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May 13, 2013

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I thought this was an important observation

Over the weekend, they decided it was time to throw another TEA Party. If you’ll recall, the “TEA” in TEA PARTY stands for “Taxed Enough Already,” and so it should come as no surprise that when groups whose founding principles involved paying as little as their fair share of the tax burden started applying for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status, some scrutiny might be in order. Were these TEA Party organizations “generally civic” and promoting “social welfare,” and anyway, why did they only apply for tax exempt status after January 21, 2010?

LJ, are you saying that these groups merited heightened gov't scrutiny? If Obama were to make that argument, his own party would leave him, and rightly so.

This went on for 15 months. It was not a 'branch office' operation. Would a conservative administration get a pass, or even the soft glove treatment (we'll address it, fire a few folks, and make sure it never happens again), for a 15 month failure-to-supervise lapse? I am thinking not.

During the last election, a number of high profile, wealthy right wingers got audited. Whether that was coincidence or part of a wider, "low-level" sense of mission at the IRS is now fair game.

Will this be used for political purposes? Of course. Will the left whine about that? Sure. While I was having my coffee this morning, I thought about the widespread glee on the left when Enron folded, and how that would be the end of GW Bush, because, you know, Bush and Ken Lay were tight. Politics then begets the politics now.

And the Benghazi thing seems to be growing some legs too.

Interesting times.

In many ways, these IRS employees were acting as though they worked for a private business, which is how we're told the government should be run.

If I ran a retail business and began noticing members of a group called "Shoplifters In Favor Of Not Paying For Merchandise" frequenting my establishment and furthermore read that this group expected to shop without having to pass through the cash register/cashier line, let me tell you oh boy, I'd be on them from the overhead surveillance viewing nests faster than Barney Fife dressed as a mannikin during tea time at Boston Harbor.

Especially when I realized they were all masked for minimum transparency and carrying weapons in their codpieces on them and has expressed the view that liberty from cashiers was the entire point of the weapon show.

But really, this is Congress' fault for not doing their job (Darrell Issa masturbates rather than doing the substantive work of a legislator, for one) and the Supreme Court's fault for not ordering Congress to do their job, but I suspect the majority in the Citizens United decision hate the fact they have to pay taxes to defer the cost of their exorbitant salaries and benefits, the lazy gummint shites, so legalizing non-transparency for shoplifting vermin was the way to go.

I hope this escalates to the impeachment of President Obama, the defunding and abolishing of the IRS and then murderous violence against the entire Republican Party apparatus.

I've have 50 3-D plastic liberty-makers on order for when the horseh*t goes down.

Here is the latest NYTimes story, which has some interesting additional angles (such as the groups that seem to have been targeted were very small, and that the IRS is in kind of a quandary).

OTOH, at TPM, this story is rather damning of the current acting IRS Commissioner, but I haven't delved into the underlying details.

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nixon or Watergate approaches 1.

"Would a conservative administration get a pass, or even the soft glove treatment (we'll address it, fire a few folks, and make sure it never happens again), for a 15 month failure-to-supervise lapse? I am thinking not."

The IRS applied extra scrutiny to the NAACP and Greenpeace during the Bush Administration. Must have been for their conservative credentials.

The Pasadena Episcopal Church was subjected to a 2-year probe after issuing anti-Iraq war proclamations, were cleared, and then the IRS under Bush declared them guilty in the press anyway.

The gloves were so soft you hadn't heard about it, he winked.

ACORN. So, yeah.

"I thought about the widespread glee on the left when Enron folded, and how that would be the end of GW Bush, because, you know, Bush and Ken Lay were tight. Politics then begets the politics now."

There may have been a blowjob investigation in the 90's, not to a mention a funky election that led to Bush/Lay glee, but we can fritter away lots of time deciding when the begetting began, but as Slart pointed out, there is nothing like freshly-squeezed outrage for breakfast.

My glee was over the fact that the house of corrupt cards called Enron was finally revealed for what it was. The shareholders and folks robbed of their pensions now are having their glee staunched by the coming release of Jeffrey Skilling for his inevitable foray into publishing, the talk show circuit, and maybe a sinecure at the Heritage Foundation, to sort of chew and write learned monographs on the upsides of deregulation, which Obama will adopt as policy only to find out the Overton Window is a target constantly moving only to the right if you want to hit, you've got to lead it by aiming roughly right between John Birch's eyes.

"And the Benghazi thing seems to be growing some legs too."

Maybe then Benghazi can stand up on its two legs and move itself to a location someone can identify.

More in the Big Brother Department: about 30 minutes ago, our daughter (who works for a Big Five acct'ing firm) requested the name of each publicly traded stock the wife and I own. Seems the SEC requires this information. I was unaware that the feds had a right to know what we own by virtue of who employs one of our children. The exercise is pointless, given that X number of thousands of Big Five employees have Y number of thousands of immediate family members, many of whom own stock with the likelihood that, in the aggregate, all family members own pretty much all publicly traded stock. Which tells our benevolent gov't what, exactly?

But, I'm sure it's only a modest invasion of our privacy and it, because it does not impact our reproductive rights, serves a valid public purpose and, besides that, I'm lucky to be able to have the money to buy stock, so quite whining about the gov't because we can't live without it and all the essential services it performs, like tracking who owns what publicly traded stock. :-)

The government shouldn't need to know what stock you own, MckT, but given the behavior in recent timesof some of the big accounting firms, one of which, Liars and Cheats and Associates, went under, it's a wonder the SEC doesn't fashion little cups out of Enron stock certificates and have all of us pee in them.

Speaking of which, did this Big Five firm invade your daughter's all of their own and request a specimen?

When they want a specemin from her parents as well, let me know and I'll move to Texas and we relive the Alamo.

Slart, I think we should pass GO, skip Watergate and Nixon and move directly to Hitler and Stalin.

We'd be late to the table.

Or I could "quit whining". You know, whatever.

Would you believe came from above in a "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" sense? We do have a President who thought it appropriate to joke about auditing his enemies, after all. There are always, I think, people lower down the chain waiting for a hint that this sort of thing is desired. They don't need a direct order to do it.

It's a widespread phenomenon, McKTx, but one that arose spontaneously from lower-level employees. Who can be trusted with every other bit of your information, except the stuff they let slip this time.

Yes, "when does the bombing start?" he asked during his weekly Presidential Address.

Fingers below twitched and now we're all dead.

"Hint, hint." said the Speaker of the House, "taxes are theft."

Lower level IRS employees immediately threw the tax returns on their desks in the trash and took a tax exempt three-martini break.

Direct links all over.

here are always, I think, people lower down the chain waiting for a hint that this sort of thing is desired.

and people say Obama is no leader.

LJ, are you saying that these groups merited heightened gov't scrutiny? If Obama were to make that argument, his own party would leave him, and rightly so.

I'm not sure about the rightly so. Folks that advocate the legalization of drugs expect more scrutiny, if I'm writing twice as many pain killer prescriptions as the next doctor, even if I'm doing it in a legitimate way, I should expect the scrutiny. If a group says that it is going to do everything they can to avoid paying taxes and then forms a group that is supposed to be tax exempt, shouldn't I expect to be scrutinized? I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think that would be a way to a winning case.

As for the SEC requirement, isn't that to prevent insider trading?

Or I could "quit whining".

Well, the internet will go dark and there goes the American way of life.

;)

If a group says that it is going to do everything they can to avoid paying taxes and then forms a group that is supposed to be tax exempt, shouldn't I expect to be scrutinized? I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think that would be a way to a winning case.

I'd win it. I'd roll out a thing called the First Amendment. It's always worked before. Of course, we may be one SCOTUS justice away from revising that amendment, but that's a chat for another day.

But, it would be great for conservatives for Obama to say, "Hey, they deserved it. The IRS folks are just doing their jobs."

"There are always, I think, people lower down the chain waiting for a hint that this sort of thing is desired. They don't need a direct order to do it."

Again, the government is being run like a business, or a militia.

This here target of Obama as a witch doctor and my camo outfit and heavy weaponry are mere harmelsss hints, but don't try this at home.

Did anyone bring potato sald to this picnic?

I'd roll out a thing called the First Amendment.

how would asking you to demonstrate that you are actually in compliance with a section of law that you volunteered to subject yourself to be an infringement of your 1st Amendment rights?

you can still speak all you want to about the evils of government. you can still wear the stupid hat. you can still get dozens of stories every day on news sites.

you just have to prove that you're complying with the laws that you said you would (which presumably also contain clauses which give the IRS permission to demand that you give such proof when asked).

The taxprof does his usual great job of collecting links on this. More coverage in other posts at his site.

hint hint.

actually, that one was taken seriously.

nevermind.

If you filed a 501(c)(4) application with the IRS and your organization's title was "Committee for the Defeat of President Obama/Bush in the 2012/2004 Presidential Election," you probably should get some extra scrutiny.

That said, having "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in your name probably isn't enough, unless there was extra scrutiny going the other way.

Again, in the end, assuming restrictions on non-profit electioneering are Constitutional in the first place (and, AFAICT, at least some of them are even after Citizens United), then the IRS should be given enough resources to properly scrutinize all applications, rather than having to try and pick and choose.

how would asking you to demonstrate that you are actually in compliance with a section of law that you volunteered to subject yourself to be an infringement of your 1st Amendment rights?

You're right. I concede. It's fair game for the gov't to scrutinize private citizens who oppose the current administration and give those who support the current administration a pass. Maybe I should have mentioned equal protection, but then again, that probably wouldn't apply either. So, going forward, I'll just trust the gov't on this and every other thing it tells me.

then the IRS should be given enough resources to properly scrutinize all applications, rather than having to try and pick and choose.

Or not set the selection criteria to get a specific focus. That can be done without an extra infusion of cash, can it not? To take your point a bit further, can it be fairly restated like this: "Attention conservatives: if you want your gov't to not single you out, give us more of your money so we can do our jobs properly and single everyone out."

It's fair game for the gov't to scrutinize private citizens who oppose the current administration

now slow down there. y'all are going to have to prove that the groups were scrutinized because they opposed Obama. as far as i've read, you haven't actually done that yet.

we all know you desperately, deep-down-achingly want it to be true. but that's not enough to make it true.

I'm not sure about the rightly so.

Nor I.

Citizens' United was decided in Jan 2010, IIRC. Following that, there was, basically, an efflorescence of groups organized to spend private money in order to influence public opinion.

Most of those were conservative, and many were organized with names referring to the Tea Party, or the Constitution, or Conservatism.

There are rules - laws - that regulate that activity, and it's the IRS' job to enforce them. In the context of many 501(c)(4) applications, organized to spending lots of new money - hundreds of millions of dollars of new money - under brand new rules, it's not surprising to me that organizations that basically branded themselves as interested in, specifically, political activism would be of particular interest.

What's unique about the time frame is that so many of them were, at that time, conservative.

Ditto, audits on "a number of high profile, wealthy right wingers".

Maybe it's a deep dark conspiracy to suppress conservative political speech. Maybe that's just where the activity that the IRS was supposed to monitor happened to be.

I don't know. Neither does anyone reading this, at this point. But I find either completely plausible.

I agree that it is suspicious, and deserves to be investigated. I also agree that, even if reasonable on the substance, it was bone-headed for anyone to not recognize, immediately, that it was a bad, bad, bad idea, politically and otherwise.

But the basic idea of paying particular attention to new groups organized under 501(c)(4), immediately after CU, surprises me not at all. Nor does it surprise me that conservative groups would attract interest, because there were a hell of a lot of them, and a hell of a lot of money being spent with the explicit and publicly stated intent to influence elections.

Regarding the SEC, yes, it sounds like a big stinky PITA, but it also doesn't sound all that different or more onerous than any of the other jump-through-the-hoops fire drills that folks have to go through if they invest and derive income from publicly traded securities.

As does, for example, my wife. Tax time is an annual adventure.

I just figure it beats working.

George W. Bush to the IRS:

"Attention liberals and anti-war types, if you want the government to single you out and not give conservatives groups equal scrutiny, give us less of your money so the IRS can only afford to single you out."

The Obama IRS is just catching up with the other half of the job.

McTx: Or not set the selection criteria to get a specific focus. That can be done without an extra infusion of cash, can it not? To take your point a bit further, can it be fairly restated like this: "Attention conservatives: if you want your gov't to not single you out, give us more of your money so we can do our jobs properly and single everyone out."

So there should be no criteria for being granted tax-exempt status then? Cause that seems to be what you're saying.

Probably the removal of all tax-exempt statuses is just never going to come up in conversation.

...or even any tax-exempt statuses.

Wait just once minute. Everyone's talking about how the IRS was investigating 'conservative groups'.

Uh, no. The IRS was investigating 'social welfare' groups. That's what those Tea Party groups put in their application.

If they were 'conservative political groups', which is how everyone seems to be be describing them as, then the IRS was _entirely_ correct not just to investigate them, but to deny their application! 501(c)4 groups are not allowed to be primarily political.

The mere _framing_ of this, the framing of 'Tea Party' groups as _political groups_, makes the IRS's behavior _entirely correct_.

I swear, listening to discussion about this, it's like everyone is talking about how the mean FBI was unfairly investigating bank robbers, which everyone knows are bank robbers, that only live on the east side of town. Huh?

Yeah, okay, they probably should investigate people that everyone knows rob banks that live on the _other_ side of town, also, but everyone does realize they're standing there _admitting_ that _everyone knows_ those 'Tea Party' groups are political, and thus an investigation was warranted, pretty much by definition? Right?

If they were 'conservative political groups', which is how everyone seems to be be describing them as, then the IRS was _entirely_ correct not just to investigate them, but to deny their application!

Thank you.

Probably the removal of all tax-exempt statuses is just never going to come up in conversation.

Yeah, the founders limited the regulatory powers of the feds, but left them with the power to tax.

Ever since then, the tax regime has been the swiss-army-knife - the go-to use-it-anywhere tool - for implementing public policy.

I like (and I suppose I would) Toobin's take on this.

In light of this, it might be useful to ask: Did the I.R.S. actually do anything wrong?

[...]

It’s important to review why the Tea Party groups were petitioning the I.R.S. anyway. They were seeking approval to operate under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. This would require them to be “social welfare,” not political, operations. There are significant advantages to being a 501(c)(4). These groups don’t pay taxes; they don’t have to disclose their donors—unlike traditional political organizations, such as political-action committees. In return for the tax advantage and the secrecy, the 501(c)(4) organizations must refrain from traditional partisan political activity, like endorsing candidates.

If that definition sounds murky—that is, if it’s unclear what 501(c)(4) organizations are allowed to do—that’s because it is murky. Particularly leading up to the 2012 elections, many conservative organizations, nominally 501(c)(4)s, were all but explicitly political in their work. For example, Americans for Prosperity, which was funded in part by the Koch Brothers, was an instrumental force in helping the Republicans hold the House of Representatives. In every meaningful sense, groups like Americans for Prosperity were operating as units of the Republican Party. Democrats organized similar operations, but on a much smaller scale. (They undoubtedly would have done more, but they lacked the Republican base for funding such efforts.)

So the scandal—the real scandal—is that 501(c)(4) groups have been engaged in political activity in such a sustained and open way. As Fred Wertheimer, the President of Democracy 21, a government-ethics watchdog group, put it, “it is clear that a number of groups have improperly claimed tax-exempt status as section 501(c)(4) ‘social welfare’ organizations in order to hide the donors who financed their campaign activities in the 2010 and 2012 federal elections.”

This is the first time I have heard that a Tea Party organization had to be constituted for 'social welfare'. I challenge anyone to find me a news article from the heyday of the Tea Party discussing what they did as social welfare.

David TC:

Right!

"the Tea Party discussing what they did as social welfare."

They didn't turn off the oxygen valves on the Medicare-supplied oxygen containers and overturn the free Medicare scooters of their members carrying signs that read "Keep the Government's long black hands away from my Medicare, or we just might have to shoot someone."

It enhanced the social welfare of their members because the latter had to order free blood pressure pharmaceuticals to avoid their heads exploding, thus saving lives.

unfortunately, the "social welfare" requirement seems to be flexible enough to include 'educating the public about the issues', which is another way of saying 'shouting my opinion while wearing a stupid costume'.

you don't have to actually help anyone. you just have to pretend you are.

it's a bit of a farce.

it's a bit of a farce.

And according to The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell it is since 1959 when 'exclusively' got redefined as 'primarily' in this context (and later 'primarily' as '>50%').

OK, so this seems kind of damning, to me anyway.

It describes the disclosure by the IRS Cincinnati office of confidential documents submitted by conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status. Which, since the applications were denied, is apparently forbidden.

The article goes to explain the 10,000 ways in which the use of 501(c)(4)'s in recent election cycles richly deserved close scrutiny, however the disclosure by the Cincinnati IRS office of application materials from groups whose applications were denied ought not to have been allowed, if I understand the discussion correctly.

We do have a President who thought it appropriate to joke about auditing his enemies, after all.

Yeah, Brett, 'cause it's such a brilliant political move to make a joke about something like this if you know it is actually happening. Right.

Actually, I think that joke is probably the best indication that it was done without Obama's knowledge. Love him or hate him, nobody argues that Obama is the kind of political idiot who would order the IRS to behave that way, and then tell a joke about having it done.

wj - that's just what he'd have you think!

Actually, it's not a bad political move if you know the media are so deep in the tank for you they're suffering from nitrogen narcosis. The calculations of what you can get away with shift dramatically if you know the media have no interest in exposing anything you might do.

It does appear this might be shifting as a result of the FBI wiretapping the Associated Press. You can get away with an awful lot if the press like you, but you have to leave them out of the target list if you want to keep that status.

And they say it's just us Obots who think Obama is into 11th dimensional chess!

"And they say it's just us Obots who think Obama is into 11th dimensional chess!"

That's nothing. Now if you get the librul press to really really really hate you with a passion that defies all understanding you can http://www.history.com/topics/richard-m-nixon/photos>get elected to the presidency TWICE!

close, no cigar

Most of the report focuses on reprimanding the IRS for choosing ineffective criteria that could be construed as partisan rather than focusing on a partisan motive. Only about 15 percent of the potential cases had the terms “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12” in their organization name.

It's hard to overstate how frustrated Republicans have been over the last few years by their failure to gin up a juicy Obama administration scandal.

Sorry, but I deleted the link to the dissertation writing service, as writing pithy comments is probably not the best recommendation for such a service.

There are a lot of things that SHOULD bring the administration down. But since the exact same things have been committed by every administration in at least the last 100 years and are intended to be committed by every future administration (independent of party), there will be no (serious) calls for prosecution from the political establishment.
If American laws actually applied to US presidents/administrations, each and every SCOTUS since at least WW1 would have been condemned to either death or imprisonment for life (during the period when the death penalty was off the books for a few years).
If it was up to me, the constitution would be amended requiring every president and his cabinet to stand trial after leaving office (or better: after the end of each term). The problem would just be where to get a truly independent court. It would probably become a farce like the 'actio(nes) de repetundis' in ancient Rome.

"Sometimes a cigar ... can be milked."

Dr. Sigmund Issa

You didn't reallly write "alot," did you? Please tell me it was all a dream.

If this cigar blows, all else we find fascinating at the moment will become very small:

http://www.minyanville.com/business-news/markets/articles/Mexico-volcano-Popocatepeti-mexico-city-volcano/5/14/2013/id/49811

I don't watch the corporate media so it's hard for me to judge how far rightwing intellectual dishonesty has penetrated the "news". There seems to be three faux-outrages underway right now: the AP story, the IRS thing and Benghazi.

All are situations that become less substancial the more one knows about them. The Republicans are counting on people not knowing much about them. The "legs" come from repetition: just keep making accusations, keep making accusations, keep making accusations...

It's an old trick, a staple of how the Republican party has functioned for the last thrity years, at least.

Tomasky has an article in which he asserts that the R party will impeach Obama sooner or later for somehthing, and I believe he is probably right. If orders come down from Boehner to the Borg to vote for impeachment, they will do it and lack of a genuine basis will not stop them.

I say "orders from Boehner" recognizing that he is only marginally in charge of the House.

Issa has been running "investigations" contiuously ever since Obama got elected, hoping to find something. So it's an issue if Issa and his hysterical minions finding something that Boehner feels he can run with.

Mostly the Republican faux-outrage psuedo-scandals are used for fundraising, since Republican politicians know their base. Also useful for getting out the vote, since, again, they know their base is full of people who are motivated to participate in politics by hate and fear.

Impeachment is the goal, of course, but politicians like Boehner have enough sense to only attempt that if Obama's popularity dips substancially. Boehner is more the kick-you-when-you-are-down type.

Also it is possible that Boehner, weak as he is, will look back at the nineties and decide that the party cannot afford to expose their extremism quite so blatantly by an impeachment, at least not yet. Not until the polls show that people outside the base are actually falliing for one of their faux-outrage attempts.


There's no one left in the Republican party with any integrity. During Watergate, there were at that time Republicans who were capable of recognizing when members of their own party had gone off the rails and recognized that it was to the benefit of the party to face up and clean house. There aren't any Republicans in Congress now who think that way.

Nope, it's all partisanship all the time from them now.

Svensker - I shall overcome.

There's no one left in the Republican party with any integrity.

Laura, that is really a bit excessive. Now if you said there is no one left in the Republican Party in Congress you might have something of a case. I'd still say there are one or two exceptions, but at least it would be close.

Oh you are right! I meant in Congress.

Which is a statement I will stand by. Is any Congrressional Republican objecting to the last six years of hyperpartisan extremism on the part of their Congressional colleagues?

Senator Collins, perhaps? Maybe not denouncing the hyperpartisan extremism, but at least no participating in it reflexively. (It ain't much, admittedly -- except by comparison to the rest of the GOP there.)

Well this is how I think it works:


"First, it was Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire who tried to obscure her vote against background checks for private gun sales. Then Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona did so. Now, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio has done it, too."


That cut and paste had links embedded which didn't come through. What the links show is the Senator in question voted against background checks, the party line, but comiing from a moderate state, now has to lie to the constituents about the extremist position taken to stay in line with party expectations.

Elcted Republicans are hostage to two bosses: the crazy base (and Rush Limbuagh) and the money people like the Koch brothers or a Citizens United front like Rove's Crossroads.

If an elected Republican from a safe seat behaves in a moderate and rational manner, he/she will face a primary challenge and probably lose to an extremist who more accurately reflects the extermists who constitute the Republican primary voters.

If an elected Republican from outside a basically blue state, acts or votes or speaks in a moderate manner in oppostion to the partry line, then the money interests will withdraw their support: blackmail.

So the only elected Republicans who have any flexibility in what they do or say or vote are the ones from purple to blue states, and they have to keep a low profile, vote with the extremists on the critical issues, and mislead their constituents on their votes.

In short, regardless of how the Republican in Congress wishes to be, to stay in Congress they have to act, on the important issues, alike, and that means as hyperpartisan extremists.

Fair enough. But even within the hyper-partisan extremists there are still degrees of extreme. (And, sadly, competition to see who can be the most extreme.)

But even within the hyper-partisan extremists there are still degrees of extreme.

OK. All I ask for is parity. Of the 191 Democrats in the Howse, I'd expect to see 120 flat out socialists in all their ideological diversity (go to any radical meeting as see this phenomenon close up), 50 far left liberal types, 15 'moderates', and 6 "blue dogs". This, of course, is driven by my own peculiar definition of "the center", a highly subjective location it would seem.

As a minority, they would still not be able to pass anything except gas, but oh! What a minority!

I'm also reminded of this scene with the Obama Administration playing the part of Kevin Bacon to the GOP's Neidermeyer.

...writing pithy comments is probably not the best recommendation for such a service

nor is misspelling dissertation: "This was from the disseration writing service"

and the "bring up the bodies" phase of the investigation begins.....

the demigods of scandal demand ritual sacrifice. and acting directors can play the part of the offering as well an anyone can.

From russell's link, with emphasis added:

...resigned in the wake of a report that employees at the agency engaged in partisan scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

It seems presumptuous to assign that motivation, given the context that's already been discussed here - based on readily available information (which is why we were able to discuss it).

Or was that meant to mean that they scrutinized overt partisans, rather than being motivated by their own partisanship? I'm thinking not. The latter reading requires a lot (or alot) of squinting.

The latter reading requires a lot (or alot) of squinting.

but it's the only reading the matter is going to get, because it's the juiciest read, the easiest-to-understand, and it's most damaging to Obama.

Actually, I had it backwards. The former requires the squinting as far as the quoted text goes, which is what I was referring to. But the latter requires squinting as far as the examination of the situation in context goes, so I know what you mean, cleek.

David Cay Johnston has an interesting take on all this.

"It describes the disclosure by the IRS Cincinnati office of confidential documents submitted by conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status. Which, since the applications were denied, is apparently forbidden.

The article goes to explain the 10,000 ways in which the use of 501(c)(4)'s in recent election cycles richly deserved close scrutiny, however the disclosure by the Cincinnati IRS office of application materials from groups whose applications were denied ought not to have been allowed, if I understand the discussion correctly."

Wait. The article says only that the applications were "unapproved", not denied. As far as I understand it, only one or two groups had their applications denied, and they were liberal groups.

I vote for doing away with Section 501(c)(4) altogether.
Church businesses are profit motivated and do well for themselves.
Maybe we could help volunteer fire departments some other way.
We could then layoff more IRS agents reducing big government.

Andrea Seabrook, on NPR:
Questions In The Past

"These stories first arose when Issa ran for the Senate in 1998. An investigative reporter named Lance Williams was looking into the then-candidate's biography.

"He had been a soldier, and he claimed that he was part of an elite bomb detecting unit that guarded President Nixon at the 1971 World Series," said Williams.

Williams called up the Nixon Presidential Library, and was told that Nixon hadn't gone to any World Series games that year. Then Williams looked into Issa's purportedly stellar career in the Army.

"The biography that he was providing the press in the context of his campaign was all wrong. He had a bad conduct rating. He was demoted, and a fellow soldier accused him of stealing his car," said Williams.

Issa eventually took over the company that built car alarms.

Ryan Lizza, a reporter for The New Yorker magazine, detailed Issa's early business moves in a 2011 story.

The Fire

Issa had a warehouse full of electronics that, one night in 1982, caught fire. Investigators later found "suspicious burn patterns," Lizza reported, and found that Issa had done some odd things.

A co-worker claimed that before the fire, Issa had put important electronic prototypes in a fireproof box, and that he'd removed the business's computer and financial files from the building. Investigators also found that less than three weeks before the blaze, Issa had increased the company's fire insurance from $100,000 to more than $400,000.

"So you add the more than quadrupling of the insurance along with the taking the computer and putting the other stuff in a fireproof box, and you can see why both the arson investigators and the insurance investigators pointed a finger, you know, at Issa after this fire," said Lizza.

Issa said he had nothing to do with the fire, but the insurance company refused to pay the claim. The two later settled out of court.

It was in part because of these allegations that Issa lost his Senate bid in 1998. He went on to win his House seat, he worked to recall the governor of California, and now he chairs the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Issa would not talk to NPR about this, but he has told several news outlets over the years that he's surprised the allegations from his past continue to dog him."


Fakiing or exaggerating a military service record is par for the course with Republican politicians, of course. The arson is interesting, though.

"As far as I understand it, only one or two groups had their applications denied, and they were liberal groups."

Yes, some of them merely gave up after a year or two of endless intrusive questions.

The fact that some liberal groups got denied, and conservative groups either got approved or gave up after a long while, is actually a point against the IRS: It means that the conservative groups were not subject to actual review, they were just being harassed and stalled.

If you were a liberal group, you either got approved, or rejected for an articulated reason. If you were a conservative group, the process was simply endless, without any final determination you could challenge.

Of course, the fact that conservative groups were approved proves that they were discriminated against! Must be nice to live in a world where every fact conspires to prove you are right.

If you were a conservative group, the process was simply endless, without any final determination you could challenge.

i love how the scope goes from "some groups" at the start of Brett's post - which would be 'some' of the 75-ish that were (allegedly) unfairly targeted, out of the hundreds if not thousands that applied - to implying that all conservative groups ended up in an endless process.

facts just don't have a place in your narrative, do they, Brett?

The Bellmorian News Service: in the tank for subjectvity.

Cite? The Self

Hey, that's my source, too.

I'm deeply troubled that this Administration and this President have ordered the rape and harassment of so many female soldiers, while letting male soldiers traipse, that's right, traipse I say, through service without so much as a body cavity inspection.

If this President, who military men (I'm told by my source, Leftenant Voiceover, who reports from Broca's Area, behind the lines, as it were) worship as Commander in Chief, second only to their worship of poontang patriotism, had not banned and confiscated weapons with large clips in the military, this would not be happening, let me tell you, boy!

Could the quartering of troops in female officers' vaginas within the military be a dry run exercise for a wider program among the female civilian population?

Well that was an interesting hearing. My takeaway is that when you provide written answers to questions Congress has asked is not only to answer those questions but any other questions you might think Congress would have liked to have asked if they were paying closer attention or being more careful.

Also, Congress will not be satisfied with truthful answers.

Congress will not be satisfied with truthful answers.

none of this has anything to do with truth. it's about partisan posturing and political point-scoring.

...by both sides.

In this brewing scandal, porn stars are alleging discrimination by banks which are apparently denying and closing the performers' bank accounts.

http://money.msn.com/saving-money-tips/post.aspx?post=284c2069-3f64-48ff-9453-1fb2c2c7be5b

However, both sides do it.

Bankers are now complaining that their online porn accounts are being closed without explanation and/or charged fees for unidentifiable services.

...by both sides.

There you go again. Taking sides.

UMBRELLAGATE!!!!!

A real manly man president would not need any protection from rain (unless it's lead or iron).

I thought August was supposed to be the silly season in D.C.

9/11/12 changed everything

Just a tempest in a Tea Party pot.
Polls show that politically nothing has changed.
Stay optimistic that tax regs may change due to this snafu
and maybe shield laws too due to AP story.
Here's to HOPE

Planning on posting about this again this week.

If anyone has questions (if you're not bored to death already), put them in comments and I'll attempt to answer them.

Tomorrow congress is going to grill Tim Cook about Apples stateless income. Good times.

i'd like congress to grill less and get some work done.

maybe they should take the TV cameras out of the capitol. folks there seem to find them very distracting.

"I'd like congress to grill less and get some work done."

Fat chance.

http://www.occasionalplanet.org/2013/05/18/heritage-foundation-to-congress-dont-legislate-scandal-gate/

By chance, will this be only the second "idea" the Heritage Foundation has come up over the past 40 years that Republican conservatives don't want on a train, in the rain, etc?

No, they're going to love it.

Fine, stop governance.

And then get on with bloody violence.

Work? The Republican Congress thinks this is work. Destroying government is its work.

i'd like congress to grill less and get some work done

I'd prefer it if Congress could get more of the things that it's supposed to do done, and get less of the other crap done.

For me, the latest legislation brought up to address the latest emergency always seems to be the center of attention.

Pass a budget. That would be nice.

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Whatnot


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