The IRS Attacks the Tea Party … with a little help from its left-wing nonprofit friends
By Joely Friedman, Organization Trends, March 2016 (PDF here)
Summary: Left-wing activists like the Soros-backed ProPublica group helped Lois Lerner’s IRS persecute and harass conservative nonprofits that were seeking tax-exempt status.
The great Daniel Webster famously remarked that the power to tax is the power to destroy. Webster’s words are as true today as they were 200 years ago. But the Obama administration, an endless source of innovation in political corruption, found a way to wield as a weapon against its political enemies the power to grant tax-exempt status.
The Left favors cracking down on conservative nonprofits because there are so many of them fighting the progressive agenda. ProPublica, a left-wing “investigative journalism” outfit, opined in a Dec. 14, 2012 article: “Politically active social welfare nonprofits like Crossroads have proliferated since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in January 2010 opened the door to unlimited political spending by corporations and unions.”
It’s just not fair that conservative nonprofits are so skilled at nonprofit activism, the left-wing media outlet implied: “Earlier this year, a ProPublica report showed that many of these groups exploit gaps in regulation between the IRS and the [Federal Election Commission], using their social welfare status as a way to shield donors’ identities while spending millions on political campaigns. The IRS’ definition of political activity is broader than the FEC’s, yet our investigation showed many social welfare groups underreported political spending on their tax returns.”
Of course that depends on the definition of “political spending.” Educating the public isn’t necessarily political spending, but in the Left’s calculus all money spent by right-leaning groups is worthy of scrutiny.
The Left is also terrified of what it calls “dark money” because its operatives want to know whom to attack. Anonymous charitable donations, which are a form of political speech protected by the First Amendment, are characterized as suspicious and un-American. Left-wingers use words such as “transparency” as an excuse to silence disfavored speech. (So-called dark money was examined in Organization Trends, September 2015.)
In 2013 the American public learned that President Obama used the Internal Revenue Service to vex and harass his political opposition. That Obama’s IRS singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny ought to “send a chill” up Americans’ spines, then-House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told Fox News. The tax-collection agency’s strong-arming of political organizations “is as dangerous a problem the government can have.”