Someone posed a good question to me today: Does the disclosure of the Lerner “a-hole” emails change my opinions about the IRS scandal?
The quick answer is no they do not.
Before critics start with the Kool Aid, deaf, dumb, and blind, Obama worship, liberal, and anything else of the same sentiment, remember why I refer to this scandal as a boondoggle.
I don’t consider the IRS to be infallible or even efficient. I still assert, however, that none of the events or any of the revelations to this date or yet to come should be a surprise to any Member of Congress as all have been stated and implied in the National Taxpayer Advocate’s reports to Congress.
I’m not defending the IRS or the Presidential administration. I’m arguing that Congress was already aware and could have taken steps to limit the very activities in question. Why isn’t Congress examining the tax code line by line, and why is Congress continuing to yield powers traditionally handled by Congress to the IRS?
Does profiling bother me? Yes.
It bothers me more, however, that the concern is focused solely upon specific groups being required to provide additional information and possibly being denied tax exempt 501(c)(4) status. I think every group seeking that status should be required to provide additional information, and I find it appalling that every group regardless of name or political leaning does not face additional scrutiny. My position remains that “politics ain’t charity.”
Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, or whatever label you want to apply to yourself or to anyone else, my question is: why are you not bothered about anonymous people being able to funnel unlimited funds into any organization that wants to influence your opinion on elections and any legislative issues? I’ll accept the free speech argument, but if someone is willing to fund a position to gather the support of others should they be ashamed of associating their name with their position? We’re not talking about people who might need whistleblower protection who have to fear for their livelihood. We’re talking about people who donate more money than some communities have in their annual budgets.
I think groups engaged in political activities should be required to file under a 527 status. Set some threshold where political donations above a set amount must be disclosed. Personally, I think $10,000 would be a start, but honestly make it any amount. I just want to know who is trying to win my support and who is pulling the strings. Before someone counters with unions and churches do the same as these 501(c)(4) groups you criticize, I will argue that the political activities of churches, unions, non-profits, and other groups should not be tax exempt either. “Politics ain’t charity.”
To me it’s not about Lois Lerner or a particular political ideology. It’s about whether you think secret money is acceptable. Yes, read my pieces, I know that individuals cannot take tax deductions for donations to a 501(c)(4), but are you aware that certain businesses can? That’s how we know the origin of funds for a few of these organizations. Many do fund both sides of the aisle because the ideology is nothing, but the influence they gain with the victor is everything.
Is it a coincidence that Congress is in an uproar because political groups were targeted? Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, can you tell me when Congress paid any attention to individuals like you, me, or that fellow up the road, down the path, on the other side of the river, or just over yonder and our confusion over the tax code and frustration of rarely if ever getting the same answer to the exact same questions as we prepare for 15 April?
The root of the problem is our convoluted tax code, and these scandals today are merely twigs on branches. I don’t see freedom protected by focusing on saving specific leaves while the roots, trunk, and branches of the tree are neglected.