

    • If Tammy Duckworth is a bully, I’m Dwayne “The Rock” Johnston.

      Comment by Lex — Monday, July 1, 2013 9:09 am @ 9:09 am

  7. Omitted link

    The Facts

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Monday, July 1, 2013 1:33 am @ 1:33 am

  8. I was way off topic and using the blog to personally communicate But since you responded this is whatt I had reference to

    Tammy Duckworth: Political Hack, Professional Victim, Schoolyard Bully

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Tuesday, July 2, 2013 1:46 pm @ 1:46 pm

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