The Real IRS Scandal

Thom Hartmann

Yesterday, in response to recent IRS admissions, President Obama called the enhanced investigation of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status “intolerable and inexcusable.”  And, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a criminal investigation into the allegations against the IRS.  But both of them are missing the point.

The scandal here is not that political groups were targeted by the IRS, it’s the fact that political groups are being subsidized by John Q. Taxpayer.  Groups that are politically motivated, and not really “social welfare” organizations, shouldn’t receive preferential tax treatment in the first place – regardless of their political affiliation.

A report by the Inspector General stated that “ineffective management” at the IRS allowed conservative groups to be targeted for over 18 months, and resulted in substantial delays in the processing of their non-profit applications.  But, the real “ineffective management” here was Congress’s failure to regulate these organizations, and enforce transparency.  And, what’s truly “intolerable and inexcusable” is the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen United decision, which opened the campaign-finance floodgates in the first place.

The IRS shouldn’t be apologizing for investigating phony “nonprofit” organizations, they should be investigating all politically-motivated groups who want to be subsidized by the taxpayers.  Congress has repeatedly rejected campaign finance reform, and Citizens United moved oversight from the Federal Elections Commission to the IRS.   It’s impossible to create and enforce reasonable guidelines based on an unreasonable Supreme Court decision.

The only way to really fix this problem is to amend our Constitution to say that money isn’t speech, and corporations aren’t people.  Let’s make it happen.  Join the fight at MoveToAmend.org.

Originally posted at ThomHartmann.com.

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