Skip to comments.Nonconservative Groups Say IRS Scrutinized Them, Too (NPR)
Posted on 05/19/2013 11:14:54 AM PDT by Drango
The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner . A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.
Attention has focused on the IRS' flagging of these groups starting in 2010. But some liberal groups and journalism organizations say their applications for tax-exempt status also faced long delays and were closely scrutinized during the same period.
The year 2010 began a busy period for the IRS office in Cincinnati, the home of the tax-exempt determinations unit. That January, the Supreme Court handed down its Citizens United decision, which loosened the rules governing contributions to political causes and candidates. Applications flooded in to the office from groups seeking tax-exempt status, many with a political agenda.
The IRS has admitted it flagged applications from groups with "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in their names. But applications from other groups were closely scrutinized as well.
An Austin, Texas-based progressive group, Progress Texas, was one of them. Its executive director, Ed Espinoza, says it took almost a year and a half for the IRS to review the application from his organization. The process included answering a detailed questionnaire.
"It was nine pages and 21 questions, and inside those 21 questions, there were additional questions," Espinoza says. "So it was fairly extensive, and it was fairly thorough."
In 2010, some 1,700 applications for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status came into the Cincinnati office. That number nearly doubled by 2012. Yet according to the , just one person was originally given the task of sifting through the applications deemed politically sensitive. Marcus Owens, a former IRS official, says that's a lot of work for one staffer. Related NPR Stories President Obama checks to see if it's still raining as a Marine holds an umbrella for him during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Thursday. Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller (right) and J. Russell George, a Treasury inspector general, take the oath before testifying on before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday. The John Weld Peck Federal Building in Cincinnati, where many of the missteps by IRS workers who targeted conservative groups occurred.
"These were applications that were identified because they were likely to have issues that were complex, which means that they were going to take more time," Owens says. "So it seems like that would be more than one person could easily handle."
Another application that seemingly got caught up in the backlog came from a group of journalists in Chicago. The Chicago News Cooperative provided news for the Midwest edition of The New York Times. The co-op also sought tax-exempt status. Veteran journalist James O'Shea, a former managing editor of The Chicago Tribune, was in charge.
"There were political organizations trying to get these exemptions, and I think the IRS was concerned and probably appropriately so that some of these news organizations were really political organizations," he says, "and so they were examining that, and we just got caught up in that."
For more than two years, the Chicago News Cooperative waited for an IRS ruling. But without tax-exempt status, foundation support dried up, and the cooperative went out of business.
Progress Texas did eventually get its tax-exempt status. Espinoza says he has no trouble with the scrutiny his organization underwent.
"Look, if you want a tax exemption, you've got to jump through some hoops," he says. "You need to be able to demonstrate that what you're doing is legitimately a tax-exempt activity, and that's what we saw it as."
There's no sign the backlog of applications for tax-exempt status at the IRS has eased. Owens, now a tax lawyer in Washington, says according to the IRS website, the agency is now looking at applications made in March of last year. That means there are some 20,000 applications still in the queue.
Finally, to mock conservatives they had the token libel say he had "no trouble with the examination." The odious implication is that conservatives were objecting to a fair review.
Note the shift in the debate. It's no longer about being "targeted", conservatives according to NPR are now objecting to being examined or scrutinized at all.
You knew that defense was coming. The Alinsky folks are well trained.
OR, the lefties were really smart, and set this up beforehand, in cooperation with NPR of course, and with reassurances to them that nothing would be used in a detrimental way, just SO they could pull it out later if their crimes became known.
Though the line of questioning was generally the same, there were some key differences between the lists of questions.
The Liberty Township Tea Party was asked to provide copies of all its activity on Facebook and Twitter, while the Progress Texas was not. The Liberty Township Tea Party was asked for more specific information about the employment background of its officials, including copies of resumes, while Progress Texas was asked for more general information. The tea party group was also asked whether any of its officials had served on the board of another organization or planned to run for office.
Unless, I'm mistaken, this overstates the numbers problem by an order of magnitude--wasn't 2700 the # of applications that were overwhelming to IRS the year they started the inquisition? This may be conflating the 501's with other categories of tax exemption.
A really popular straw man is “no groups were denied!”
Completely ignoring the legal fees and red tape that stymied said groups unfairly.
They have every logical fallacy ready to defend this administration.
Consider the source.
Didn’t he get the memo, they already confessed to it. Now he’s trying to cover for them. He’s too late with his liberal blanket - so much for ‘progress’.
It morphs from an “exam” to harassment when the questions have nothing to do with making money/income....such as the content of prayers.
Just like if one applies for a job and they ask how you vote and if you have any black friends—and what books you read-and please recite the prayer you say at bedtime-—
That’s harassment....these people are just plain fiendish and immoral....
The IRS would like to apologize. Unfortunately you have “Texas” in your name. That was one of our keywords to ensnare conservatives. Your application has been approved and we are sorry for any inconvenience.
The arguments like this one are senseless, because it was the IRS, itself, who said (and apologized for) targeting conservative groups. The deed was done, there’s no arguing about that, by their owning up to it, these types of articles are just trying to distract.
My thorough rebuttal from yesterday is here:
“ZERO Liberal Groups Targeted by IRS”
We knew this was coming. If everyone was scrutinized that means that they were all treated equally so no foul, eh? I call BS. Get the names and heads of these groups and I’ll lay 10 to 1 odds you’ll find connections back to 0’s administration or people hired to lie to perpetrate this illusion that are tied to the President. I get so tired of the deception of this “transparent” administration...
Imagine my surprise to see that the headline is pretty much a lie. The closest thing to “scrutiny” offered in support of the Chicago journalist group’s tale of woe is that they “seemingly got caught up in the backlog”.
Mistakes were made.
This sort of negates the argument that an organization can operate successfully prior to getting approval.
LOL< so now regular audits are being compared to what just about everyone admits were criminal acts. Is that it?
The interim head of the IRS stepped down NPR. Why do you imagine he did that, if there were nothing wrong here?
You folks need to call in to your fellow traveler contacts at the White House, and get on the same page. IDIOTS!
It does, and indeed is the basis for the ACLJ’s lawsuit to be filed this week on behalf of many (17?) Tea Party groups.