Wednesday, March 12, 2014

IRS scandal was trumped up

    Conservative pundits across the nation are condoning and cheering on Republican committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s bully tactics in trying to prove that the IRS targeted the Tea Party for extra scrutiny at the behest of the White House.
    Chairman Issa rudely shuts off the microphone when minority members of the committee try to speak or get truth into the record. Never since the days of the McCarthy hearings have congressional investigations been run in such an un-American manner. With Issa running roughshod, is it any wonder that Lois Lerner pleaded the fifth? Of course IRS officials visited the White House 165 times! They were trying to implement the Affordable Care Act.
    So, why has Issa wasted millions of dollars on 16 hearings? The 501(c)(4) designation existed for years for groups involved in charitable or social welfare efforts. They are allowed to endorse but not field a candidate, and political activity must not be their primary purpose. They are allowed to do some lobbying or help register voters and promote issues only. The kicker is, they are able to receive unlimited donations, and their donors remain anonymous. Issa does not want to lose that.
    In 2010, the Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United Decision changed 501(c)(4) from being simply about social welfare. Political groups rushed to opt for the freedom of 501(c)4s where with a little evasion and equivocation they might simply self-proclaim their new status and hide limitless contributions. IRS agents, having to administer this nightmare of where to draw the line on “primary purpose,” stupidly sorted out both conservative and progressive political groups to handle the rush. Perhaps Issa holds endless hearings and violates congressional codes of conduct to distract us from suggesting his Tea Party lose their status and reveal their Koch-brother backing.
Sherrie Goff

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