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View Diary: Obama says IRS actions are 'outrageous,' calls GOP Benghazi investigation a 'political circus' (103 comments)

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  •  That's the way you do it. (8+ / 0-)

    Nice bit of honest outrage, transition into "No we didn't cover-up Benghazi" =

    Hey! We don't hide from the truth, even when it hurts.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:07:27 AM PDT

    •  No, I see it as the President folding, again (14+ / 0-)

      With little to no information he submits to the right wing outrage machine without putting up a fight, again. Just like Shirley Sherrod. The IRS is right to investigate political groups filing as non-profits to ensure that they truly are non-profits or have filed in the correct section. The President should have the backs of his employees who are trying to enforce the law and not leave them dangling in the wind.

      Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

      by DemSign on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:13:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, just how often does he fall for this type (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemSign

        of bait before learning to fight?

        Maybe if he were eligible for a third term there'd be hope!

        •  It's pathological... his need to acquiesce to... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          apimomfan2

          ... the Republicans.

        •  Well --- there is good reason to believe that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          raptavio

          something happened within the IRS and, you are probably much more tuned in than I am, but I'm willing to believe that the President can get answers more readily than I can...so...

          what exactly is he falling for?

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:59:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  He's not 'falling for anything' in this case. (0+ / 0-)

          Hasn't a report already been issued on this?

          Please see my comment below, and the Reuters piece.

          Heck, with such a broad category of "groups focused on making "America a better place to live," they may have also been focused on left-leaning groups who are not satisfied with the direction of the country.

          If this happened, it's an outrage, and should be stopped.  So Kudos to the Administration, if they are going to look into this matter, and/or demand accountability.

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


          hiddennplainsight

          by musiccitymollie on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:18:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  There was a lot of “if” (17+ / 0-)

        in the statement quoted here. So if it turns out the accusations are bullshit, he's covered. What he emphasized was that the charges were serious.

        At this point, it's a reaction that makes sense: There are still investigations to be carried out, but the charge is real. The Sherrod move would've been to start firing people preemptively.

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:20:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right. It's not Obama jumping to conclusions. (12+ / 0-)

          It's the commenter.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:24:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Innocent until proven guilty is the correct stance (4+ / 0-)

          ..to take imo, and the President did just that:

          "If you've got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way..
          It laws were broken, that should be investigated, of course.

          And by putting in that proper context even the RWNJ's have no justification for further accusation/conspiracy (not that that will stop them) ; but now the question that will come to mind - even teabaggers will know it (which is probably half the cause of their "outrage"..

          Are these teaparty groups really of 501(c)4 status as a non-political entity? - easy answer there


           • An organization that primarily benefits a private group of citizens cannot qualify for IRC 501(c)(4) exempt status.
          [...]
           • However, an organization that loses its IRC 501(c)(3) status because of excessive lobbying or political campaign intervention may not be treated as an organization described in IRC 501(c)(4). IRC 504(a).
          501(c)4

          Not that the teaparty doesn't insist that pushing their "values" on other people is anything but "common good".
           Most people will see that the various teabag patriot groups break 501(c)4 rules

          •  No, they still have a basis and that's why a (0+ / 0-)

            proper investigation is appropriate.

            One very legitimate question for an investigation:

            If this was not an intent to harass specific groups, how do we protect against innocent intents that have less than innocent results?

            Having spent many years in software, I could well imagine somebody jumping up and saying -- "Wait! I know how we could make that a lot more efficient" and nobody scrutinizing the end result for possible Constitutional problems.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:44:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  seems like the meat of (10+ / 0-)

        the repug argument is that IRS staff did a keyword search looking for "teaparty" and "patriot" when looking to identify which groups to look at closely. It seems the first thing that needs to be asked is what other keywords did they search for? If the IRS was doing their due diligence and conducting a broad search, it would be logical for them to search t.p. and patriot, within a significant group of terms from the right and the left as well as some politically neutral terms like "campaign" or "elect"

        "labor is superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration,"... Theodore Roosevelt

        by HugoDog on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:21:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly, and these are the things (5+ / 0-)

          that an investigation might bear out. Once we have a fuller picture, it'll make more sense for the President to be specific and stop talking in hypotheticals.

          Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
          Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
          Code Monkey like you!

          Formerly known as Jyrinx.

          by Code Monkey on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:24:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for such a sensible comment and (4+ / 0-)

          question about keyword searches.  (Really hoping they used a wide range of keywords.)

          We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

          by Observerinvancouver on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:43:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  From what I've seen, it included such radical (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HugoDog, musiccitymollie, Eric Nelson

          terms as "make American a better place to live".

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:25:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  According to Reuters, they were giving extra (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HugoDog, dinotrac

          scrutiny for applications from groups focused on making "America a better place to live."

          Here's an excerpt and a link below.  [H/T NC]

          IRS Kept Shifting Targets in Tax-Exempt Groups Scrutiny: Report

          By Kevin Drawbaugh and Kim Dixon | Reuters – 4 hours ago

          WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When tax agents started singling out non-profit groups for extra scrutiny in 2010, they looked at first only for key words such as 'Tea Party,' but later they focused on criticisms by groups of "how the country is being run," according to investigative findings reviewed by Reuters on Sunday.

          Over two years, IRS field office agents repeatedly changed their criteria while sifting through thousands of applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status to select ones for possible closer examination, the findings showed.

          At one point, the agents chose to screen applications from groups focused on making "America a better place to live."

          Exactly who at the IRS made the decisions to start applying extra scrutiny was not clear from the findings, which were contained in portions of an investigative report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

          Expected to be made public this week, the report was obtained in part by Reuters over the weekend as a full-blown scandal involving the IRS scrutiny widened, embarrassing the agency and distracting the Obama administration.

          In one part of the report, TIGTA officials observed that the application screening effort showed "confusion about how to process the applications, delays in the processing of the applications, and a lack of management oversight and guidance." . . .

          Now, this could be trouble, if they are unable to come up with a satisfactory answer as to 'what was going on.'

          Most folks would be far more upset over this type of scrutiny, than 'a Benghazi.'

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


          hiddennplainsight

          by musiccitymollie on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:09:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sandy on Signal, cybersaur

        If the groups were profiled based on behavioral trends, that seems fair.

        If that potential for behavior was influenced by the group's politics, that's just how the cookie crumbles.

        It certainly seems that if any group was likely to cheat or bend the rules based on a sense of entitlement, or that the government has no business telling them what to do, I'd put my money on the same groups as being "of interest".

      •  Funny, this is what the conservatives said... (5+ / 0-)

        ...in 2004 when the IRS was investigating liberal churches:

        The IRS is right to investigate political groups filing as non-profits to ensure that they truly are non-profits or have filed in the correct section.
        The problem with this statement both then and now is that if you're only investigating political groups on one side of the spectrum, that gives good reason for people on the outside to suspect partisan motivation in the investigations.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:45:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "only"? (0+ / 0-)

          who said those were the only words they searched for? that they only searched for words that would bring up right-wing groups?

          investigation is warranted into what other words they were using, but it looks like the top brass are just hitting the Eject button on a bunch of low-level guys, throwing up their hands and saying "we're sorry, we're sorry, it was those bad apples" instead of attempting to clarify the issue at all.

          this is the Tea Party and Fox News we're talking about here, which obviously calls for appeasement. skepticism is reserved for hippies

          Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

          by Boogalord on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:09:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Would you feel better if they searched words that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TexasTom

            brought up liberal groups based on their politics?

            For example, one phrase was "making America a better place to live".

            Should groups (which are just people organized together) be subject to special scrutiny because they want to make America a better place to live?

            The IRS has no business selecting people to harass on such a basis.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon May 13, 2013 at 12:27:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe not folding but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybersaur

        yeah...

        I mean, what happened? The republicans demanded he denounce it, and attacked him for it. Then he denounced it... And they attacked him for it.

        Because of course they did. I get what he's doing, I can see why it may have been the better of two really bad options... But i'm not happy about it.

        Still, we know why they're doing this, and we need to keep it in perspective: They were losing control of the Benghazi debate again, and needed a new controversy to latch on to.

        Its the way the republican party works now.

        "Trust not the words of a poet, as he is born to seduce. Yet for poetry to seize the heart, it must ring with the chimes of truth."

        by kamrom on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:30:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Little to no information? (0+ / 0-)

        You must be highly placed indeed to know how much information the President has.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:58:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What are the standards? (3+ / 0-)

      When is an IRS investigation of a tax-exempt group lawful? Exactly what actions are? Some of a group's conduct is plain-sight public information.
      I bet that in other contexts countless Tea Party people have said "If you have nothing to hide you have no reason to worry about being scrutinized." If you don't use drugs, why should you object to having to pee?

      Censorship is rogue government.

      by scott5js on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:24:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  here are the videos (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pamelabrown

      Benghazi

      IRS

      "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

      by zizi on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:48:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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