In case you missed it, Tea Partiers around the country are mad at the IRS.
Long story short: the IRS isn't supposed to let any old group be exempt from paying taxes. Agency rules dictate that it is only supposed to grant 501 (c)(4) status to "social welfare" groups -- ones that don't make politics their "primary activity." So some IRS workers who were reviewing applications flagged groups that had "tea party" and "patriots" in their names, often requesting additional information from them before determining whether or not to grant the tax-exempt status.
If you thought this was logical, or thought that Tea Partiers -- whose rallying issue is fiscal responsibility in government -- would be glad that IRS agents were doing due diligence and making sure that the Treasury doesn't get scammed, think again.
Tea Partiers felt like there was a witch hunt for them, and complained. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration spent two years investigating (because Big Government). Last Tuesday, the IG issued its report , and while it found that none of the flagged tea party groups were ultimately denied tax-exempt status, it conceded that IRS employees had used "inappropriate criteria" in deciding which applications to flag.
Though one White House adviser dared to suggest that the whole matter was not "an actual real scandal", for the most part, even liberal news organizations are bowing to the Tea Party, saying the IRS committed an "egregious violation." President Obama said he was "angry" about it, and two top IRS officials lost their jobs. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hollered, "This is runaway government at its worst. Who knows who they'll target next?"
Now the right wing is taking its huffy outrage a step further, demanding that Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz return $4,500 she received in campaign contributions from the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents about 150,000 employees in 31 federal agencies, including the IRS.
A press release from the National Republican Congressional Committee read: "The IRS has been embroiled in controversy all week for improperly investigating conservative groups. But as the agency was targeting these organizations, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was gleefully cashing checks from the IRS's union and the National Republican Congressional Committee is ready to hold her accountable for her hypocrisy."
"No wonder Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants higher taxes - her campaign is funded by the IRS," said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek. "She should be ashamed of herself. It's time for her to come clean and return the contributions immediately."
To paraphrase Alice in Wonderland, it's getting ridiculouser and ridiculouser. Whatever. As long as the government doesn't start picking on journalists!
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