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Rachel Maddow Digs in to the IRS Tangle with Partisan Politics: VIDEO


Rachel Maddow looked into reports, and Obama's expression of outrage over, the IRS allegedly targeting conservative groups, explaining the rise of 501(c)4 groups, why it is a farce that groups like these are not set up to be political actors, and how the IRS ended up singling out Tea Party groups.

Said Maddow:

“There is a reasonable fear by all of us, by any of us, that the kind of power the IRS has could be misused, that the IRS, as an agency of the federal government, could be used by the federal government to retaliate against political enemies or to try and shape political outcomes in some way. It’s been done before, we’re all reasonably worried it will happen again.”

Maddow later interviewed Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who around the time of the 2004 election looked into actions by the IRS against a progressive church in his district. The church had been issued an aggressive audit shortly after a pastor there had delivered an anti-war sermon.



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  1. Since the IRS acknowledges and apologized, I think we can safely move beyond "allegedly" targeted.

    Not a fan of most of those loonies, but Susan Collins was right. This is absolutely chilling.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | May 14, 2013 10:25:23 AM

  2. It's a reasonable assumption that right-wing groups would commit fraud.

    Posted by: Steve | May 14, 2013 10:54:52 AM

  3. You mean fraud like ACORN?

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | May 14, 2013 11:23:05 AM

  4. Reforming the corporate tax code would help, along with the regulation of non-profits and charities, many of which are fraudulent. Donor lists are not a free speech issue according to the Supreme Court either. The main source of problems, though is the issuing of govt. grant money to non-profits and charities, which can easily become politicized.

    Posted by: anon | May 14, 2013 11:58:53 AM

  5. Although I agree this particular behavior is seriously troubling, the IRS must investigate tax-exempt organizations to determine if they meet the qualifications to be tax-exempt. Those qualifications are set my Congress in Section 501 of the tax code. Section 501 needs reform, but because its provision apply to religious organizations among many others, no one wants to touch it.

    It is relatively easy to incorporate under state law as a nonprofit corporation, one that issues no stock and has no investors to whom dividends are distributed.

    Federal tax exemption is a separate designation. The IRS is responsible for determining whether or not the organization is fraudulently using tax-exempt income to enrich individuals or to support partisan political campaigns, among other restrictions.

    Lots of folks on this website would applaud if the IRS launched a similar investigation of religious organizations that oppose marriage equality.

    Posted by: jpeckjr | May 14, 2013 12:15:04 PM

  6. Churches should be taxed on their income.

    Posted by: robert | May 14, 2013 8:21:25 PM

  7. This abuse of power by the IRS has gone on for decades. It was most egregious under Richard Nixon, who maintained an extensive enemies list and used the IRS and other government agencies to investigate, harass and intimidate political opposition and dissent. Bush did it too, as we've seen. The IRS is not known nor noted for fairness. It also pursues the common taxpayer with much more gusto than it does the wealthy. The justification being the average taxpayer is much more frightened of the IRS and an audit than the wealthy, who can afford a plethora of tax lawyers and accountants.

    Right now the Republicans are desperate to find any excuse, any scandal or wrong doing either real or imagined to impeach Obama. They will also follow the same course in an attempt to severely damage Hillary Clinton before 2016. It's all politics, all dirty, but the GOP is much better at it and has much greater resources than the Democrats.

    The AP scandal will also fizzle, since the Patriot Act allows the government to monitor whomever they choose without prior authorization or warrants. When Bush got the Patriot Act passed and Obama renewed and expanded its parameters, we surrendered many of our freedoms, liberty and much of our privacy for a little perceived "security". As Franklin observed, we will eventually find ourselves with neither liberty or security. As the conservative pundits would say, if the AP did nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear.

    Posted by: Bob R | May 14, 2013 9:36:21 PM

  8. OH my GOODNESS! Politico's #1 headline:"Obama LOSES DC". The Washington Post says the IRS stalled applications of conservative groups for more than a YEAR until the election was over. ESCANDOLO! The Chicago Tribune (hey...isn't Chicago, home of the most corrupt politicians like, EVER, the home of Barack Hussein Obama?!?) even has a headline, "Benghazi, IRS: Son of Watergate?"...CLUTCH PEARLS!!
    Is there ANYTHING that this prez WON'T DO?? Hey wait just a minute. He said he was gonna be transparent, that all his administration's dealings were going to be public and TRANSPARENT.

    Gosh. Wonder what's goin on with that?!? Oh I get it, he must have meant that his administration's dealings would EVENTUALLY become transparent, like, be exposed for all the world to see. Right? I mean golly that's the only way to explain all this...right? Like, I'm SURE he must have meant that instead of being upfront and honest with the American people right outta the gate like he promised (I mean for REALZ, y'all he's Barack Obama, the anointed fo-shizzle real deal, yo!!!) he FOR REAL meant that it would all come to light, like when you accidently turn over a rock and all these ICKY GROSS things come slithering out. Right?

    Sure is quiet here in the comment section. Hey I know what let's do! Let's blame Bush or say something to distract from the real issue: That this weak-ass excuse for a president was installed in the office by handlers who just can't seem to overcome his incompetence! Sweet, that sounds like fun...

    Posted by: TeeHeeHee | May 15, 2013 5:11:26 AM

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