We still don’t know exactly what went on with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the targeting of conservatives and conservative groups. I can tell you that after making a small donation to the Tea Party a few years ago, my husband and I were audited for the first time in 45 years (nothing in our taxes had changed). Well, evidently the targeting of conservatives was aided and abetted by some members of Congress.
The article reports:
“The IRS is aware of the current public interest in this issue,” IRS chief counsel William J. Wilkins, a White House visitor described by insiders as “The President’s Man at the IRS,” personally wrote in a hand-stamped memo to “Senator Shaheen” on official Department of the Treasury letterhead on April 25, 2012.
The memo, obtained by TheDC, briefed the Democratic senator about a coordinated IRS-Treasury Department plot to target political activity by nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups. The plot was operating out of Lois Lerner’s Tax Exempt Government Entities Division.
The Democratic senators’ publicly available March 9, 2012 letter asked the IRS to “immediately change the administrative framework for enforcement of the tax code as it applies to groups designated as ‘social welfare’ organizations” by introducing a new “bright line test” for how much a tax-exempt group can invest in political activity and by setting a new rule that at least 51 percent of a group’s activity must non-political. The senators called for more elaborate disclosures about finances and “undertakings” in groups’ form 990 submissions and sought new rules about how much donors could write off as business expenses.
The problem here is that the new rules would be specifically aimed at conservative groups. There was no effort made to be even-handed about putting restrictions on liberal PAC’s, unions, or other groups on the left side of the aisle.
Unfortunately many Democrats do not endorse the concept of free speech when it does not conform to their ideas. The Democrat party has also shown that it is not above using the full weight of the government to stifle conservative speech. Using the government as a political weapon is not an idea that belongs in a representative republic.