So the IRS is under fire for delaying action for tax exempt status requests from conservative groups, with Speaker of the House John Boehner claiming he doesn't just want resignations but wants to know "Who is going to jail?"
Now it does seem certain IRS employees did focus unfairly on right wing groups asking for tax exempt status, a list that grew exponentially after the Citizens United 2010 Supreme Court decision. But the whole issue is as phony as the Soviet military capacity was during the height of the cold war. Because the IRS shouldn't even be considering tax exempt status for any of these political organizations, liberal or conservative, under the original 501 (c) 4 law as written by Congress. That law states emphatically
that such tax exempt status be limited to:
“civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell has been discussing the real scandal all week, and hardly anyone else seems to have noticed it, including Nancy Pelosi who today called for a new law to limit tax exempt status to non-political social welfare organizations. That law is already in place, it is the original wording of that section of the Tax Code.
Proving that the IRS has been guilty of doing stupid things for many years, back in 1959 some idiot there changed the wording to read "primarily" instead of "exclusively" for social welfare groups. This opened up the law to its fuzzy current status, where many IRS bureaucrats don't really know how to evaluate these tax exempt requests. No new law is needed, it only requires that the law as originally enacted be enforced. This would eliminate from tax exempt status any and all groups engaged in political activity at any and all times.
The lack of knowledge about this egregious change of wording by the IRS proves two big things. First, that a single word can mean a world of difference. Second, how really stupid most politicians are and how ill-informed, as we hear all the rants about how the IRS delayed consideration of tax exempt status for groups that never should have been considered for such status at all. And every such group, liberal or conservative, which now has this tax exempt status should have it revoked. It's the law and the U.S. is supposed to be a country of laws.
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