To the editor — Everyone from both sides of the aisle is expressing obligatory outrage at the “scandal” in which the IRS put new “tea party” groups under scrutiny. While I’m sure that this warrants a thorough investigation, it sounds to me like a proverbial No Big Deal.
The IRS searching for the words “tea party” in the names of new groups applying for tax-exempt status is not the same thing as the IRS targeting conservative groups. During the time in question, there were a whole slew of new 501(c)4 groups claiming some type of tea party affiliation, who just so happened to have a conservative agenda. With people like Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers pouring millions into these thinly disguised lobbying groups, it’s quite possible the IRS was simply doing its job and doing it well. As Arn Pearson of Common Cause said, the IRS should do more, not less, scrutinizing of political groups.
Our history is filled with episodes of the government targeting liberal and peace-oriented groups in far worse ways than just trying to prevent billionaires from buying elections and getting tax write-offs at the same time. It’s beginning to look like conservatives are even better whiners than we bleeding hearts.