June 4th, 2013
12:23 PM ET
2 years ago

Partisan views of IRS targeting: political conspiracy or overzealous scrutiny

Washington (CNN) – Like a partisan version of the proverbial blind men touching the elephant, members of Congress have starkly differing views of the scope and magnitude of the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status that dominates headlines and committee hearings.

Depending on their party, legislators offer particular takes on the controversy based on which part of the IRS elephant they are describing.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Congress • IRS
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    I am so beyond this story... the finger pointing... the bickering... and the not so subtle hint of impeachment hearings.

    Have a nice day, America.

    June 4, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    This is becoming more of a media conspiracy than anything else. A lot of fan flaming at a story that's already lost steam in the eyes of sane and rational people. CNN, you can no longer call yourselves "the most trusted name in news."

    June 4, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Pam from Iowa

    All 501(c)'s should have their tax-exempt status revoked. Not a single one is actually a "social organiztion".
    Their sole purpose is to launder money for political campaigns.
    They were created under GW Bush's term for the purpose of aiding the GOP.

    June 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. rs

    i am surprised that such overtly political organizations as the TEA Paries (Taxed Enough Already) were granted tax exempt "social welfare organization" status. That their applications were more closely scrutinized and some held up in processing (was there coordination in the submission of those 3,000+ applications) is hardly a surprise at all.
    Smells more like giant fraud on the part of the GOP to me.

    June 4, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    The real reason more "librul" groups weren't "targeted": The vast majority were smart enough to know they weren't required to file a tax exempt request with the IRS, and therefore didn't. Those "librul" groups who DID were also "targeted" for extra scrutiny, and were the only ones denied.

    June 4, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. truth hurts but realty bites

    Malory Archer
    The real reason more "librul" groups weren't "targeted": The vast majority were smart enough to know they weren't required to file a tax exempt request with the IRS, and therefore didn't. Those "librul" groups who DID were also "targeted" for extra scrutiny, and were the only ones denied.
    -–

    So you are saying all of the liberal groups broke the law and need to pay taxes on all the money they collected and all of the people that contributed to them need to amendment their tax returns to exclude those amounts from their charitable contributions? Yikes... you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

    June 4, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    These Republican idiots are the big problem in the nation.

    June 4, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. The Elephant in the Room

    The Republican party use to claim that it was the "Law & Order" party. Rather than getting their panties in a bunch over so-called "overzealous" IRS pursuits; the GOP could begin to REBUILD its credibility if they said that IRS actions were LEGAL but UNEQUAL.

    The "Taxed Enough Already [Tea] Party" groups, who had the arrogance to put that in the name of their 501C[4] group seeking tax exempt status SHOULD have been targeted . . . as should others. Republicans should have some integrity [if not the balls] to say so.

    The law states that these exemptions can only go to groups that engage EXCLUSIVELY in "social welfare". How can a group that itself claims to be born out tax policy opposition and has be solely political [anti-Obama on EVERYTHING] meet this requirement? The answer is: they can`t. The GOP House members should stop trying to implicitly say that they do/can.

    June 4, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Tampa Tim

    $2 trillion for an unnecessary war, and not a peep from a wingnut. So they put a criminal in charge of the IRS investigation. Hopefully republicans will realize that they have been in violation of the law with their tax free status.

    June 4, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Malory Archer

    truth hurts but realty bites

    So you are saying all of the liberal groups broke the law and need to pay taxes on all the money they collected and all of the people that contributed to them need to amendment their tax returns to exclude those amounts from their charitable contributions? Yikes... you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    No, I'm saying they AREN'T REQUIRED to file. Really, you should take summer remedial reading. Oh, that's right – your parents whined that they're "taxed enough already" so summer school has been cancelled.

    June 4, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. just sayin

    if this was targeting of liberal groups supporting the democrats through two election cycles you can be sure they would be screaming for head to roll and people to do time. total hypocrites. so to balance this out, i'm sure they would have no problem with the irs tagetting all liberal groups, revoking their tax exempt status for the next two election cycles, right? yeah, i didn;t think so.

    as usual, the democrats are very eager to ignore and poo poo all illegal behavior that benefits them. they are the party of crime and corruption.

    June 4, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Stuffit

    I would like to know more about these secret e-mail address. Of course Lynda can ignore it all she wants, but it proves the point about Obama being the most corrupt, inept, incompetent, union toady president in history.

    June 4, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. UDidntBuildThat

    Lynda/Minnesota :I am so beyond this story... the finger pointing... the bickering... and the not so subtle hint of impeachment hearings."
    ___________________
    Of course you are "over this". It shows that the guy you voted for is worse than his predecessor and void of all morals and is a tyrannt!

    June 4, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. RT

    So 30% of the IRS workforce is just employed to go after small business owners.... there are only 23 million or so small business owners in a country of 313 million people. Forget the teaparty and conservative groups for a second. Why are small business owners being systemically harassed?

    June 4, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "In particular, she noted that 501(c)(4) status allowed groups to avoid revealing their donors, adding that was probably the prime motivation of politically oriented groups seeking such categorization."

    Precisely. "I can keep your name secret" = political donation money-laundering gravy train. The ability to keep your donors list secret is the gold standard in soliciting indirect campaign donations and political advertising money. Regardless of anything else that happens here, THAT needs to stop, but neither party nor the MSM has any intention of allowing the controversy to exist beyond the salacious accusations being hurled at the administration. Why? Because they ALL benefit from 501(c)(4) status being abused. In whose hands do you think all that secret-donor advertising money ultimately ends up? No no...once this dies down and the GOP/Teatrolls have to abandon their witch hunt, the MSM will promptly "help" 'Murika "forget" that the 501(c)(4) issue needs to be addressed...to do anything less would be a failure to protect their income stream.

    June 4, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. rob

    "There might have been some smart people working in the Cincinnati office who were concerned that there are a lot of new 501(c)(4) filings in this country, and that there have been tax cheats in the history of this country, that maybe somebody over there at the IRS is doing their job," Kaptur added.

    Absolute garbage spewing from this womens mouth, "Tax Cheats" ???? she went on to say:

    "They were trying to find people who wanted to be hidden donors, and not be on record," Kaptur offered as a reason for the IRS targeting. "Then I think the American people ought to take a second look at this."

    In effect, Dem Rep Kaptur is saying that its perfectly ok for the IRS to target Conservative groups because they may have "hidden donors" The whole Democrat party and their media enablers like CNN are trying to defend the indefensable. They are trying to water down the gravity of the kind of Govt intimidation of political thought that has clearly gone on here.

    There is only one way for the truth to come out about this corruption, set up a Special Prosecuter and put EVERYONE UNDER OATH.

    June 4, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. just sayin

    However, they argue, no evidence of an administration-wide conspiracy has emerged so far, with the inspector general's report that revealed the problem blaming poor management and stating there was no known political motivation.
    -–

    the investigation is just starting so of course there is no evidence yet. very few people have even been interviewed or have testified. it took over two years to get everything out during watergate.

    "there was no known political motivation"... this is laughable. the fact that this targeted obama's political adversaries during two election cycles, and the fact that the selection criteria used to target these groups was itslef political in nature renders this statement ridiculous on the face of it. democrats must think the american people are really, really, really stupid.

    June 4, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Bill from GA

    An informative story might be about the rate of applications for tax-exempt status from liberal groups compared to conservative groups. We have all heard of the proliferation of tea party groups, large and small. (And it seems only the small were targeted; there's a story that deserves more attention, in the press and in Congress.)

    But was there a similar proliferation of small, localized liberal groups springing up, seeking tax-exempt status? They certainly didn't make the news. But I'm sure (NOT) that the conservatives, and congress, wouldn't be making such a fuss if it was not for unequal treatment by the IRS, and not just deserved scrutiny by the government department in charge of such scrutiny. In other words, the IRS doing their job.

    The real problem is the lack of clarity in defining the 501(c)(4) category. Congress could remedy the problem with a modified tax code. They could do it bit by bit; it doesn't have to be all at once. Start with an obvious problem like the 501(c) issues. But the goal of the republican house is only to try to embarrass our President and any in his administration.

    June 4, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    " it is the Obama IRS" – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

    I thought this started with an IRS leader first appointed by W. Who was also a Republican. But of course, he would QUIETLY

    June 4, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. MaryM

    Investigation Yes, Issa witch hunt No. Considering the only group denied their tax exempt status was a Liberal group, I would say that Issa is on a witch hunt. Especially after his McCarthy comments yesterday.

    Oh and FYI, None of these 501c4 groups, Dem or Repub, should qualify for tax exempt status. The law passed by Congress in 1954 specificly states that these groups are to engage in social welfare Exclusivly !! Only Congress can make or change the laws. And Congress did not change it. So the IRS is wrong to approve tax exempt status (501c4s) for any of these political groups.

    June 4, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. Marty, FL

    What nonsense. The whole "scandal" is not, and nothing more than ridiculous media falling for uber partisan propaganda again.

    The more we find out about the political groups, the more it is understood why groups deserved questioning. Don't care if it's left, right or center–if it is a political organization, it does NOT deserve to be subsidized by taxpayers.

    Many of these groups actually had "party" as part of their names (i.e. political), not social welfare charities.

    June 4, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Guess

    What she means is that the conservative groups are getting less scrutiny stupid

    June 4, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. Guess

    How many different names did you use on this story guest? six, seven? your a loser, and a liar. heres your chance @ credibility, your saying that this irs investigation has zero to do with politics?

    June 4, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. Caumont

    And I remember some crazy people saying Nixon didn't do anything wrong either. Lets see where this goes....

    June 4, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    This was a program designed to stifle political opposition to the Demcratic Party. Pure and simple. End of discussion.

    June 4, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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