On Friday the IRS admitted to targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt status. The agency claimed the practice was initiated by low-level workers and did not result from political bias.
Then over the weekend, it was revealed that the IRS targeted “groups focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to ‘make America a better place to live.’”
Heritage Foundation expert Hans von Spakovsky says that any explanation other than political bias would be hard to believe, because “the only relevant or substantive thing these organizations have in common is that they are all conservative politically.”
In fact, it’s fully permissible for organizations to advance conservative principles, he explains in a separate post:
Whether or not you agree with the Administration’s policies or whether you criticize the expansion of government or its excessive debt are not a consideration under the Revenue Code to qualify for tax-exempt status. Apparently, the IRS finally realized that, because according to The Washington Post, it changed its tactics in May 2012 to focus on “organizations with indicators of significant amounts of political campaign intervention.” Despite that change, dozens of conservative organizations are still waiting to receive their tax exemptions.
So why did the practice go on for so long without interference from the higher-ups? There should be a thorough investigation, von Spakovsky argues:
It’s unclear who in the IRS or elsewhere supported or condoned the wrongful conduct at issue, but it is important for the rule of law and the interests of justice that Congress aggressively pursue its oversight function to get to the bottom of this scandal and, most importantly, who instigated and authorized it.
Do you think targeting conservative groups was political?