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Comments about ‘IRS pushes to rein in tax-exempt political groups’

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Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27 2013 2:18 p.m. MST

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gittalopctbi
Glendale, AZ

Oh, no it isn't. It's to squelch any organization that Mr. Obama and his thugs don't agree with. The fact that a pro-Obama group is mentioned is just a diversion. I'm sure that there is some sort of collusion going on there, some closed-door deal. You trust the IRS these days? If you do, you are a fool.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Does anyone really believe that Obama's politicized and hyper partisan IRS "muscle" will enforce these new provisions fairly and equally to groups on both right and left?

Whatever happened to the thugs who forced Tea Party groups into hibernation until after the 2012 elections by harassing them and refusing to approve their applications? Basically nothing. Results- another election stolen.

Vanceone
Provo, UT

With this administration, it's clearly an attempt to suppress dissent (i.e. disagreement). Sure, this is trumpeted as being aimed at all groups, but it's practically a certainty that liberal groups will be found to be exempt somehow, or "not conducting political activity" or the like, and be given a pass, while any group that they think might be conservative will be found to be so, regardless of the facts.

But leftists like dictatorships and government controls on speech, so I'm pretty sure the leftists on this forum won't see any problem with using the government to punish people you disagree with.

mcdugall
Murray, UT

@Vanceone & @DN Subscriber, Do you really believe the these groups should be considered charity organizations? Who is it that these Uber Wealthy organizations are helping? They can pay taxes like everyone else, no special expectations.

Mark B
Eureka, CA

Spend all the money you want, whenever you want, rant as loudly as you want and make it as one-sided as you want. Just don't demand that it should all be ANONYMOUS, too. Stand up, throw out a scolding finger and scream "Koch Brothers Industries are people, too, my friend! I'm working for them!"

dave
Park City, UT

The IRS is doing it's job catching organizations that are illegally claiming to qualify as tax exempt. These organizations have blatantly and illegally involved themselves in the political process.

Tossing in the free speech red herring shows desperation. Nobody is quashing free speech. These organizations are free to back any candidate they choose as long as it is not on the backs of taxpayers.

This is not punitive but about partisan political groups illegally gaming the system. I can easily name as many left leaning groups as right wing groups that have illegally used tax exemption. It's shameful.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

"Whatever happened to the thugs who forced Tea Party groups into hibernation until after the 2012 elections by harassing them and refusing to approve their applications? "

Oh please. Is that the spin they're selling on FOX these days? Ludicrous.

But here's the bottom line - I don't care which way your fundraising organization is tilted. Left, right, it makes no difference. If you're soliciting funds for the purposes of influencing elections then your donors shouldn't be anonymous and you're definitely _not_ a tax-deductible "charity."

Sunlight is the best antiseptic. Time to bring these "charity" groups into the bright light of public accountability.

Vanceone
Provo, UT

Look, there may be merit to removing the tax exemption, whatever. But regardless of the merits of the argument, the facts are that the IRS and this Administration have a documented history of punishing one side of the political spectrum.

If this was actually applied evenly, and none of these groups were allowed to claim this tax exempt status, that would be one thing.

But we all know that this is not so: this is only going to be applied against groups that this Administration doesn't like, thus favoring one side of the political equation. Why should liberals get to skate and be tax free while conservative groups don't?

You people arguing that the IRS should do this: Because they have a history of targeting the president's opponents, there is no way that this should be allowed unless all liberal groups are taken out first. Only when they can prove that this is not going to be abused should anyone even think that this is a good idea. Do you trust Obama and the IRS to do this evenhandedly? If not( and who believes they will? ), then you should be against this too.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

"the facts are that the IRS and this Administration have a documented history of punishing one side of the political spectrum."

Documented where? In your imagination? On FOX? (But that's being redundant.)

There is zero objective evidence that there was any directive from the White House to selectively target opposition groups. Zero.

What there _is_ evidence of is that in one IRS office, some agents gave extra scrutiny to groups claiming tax-exempt status that were in reality behaving like political fundraising organizations.

At first it looked like Tea Party groups were targeted, but as the investigation broadened it turned out that both right-leaning _and_ left-leaning groups claiming tax-exempt status for what were obviously political activities were under heightened scrutiny, exactly as they should be.

There has never been any credible evidence that these investigations were undertaken at the direction of the White House.

Vanceone
Provo, UT

I expected this, Blue. Liberals have attempted to shove the facts under the rug on all of Obama's scandals. He knows nutting! He only finds out by reading the paper that his government is always doing stuff illegally and unethically that benefits the democrats!

Point 1) the IRS commissioner lived at the white house over several years. What was he doing? They won't tell us. 2) That single office is, in fact, the only office that deals with these applications, so it was the IRS as a whole. 3) those workers testified that the federal office in DC was mandating these reviews, out of the ordinary. 4) The White House general counsel and several other white house employees knew all along this was happening, and did nothing to stop it (at best). 5) Any left leaning group was rubber stamped immediately, while right leaning groups were sent questionnaires seeking to know such things as the content of prayers, as well as giving out their tax returns to leftist political groups 6) No one has been punished for any of this, which is standard procedure in the Obama administration--if you get caught, you get a vacation on the taxpayer dime.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

Obama was powered to the Presidency by using hyper partisan tax exempt political groups like ACORN. Like most despots, Obama is now attempting to destroy the very engines that he used to gain power.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

Vanceone,

None of what you're claiming is borne out by the official IRS Inspector General's report released last July. Google it. That Inspector General's report, and subsequent investigations, have thoroughly debunked your claims.

What you're calling a conspiracy is nothing more than the result of the entirely predictable confusion that arose within the IRS's tax-exemption division from the explosive growth of "public charity" organizations fundraising for political purposes while seeking tax-exempt status in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision.

But most importantly, answer this question: Should _any_ group, regardless of their political goals, whose primary function is raising money with the intention of influencing elections be given tax-exempt status and their donors kept anonymous?

I believe the answer to that question should be a resounding "no." Do you disagree?

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

There is a reason they are called "SECRET Combinations".

Witness the modern day Gadianton's we've been so warned about.

m.g. scott
clearfield, UT

I still think the best way to handle political speech is to allow one person, 10 people, or thousands, to combine forces and fund all they want for any political person or position. That to me rings of what the Constitution had in mind with the 1st Amendment. The only thing I would like is full disclosure of names or organizations who are part of the contributions. That way, if some billionaire was funding the majority of some campaign, it would be known by the public. George Soros for example. Or, the Koch brothers for you Democrats. As for taxes, rewriting the tax laws would be required to tax these complicated 501C3 type entities. Way to many loopholes exist, and in this case, it is broken so let's fix it. Tax law is so complicated that no one really understands all the ins and outs of it. Much like the ACA.

Mark B
Eureka, CA

Before Mr. Rock starts throwing out loaded terms like "despot", he should be reminded that a REAL despot wouldn't put up with any criticism. He'd just dispose of opponents, large or small. That means that either Obama is nowhere near a real despot, or Rock is a very brave guy. I think it's the former.

Shawnm750
West Jordan, UT

How about we appoint someone to rein in the IRS? 8^\

Vanceone
Provo, UT

Blue: If what I said was wrong, then why, in fact, did the IRS admit that they did something wrong? It's not like Fox News ran some biased investigation and found this out: Lois Lerner flat out apologized and admitted they had targeted conservative groups inappropriately. Unprovoked, in an industry meeting (actually, it was planned to try and head off the Inspector General report that blasted them later on).

Still, why is it always the case with this administration, Blue? Why is it that ALL "mistakes, inappropriateness and confusion" just so happens to always, always, without fail, be something that advances Obama and Democratic policy goals? You would think that on balance confusion and mistakes would be somewhat even, not 100% rebounding to the partisan advantage of Democrats, right? If it is really the case that every mistake errs on the side of Democrat party politics, then we should revisit the civil service, since most of the employees of the Federal Government seems to be a card carrying dyed in the wool Democratic party partisan who interprets their job as advancing the Democratic Party's policy interests.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

"Why is it that ALL "mistakes, inappropriateness and confusion" just so happens to always, always, without fail, be something that advances Obama and Democratic policy goals? "

"Always, always, without fail..." Seriously?

So you're saying that the disastrous launch of the ACA website, and the criticism that has earned the Obama Administration, are actually intended to _promote_ the ACA and The Democrats?

Apologies from IRS administrators for how investigations of political groups (both left and right) seeking tax-exempt status were conducted are in order, but that's _miles_ from proof of a White House conspiracy.

But please answer my main question - should _any_ political fundraising group seeking to influence elections be allowed to claim tax exempt status and keep its donors secret?

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

All you need to know about the IRS is Lois Lerner and the 5th Amendment! The threat to your freedom doesn't come from ANY fundraising group, it comes from the IRS! No fund raising group can put you in prison, confiscate your property or punish you with phony audits but guess who can without and impunity, oversight or restrictions? The question isn't who will reign in fund raising groups, its is who will reign in the IRS?

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

The conservatives still whirling from the Romney landslide are getting more paranoid.

Really? You think that the IRS, acting like some kind of gestapo, can come to your home, take everything you have, imprison you with impunity, no oversight or restrictions without you breaking any laws?
If I was Obama I would keep an eye on Hayden Lake though.

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