Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

May 17, 2013

‘Patriot’ games at the IRS

It sounds like the plot from a dystopian libertarian novel. The word “patriot” and the phrase “educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights” triggered heightened scrutiny from the most intrusive agency in the federal government.

We now know that the Internal Revenue Service did indeed target conservative groups, as had long been rumored and oft-denied. The news is a perverse confirmation of the groups’ worldview, and a challenge to President Barack Obama’s. He always harangues us about putting more trust in government, and then you find out that the IRS has been singling out his political enemies.

This isn’t an unaccustomed role for the IRS. It was notoriously used as a partisan bludgeon by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, an abuse that was a Watergate impeachment count.

In this case, the IRS gave special scrutiny to conservative groups filing for tax-exempt status as so-called 501(c)(4) organizations. Their applications would be flagged if an offending phrase or issue popped up, say, “tea party,” or statements criticizing “how the country is being run,” or concern about the federal debt. Then, the group might be hit with massive document requests and queries about the activities of family members of board members and key officers.

No one defends the propriety of any of this. President Obama says it is “outrageous,” and even the IRS calls it, drawing on that elastic Washington word, “inappropriate.”

So how did it happen? The IRS explanation is that it was an innocent mistake by the rubes out in the Cincinnati office, who apparently lack an appreciation for objectivity and the rule of law, not to mention common sense.

We will learn soon enough how this holds up. But Ken Vogel, a reporter at Politico who has covered the IRS, says via twitter that the “Cincinnati office has little autonomy” and “mostly just follows DC’s instructions.”

Text Only
Commentary
  • Adopting Indiana? Or a 'deadbeat parent'? This past week we’ve learned that the State of Indiana has essentially stiffed 1,400 families who have adopted special needs children. The subsidies they were promised to raise kids in the state’s foster child program have been denied, prompting one

    July 12, 2014

  • Chicago's shooting spree |For most of the country, July Fourth weekend means hot dogs, fireworks and relaxing time with family. In certain neighborhoods in Chicago, it means something very different. For the second year running, Chicago saw a spate of violence over the long

    July 10, 2014

  • Financial hardships mount for military families |Days before the July 4th holiday, Holly Petraeus stood on the steps of the imposing Indiana War Memorial, in front of a bank of cameras, and made a plea to military families: Don’t let pride stand in the way of asking for help. It was a striking mes

    July 7, 2014

  • Science is science, but math is math |For people who use the word "science" as a bludgeon and trumpet their strict commitment to fact and reason, the Obama administration and its supporters are strangely incapable of rational analysis of new climate-change regulations. President Barack

    June 19, 2014

  • A throne by any other name … |“It’s time to get serious about what happens in the bathroom.” Have you heard this commercial? It always irritates me. Nobody gets that serious about their toilet paper, do they? I didn’t think so, but we’ve lived in our current house for nearly 20

    June 19, 2014

  • The 'swift-boating' of Bowe Bergdahl |As the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap has curdled from presumed triumph to public-relations nightmare, the White House and its defenders have cast about for excuses why the administration's negotiating brilliance has gone unappreciated. White House sta

    June 11, 2014

  • Letters to the editor |To the Editor: In 1977 as we planned to move here, I listened to and studied Jay Foonberg, a California criminal and tax lawyer, on how to build your own law practice. He said there are 10 things you must know that you do not about the American pub

    June 11, 2014

  • Don't celebrate Bergdahl's release President Barack Obama marked the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with a Rose Garden event with the captive soldier's parents and triumphant assurances that "the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind." When wa

    June 11, 2014

  • The hashtag idiocy It takes a nearly impenetrable obtuseness to conclude that the most salient thing to know about University of California Santa Barbara killer Elliot Rodger is that he was a white male who didn't like women. Yet many liberal commentators have managed

    June 7, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor To the Editor: I continue in amazement at the rehashing of the tired arguments put forth regarding the need to further control guns as put forth in Brian Howey's column. In Howey's "report," he sets forth that guns are responsible for the deaths they

    June 7, 2014

House Ads
Hendricks County Marquee
Email News Sign Up
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Has the rash of shootings in Indianapolis made you reconsider attending an event or patronizing a business there? Yes, it's out of control No, it's no more dangerous than anywhere else

     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Must Read