It wasn’t just Tea Party types whom the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) singled out for extra tax scrutiny over the past two years. The politically driven effort to stymie the goals of suspected conservatives extended to nonprofits and social-welfare groups that advocate for changes in government spending and educating the public on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
On Friday, the IRS apologized for going after more than 70 groups that had “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their names — groups that, starting ahead of the 2012 election season, had become deluged with extra paperwork demands after applying to the agency for tax-exempt status.
In all, though, there were about 300 groups that faced similar stonewalling. All of them had applications that were “flagged” by the IRS for extra documentation and investigation as they sought nonprofit tax exemption. And they all had a lot in common: They all betrayed some dissatisfaction with the U.S. government or the desire to educate the public about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which functions independently within the treasury Department to audit IRS practices, is investigating the origin of the agency’s discrimination, including how it was authorized, by whom and when it all started.
FOX News reported Monday the Inspector General’s office has a rudimentary timeline of events that political opponents of both President Barack Obama and moderate RINOs were already being harassed in early 2010. But:
[I]t shows that the list of criteria [was] drastically expanding by the time a June 2011 briefing was held. It then included groups focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to “make America a better place to live.” It even flagged groups whose file included criticism of “how the country is being run.”
By early 2012, the criteria were updated to include organizations involved in “limiting/expanding government,” education on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and social economic reform.
Under Obama, the IRS is looking more like a policy deployment and enforcement arm of for the executive branch than a dispassionate and aloof tax-collection agency.
For elected chief executives who aspire to dictatorship, it makes sense. That’s because, if a President wants to enact his extraConstitutional whims with an absolute minimum of resistance, there’s no other government agency that possesses such a unique combination of fear-inspiring absolutism and ubiquity. Everyone (in theory) pays taxes, and almost everyone is too afraid of criminal and financial repercussions to view the IRS as that part of government that can be reasoned with. Perfect.
Take the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) as one example.
“Obamacare relies very heavily on the IRS,” said former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich Monday. “Why would you trust the bureaucracy with your health if you can’t trust the bureaucracy with your politics? … There are bureaucrats in the IRS who are capable of ruining your life while lying about it.”
In 2014, when Obamacare is the law of the land, taxpayers will have to complete an additional IRS form that will require their personal identifying health information, including information about their health insurance provider and how long they’ve been covered.