The IRS was intended to be a revenue-collecting arm of the government, not a political weapon. AP View Enlarged Image
Corruption: A new batch of IRS documents shows an agency that’s more political than practical. Besides harassing groups applying for nonprofit status, it went after donors of existing groups.
Documents produced by the IRS confirm that being on the wrong side of this administration is a dangerous place to be.
Judicial Watch, which used the Freedom of Information Act to pry the documents from the government’s grasp, said Wednesday they “confirm that the IRS used donor lists to tax-exempt organizations to target those donors for audits.”
Among these groups was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That organization “may find itself under high scrutiny,” an IRS official whose name was redacted told IRS attorney Lorraine Gardner in an email.
“One can only hope,” that unnamed official added.
Another group whose donors were objects of extra IRS attention was Crossroads GPS, a group founded by Karl Rove, a member of President George W. Bush’s staff.
It appears that the IRS’ pretext for the audits was the gift tax that was once levied on donations to nonprofits. It has not been enforced since 1982, Judicial Watch pointed out, because the Supreme Court ruled it violated the First Amendment.
Naturally, the records show that former IRS official Lois Lerner supported the gift tax audits.
The documents clearly indicate that the IRS’ focus was political. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says that “snarky comments” found in the documents “about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the obsession with conservative Crossroads GPS show that the IRS was targeting critics of the Obama administration.”
Fitton says that “President Obama may want to continue to lie about his IRS scandal” — he denied the issue existed as recently as this week — but Fitton has sifted through the documents and believes they “tell the truth.”
Fitton adds: “His IRS hated conservatives and was willing to illegally tax and audit citizens to shut down opposition to Barack Obama’s policies and re-election.”
It would be comforting to think that because the IRS has been exposed, groups that oppose the administration are now safe from harassment.
But that’s not the case. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report saying political targeting of nonprofits is still “possible in the audit process.”
The watchdog notes: “Unfortunately, the IRS has not taken sufficient steps to prevent targeting Americans based on their personal beliefs.”
Political beliefs aren’t alone under the glare. The GAO says targeting can be based on an organization’s religious or educational position as well as “other views.”
The IRS was intended to be a revenue-collecting arm of the government, not a weapon politicians can use to crush their opponents. But that’s what it’s become and it’s far beyond reform. It needs to be at the front of a long line of federal agencies that are abolished.
Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/072315-763149-obama-irs-scandal-keeps-growing-obama-opponents-donors-targeted.htm#ixzz3gr4PkXtF
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