This post isn’t about anything deep. It’s just calling to your attention behavior from the IRS that is blatantly evil and inexcusable.
Many of you will remember the minor blow-up three years ago when it was disclosed that the Obama IRS had been burdening conservative non-profit groups with ridiculously intrusive questionnaires, which the groups were required to respond to in their applications for tax-exempt status.
Even the mainstream media acknowledged that the conservative groups were being asked a lot of “weird” things. Here are some from ABC’s sampler:
- “Provide a list of all issues that are important to your organization. Indicate your position regarding each issue.”
- “Please explain in detail the derivation of your organization’s name.” (in a letter to the Ohio-based 1851 Center for Constitutional Law)
- “Please explain in detail your organization’s involvement with the Tea Party.”
- “Provide details regarding your relationship with Justin Binik-Thomas.” (a Cincinnati-area Tea-Party activist)
- “Provide information regarding the Butler County Teen Age Republicans and your relationship.”
The questions were numerous and varied. Jay Sekulow, whose American Center for Law and Justice represented a number of the affected groups, described them as follows:
These questions read like a wish list for far-left activists trying to examine every aspect of the conservative grassroots movement and chill or intimidate activists into silence. Imagine if the IRS had similarly targeted the Occupy Wally Street movement or labor unions or environmentalist groups, the outcry — from the beginning — would have been overwhelming.
Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) were categorical that the IRS had overreached, in the letter they sent demanding documentation of the agency’s processes:
These questionnaires ask for information well beyond the scope of typical disclosures required under IRS Form 1024.
On page 3 of the letter, Issa and Jordan list 16 categories of questions that, in their words, are “beyond the scope of IRS Form 1024.”
As indicated by the typical reporting back in 2013, one of the big demands of the IRS was that conservative groups provide complete lists of all their donors. This is unquestionably beyond the scope of what the IRS has a right to ask, and Issa and Jordan make that point explicitly.
So now we get to the spring of 2016, and conservative groups that answered these questionnaires several years ago are suing the IRS to prevent the agency from disclosing their answers to the public. The IRS claims that it is bound by law to disclose their information – a pile of data which Jay Sekulow accurately pointed out is a dream database for left-wing activists who want to target conservatives.
This whole situation is disgusting enough. One thing we can guess is that some of the information has probably already been leaked to left-wing activists. Compiling it in the first place is the original sin.
But the lawsuit against the IRS is uncovering just how dirty has been the pool being played by Obama’s IRS. Consider this dilemma that has been revealed in testimony (emphasis added):
The IRS is also holding on to answers to the intrusive questions it asked of tea party groups and said it is required by law to make that information available to the public.
Ms. Hagley [the IRS’s Justice Department lawyer] said the groups were specifically warned. If they didn’t want the information released, she said, they should have refused to answer the questions and sued if the agency didn’t approve them.
But John Eastland, an attorney for True the Vote, one of the groups challenging the IRS in court, said the tax agency suggested that not answering the questions would lead to dismissing the application without a ruling one way or another. No ruling means no chance to sue, Mr. Eastland said.
This is egregious abuse of the public and the public trust.
I might as well take the opportunity to remind you that as long as we tax income, this can and will happen again. Having to declare income, and the resultant need to seek exemptions from taxation, form the basis for one of government’s most convenient methods for abusing the people.