IRS' Dumb Move May Keep Problem From Getting Fixed
Ezra Klein: Agency must clamp down on all political groups exploiting nonprofit status
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2013 1:18 PM CDT
In this file photo, a Tea Party supporter attends a tax day rally in Independence, Mo.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(Newser) – The IRS made an incredibly stupid mistake in singling out Tea Party groups for scrutiny last year, but the real travesty is that the agency didn't investigate more groups—Democrat and Republican alike—in similar circumstances, writes Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. The problem here is that political organizations have made a mockery of the 501(c)4 loophole that allows them to file as social welfare nonprofits, a move that allows them to hide their donors. Karl Rove led the way, and the IRS caved. "A lot of people thought Rove would get smacked back by the IRS,” an expert at UC Irvine tells Klein. “It didn’t happen. And then 501(c)4s exploded.”

That's true for both Republican and Democratic groups, and it's the IRS' fault for allowing this "to grow into something monstrous," writes Klein. It never established clear rules—501(c)4s aren't supposed to be "primarily political," but what does that mean exactly? The agency was trying to figure it out when some misguided agents started looking at groups they thought were over-the-top political, like those with "Tea Party" in their names. The fallout has been brutal—witness Sarah Palin's post on Facebook—and Klein fears it's only going to make the IRS "even more terrified" of fixing the problem. Click for the full post.

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Showing 3 of 47 comments
K.KRANK
May 13, 2013 6:51 PM CDT
Idiots. You let Rove get away with it & what were you doing going after the Tea Party for? Was that supposed to prove letting Rove & Co. get away with it didn't mean you had a RW bias? You blew it.
orlandojonny
May 12, 2013 7:21 AM CDT
The IRS also singled out all groups with ties to Israel and it goes back to 2011. Flashback 2008 Obama, "maybe I should audit my enemies"...
backpath2
May 11, 2013 10:36 PM CDT
Governments exist to serve the ends of the rich and powerful, and their agendas are fueled by the money of ordinary working people. A government's strongarm collection agency is its revenue service, in our case the I.R.S. Of the people, by the people, and for the people? I think not.