“Benghazigate” is on life support, so, thankfully for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors who can’t win presidential elections anymore, there’s a new “scandal.” Reports the Associated Press today:
Washington — Republicans said [today] that the Internal Revenue Service’s heightened scrutiny of conservative political groups was “chilling” and further eroded public trust in government.
Lawmakers said President Barack Obama personally should apologize for targeting tea party organizations and they challenged the tax agency’s blaming of low-level workers. [Emphasis mine. Note that long before any actual fair investigation has been done, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors already have convicted President Barack Obama of wrongdoing.]
“I just don’t buy that this was a couple of rogue IRS employees,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “After all, groups with ‘progressive’ in their names were not targeted similarly.”
If it were just a small number of employees, she said, “then you would think that the high-level IRS supervisors would have rushed to make this public, fired the employees involved, apologized to the American people and informed Congress. None of that happened in a timely way.”
The IRS said Friday that it was sorry for what it called the “inappropriate” targeting of the conservative groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. The agency blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.
But according to a draft of a watchdog’s report obtained [yesterday] by The Associated Press that seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner, senior IRS officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups as early as 2011. …
Now, before I go on, let me inconveniently-for-the-right-wing remind you that the anti-Obama wingnuts in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009 specially singled out the left-leaning, progressive group ACORN for defunding (and the spineless “Democrats” in D.C., not wanting to be deemed “guilty” by association with ACORN, let them).
ACORN in turn sued the U.S. government, correctly, in my book, calling the act of Congress a bill of attainder — “an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without privilege of a judicial trial,” per Wikipedia — but ultimately, per Wikipedia, in 2010 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a ruling on the matter “cited a study finding that only 10 percent of ACORN’s funding came from federal sources and stated, ‘We doubt that the direct consequences of the appropriations laws temporarily precluding ACORN from federal funds were so disproportionately severe or so inappropriate as to constitute punishment.'”
Wow. I didn’t know that whether or not something is a bill of attainder has to do with the percentage of government funding that’s involved in the matter, but, in any event, that relatively small percentage of federal funding shows you what “ACORNgate” actually was all about: attacking the organization that, according to the right-wing conspiracy theorists, had stolen the 2008 election for Barack Obama, who, like the employees of ACORN were, once had been a community organizer.
(While voter registration fraud apparently was committed by some ACORN workers who were paid per voter registration — a reason why voter registration never should be linked to payment, in my opinion — only the casting of fraudulent votes, not fraudulent voter registration, ever could affect the outcome of an election. Duh.)
In terms of whether or not the Congress punished ACORN appropriately when it stripped ACORN of its federal funds, here is what Wikipedia reports of the actual criminal investigations of ACORN (the wingnuts in Congress, of course, were not interested in a fair investigation, but in scoring a political “victory” over Obama and his supporters):
On December 7, 2009, the former Massachusetts attorney general, after an independent internal investigation of ACORN, found the [“undercover”] videos [made by a right-wing punk and convicted criminal] that had been released appeared to have been edited, “in some cases substantially.” He found no evidence of criminal conduct by ACORN employees, but concluded that ACORN had poor management practices that contributed to unprofessional actions by a number of its low-level employees.
On March 1, 2010, the District Attorney’s office for Brooklyn determined that the videos were “heavily edited” and concluded that there was no criminal wrongdoing by the ACORN staff in the videos from the Brooklyn ACORN office.
On April 1, 2010, an investigation by the California Attorney General found the videos from Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino to be “heavily edited,” and the investigation did not find evidence of criminal conduct on the part of ACORN employees.
On June 14, 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its findings which showed that ACORN evidenced no sign that it, or any of its related organizations, mishandled any federal money they had received.
But by then, of course, it was too late. The right wing already had destroyed ACORN, which apparently disbanded primarily because it so successfully had been smeared, not because it needed the federal funding so much. The right wing had had no interest in whether or not ACORN actually was guilty as charged. The right wing had interest only in destroying an organization that stood in effigy of Barack Obama.
(And Obama, being the political reptile that he is, just like he didn’t defend the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Shirley Sherrod or Van Jones from race-based, right-wing attacks, didn’t defend ACORN, because he never has wanted to be associated with the “bad,” “radical” black Americans who frighten! white Americans.)
The case of ACORN is a perfect example of representatives of the U.S. government singling out an organization for destruction out of purely political motives. Apparently this is perfectly A-OK if it’s a left-leaning/progressive organization that is unfairly targeted for destruction, but it’s an abomifuckingnation (or should I say Obamifuckingnation?) if a right-leaning organization ever is so targeted.
So back to “IRSgate.”
The Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ charge, apparently, is that Barack Obama, or at the very least someone very close to him (with his full knowledge and approval, of course), had the Internal Revenue Service unfairly single out “tea party” groups for heightened scrutiny in an attempt to at least harm, if not destroy, those groups.
I don’t see the need to stretch this out like I usually stretch shit out. This seems pretty simple to me:
The “tea party” groups have made their feelings about having to pay any taxes to the federal government quite well known. The “tea” in “tea party,” recall, is supposed to mean “taxed enough already,” ha ha ha.
So — as opposed to other political and supposedly non-political and actually non-political groups, you have some groups that quite publicly have stated that their opposition to the federal government’s collection of federal taxes is one of their chief reasons for even existing.
So — would it really be a shock that the IRS would take more interest in these anti-federal-tax groups than it would take in other groups?
Would it be a shock that the young man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a large marijuana leaf might attract more attention from the narcotics cop than would others in the crowd?
I’m shocked that I have yet to see any “coverage” of “IRSgate” that points out that duh, of course an anti-tax group might get heightened scrutiny from the nation’s tax collectors.
Slate.com’s David Weigel points out what should be two other fairly obvious reasons why the “tea party” groups might get heightened scrutiny from the IRS:
One: Tea Party groups flowered quickly [indeed, they fairly exploded overnight], and in situations like that you want to see where the money went. Two: As Ezra Klein explains, the rules governing non-profits are increasingly ill-suited to the reality of non-profits. The secrecy accorded to 501(c)4s has made them incredibly attractive for people who want to stack money away without having to disclose their donors.
All of this pesky logic and reason and facts and reality aside, what needs to happen in “IRSgate” (or whatever “-gate” we’re calling this one) is exactly that which did not happen in “ACORNgate”: The facts need to be examined very carefully and methodically, and it needs to be determined, very carefully, whether or not anyone within the IRS violated any actual laws or rules or regulations regarding the work that the IRS does.
If — IF — any laws or rules or regulations were violated, the violators need to be dealt with in a fair manner. (No, they probably don’t need to be shot or hanged, as the “tea party” dipshits might recommend as the appropriate punishment.) And the IRS would need to make the necessary changes to prevent any future such violations.
And the right wing won’t shut up, of course, until and unless it is determined how far up the chain of command any decision to single out “tea party” groups for any actually illegal heightened scrutiny by the IRS went. (I don’t use the term “improper heightened security” because “improper,” of course, is an opinion, and, of course, most “tea party” dipshits probably would view any scrutiny of “tea party” groups by the IRS to be “improper.”)
But, of course, the right wing won’t ever actually shut the fuck up about “IRSgate.”
Just as no facts or actual investigation was going to change their minds about ACORN, they’ve already written their “IRSgate” narrative with their troglodytic chisels in stone: Barack Obama had the IRS crack down on “tea party” groups in a blatant attempt to crush his political opponents.
The only question now, it seems to me, is whether or not the rest of us are just going to allow the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to get away with this one, just like they got away with their ACORN bullshit.