Comments about ‘In our opinion: Obama administration IRS rules to politicize non-profit world’

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Published: Monday, March 17 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

"what’s to prevent a Republican president from doing the same thing to liberal groups? " Well the muscle in such activities belongs to outfits funded by the likes of the Koch Bros who have virtually unlimited funds to advocate for the elimination of things like social security and medicare. The candidate who has the most funding for his campaign, direct or indirect, almost always wins. As a social security and medicare recipient I am terrified of the muscle on the billionaire right. So as a matter of self-preservation I don't like the tone of your editorial.

Logan, UT

The statement that "all groups subjected to increased scrutiny and delay of tax-exempt status were conservative" is patently false. Even an analysis done by the conservative Wall Street Journal found progressive groups that were targeted. The Deseret News Editorial Board hurts its own credibility when it states such obvious falsehoods.

Salt Lake City, UT

Way to spin there, Deseret News!

The number of "Social Welfare" organizations exploded following the Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United decision. "Social Welfare" groups spread like wildfire and morphed into political fundraising and campaign ad-buying organizations created solely for the purpose of funneling vast amounts of money into American elections - and at the same time making this flood of campaign cash both anonymous and tax-exempt.

The IRS was tasked with trying to figure out which groups seeking tax-exempt status were legitimate social welfare organizations, and which were money-laundering schemes to influence elections while hiding donor identities.

Some IRS employees tasked with sniffing out political organizations illegally seeking tax-exempt status started searching for key words in applicant organizations' titles as a way to decide which applications deserved a human review before tax-exempt status was granted. Yes, those key words included "Tea Party" and "Conservative." The IRS also used as keyword search terms "Progressive" and "Liberal."

There was no political bias by the IRS, they were simply trying to cope with the administrative nightmare created by Citizens United. But you, Deseret News chose to politicize that fact.

Springville, UT

First, the exemption from tax liability is a privilege. Any organization may choose to do what they want, but if they want tax exempt status, they need to stay out of partisan politics. Two, the right wing complained about the so-called targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, even though scrutiny was also on left wing groups. The GOP beat his non-story to death and keep flaming the fans. If the IRS is going to tighten things up as a result, then this paper and other right wingers need to suck it up and take the medicine. The "uproar" of this paper and others on the right is hypocritically unseemly. I guess you also support the Citizens United ruling and the out of control buying of elections we now see?

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

If a Democratic president can use the IRS to target conservative groups without consequence, what’s to prevent a Republican president from doing the same thing to liberal groups?

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

There is a distinction between a group primarily engaged in social welfare that, here and there interacts with the political world, and what is effectively a lobbying group that engages in little or no actual social welfare work.

Clearly groups of the first type should be tax exempt. The question is, should groups of the second type be tax exempt? That is, do their activities sufficiently relate to the normal charitable type activities we normally grant tax except status?

Don't talk about conservative, liberal, or anything else. That is irrelevant. The simple question is, should groups that are primarily political lobbying groups be tax exempt (and also be effectively opaque regarding their donors)?

After we answer these questions we should then look to be sure the IRS enforces fairly across the board.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Imagine the howls of protest from the left if the IRS targeted the NAACP, unions or Planned Parenthood! Why, there would be a "constitutional crisis"! There would be protest marches. There would be outrage! But only because the IRS targeted conservative groups, (and admitted doing so)the only thing we hear from the left is, denial, obfuscation, blaming some "rich" guy or it "serves them right"! What goes around comes around libs and when it does I hope you remember your denial, your acceptance and even applause of illegal government abuses! After all, you DO believe in fairness, don't you?

salt lake city, UT

The DN shows it colors with this editorial. Citizens United ruling dramatically changed our political system with huge influx's of cash. What BO is doing is honorable and right. The DN editorial board would prefer the people turn over their goverment to corporations, the religous and rich.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Wise people support the efforts of IRS to sort out the true charitable non-profits from those like American Legislative Exchange Council that perverts "charitable" status into a cover for hard-core political pressure of lawmakers.

Obama and his administration should be praised for what they are trying to do.

Far East USA, SC

"Under the new rules, “campaign-related political activity” doesn’t represent work done of the common good or general welfare. "

Who can argue with this? All the big money in politics does is benefit those who give the money and purchase political favors.

In fact "campaign-related political activity" does just the opposite of "common good"

It is legalized bribery. Far Far to many organizations are tax exempt.

Mark B
Eureka, CA

I'm just fine with "fairness", but I'm afraid that the Koch brothers' version of it is radically different from mine..

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

I'm all for fairness, too. I believe that the Constitution defines fairness for all of us, including Mr. Obama. The Constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Read about Malik Obama, the President's half-brother. Read about What Malik Obama is doing. Read about the "Barack H. Obama Foundation" created by Malik Obama and given tax-exempt status with two-years retroactive "accommodation"

When a President uses the influence of his office to wage political war on those who speak out against him, he has violated his oath of office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The right to speak freely is a guaranteed right. Obama has no authority to choose who or what can speak or to limit that speech in any way.

provo, Utah

Sad, you always figure discernment, if not just basic journalism should keep the DN from printing false propaganda. The first report only mentions conservative groups because that's all the republicans wanted to hear.

The Treasury inspector general whose report helped drive the IRS targeting controversy says it limited its examination to conservative groups because of a request from House Republicans.

Murray, UT

Let me guess, all the liberal groups will be deemed "for the public good" and all the conservative groups will not.

So what has changed? Oh, yeah, IRS targeting of republicans and conservatives will no longer require an investigation. It will be legal.

E Sam
Provo, UT

Tell the truth, DN. NOT all targeted groups were conservative.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Mike Richards,

No question that this president (or any other) should be able to pick and choose who can speak.

But this is a broader question. Should these organizations that primarily do nothing more than lobby for this or that political end be considered in the same group as charities and be allowed tax exempt status?

I do no believe they should regardless of whether I agree or disagree with them and regardless of who is president.

Tax exempt is a peculiar status. If we grant it too willingly the taxpayers will (rightly) object and many other (truly charitable) organizations will come under fire.

Salt Lake City, UT

Good, it's about time they actually enforce what the law says.

@Thid Barker
Only one group was completely rejected in their tax exempt status request... a liberal group. You see it turns out that when Issa commissions a report on targeting of conservative groups... it just ignores targeting of liberal groups. Reality is the law requiring them to be primarily involved in social activism should've led to most of these groups on both sides being rejected.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

This letter is correct in its condemnation of the federal government's actions in attempting to impose its will on the very thoughts and beliefs of its citizens. Indeed, the federal government could not be more heavy handed.

We must ask ourselves whether the actions of the current left-wing administration are really any different from those of the hard line communists of the old USSR. In both cases, the governments did not hesitate to attack any and all groups with opposing views.

The true issue is the left's effort to turn this Country into a European-style socialist state. That effort must be resisted.

Hayden, ID

cor·rup·tion noun \kə-ˈrəp-shən\ :"dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers." Merriam Webster dictionary
Two questions;
#1: Why do Democrats defend corruption?
#2: What will honest Americans do to clean up the blatant corruption in Washington DC?

Buena Vista, VA

Maybe some liberal groups were targeted, but if you read the news, they found that conservative groups were targeted way, way, way more often. Basically reports that liberals and conservatives were equally targeted were red herrings and were later corrected. This is a major scandal, folks! Even besides the scandal aspect, I am disappointed that so many here would cede their free speech rights to the IRS. It is a slippery slope and someday we will realize that we have lost our rights, piecemeal.

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