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View Diary: Here's just one bad piece of possible fall-out from the IRS revelation (290 comments)

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  •  O’Donnell: The real IRS scandal happened in 1959 (3+ / 0-)
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    chuckvw, orlbucfan, Meteor Blades

    In 1959 IRS changed the wording from explicitly to primarily when defining what constitutes 501(c)4  social welfare tax exempt organization:

    The IRS is facing criticism after news broke that a Cincinnati branch targeted Tea Party-related groups with unequal scrutiny–but according to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, the real scandal happened long ago.

    Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code defines tax-exempt social welfare groups like this:

    Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.

    In 1959, under the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the meaning of this section was changed dramatically when the IRS decided the word “exclusively” could, in effect, be read as “primarily.”

    “For 54 years, the IRS has gotten away with the crime of changing the word ‘exclusively’ to ‘primarily,” said Lawrence O’Donnell on The Last Word  Monday. “The IRS took a hard, clear word like ‘exclusively’ and changed it into a soft word  ’primarily’ and then left it to the IRS agents to determine if your organization was primarily concerned  with the promotion of social welfare.”
     - emphasis added

    Add Ctitzens United on top of that and what was predicted has happened. An anonymous unaccountable tool of political muscle favoring those with the most money.


    As Klein says, the IRS “must act in ways above reproach.” O’Donnell agrees with a balanced approach, but “if in 2010, there was a flood of Tea Party applications for tax exempt status and many fewer applications for tax exempt status from liberal political groups, then it only makes mathematical sense that more questions would be directed at Tea Party applications.”
    So since the IRS can't possibly  investigate or possibly audit all cases for tax abuse they use a system of tags (red flags). One of the most common tags for instance is the "home office" tag.

    It sure seems to me like a whole series of poor choices were made along the way and the original tax exempt provision for a genuinely good purpose of social welfare has been corrupted into a political tool.

    Corruption (loophole) - and Karl Rove and people like him are right there

     The last actual commisioner was Douglas Shulman (appointed by GWB) retired and with the republicans slashing funding and refusing Pres. Obamas Appointments doesn't help things.

    I find every bit of the GOP outrage is more anger at having done to them  (allegedly) what they are supreme  at doing to others.

    That and they want desperately to dirty up the Dems. And the've never been picky about how to do it.

    Link to video with discussion:

    Thx MB

    kind of a long winded comment - sorry

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