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IRS looked right, left, and in between

What’s to be made of the news that the IRS didn’t limit its screening of organizations applying for not-for-profit status to right-wing groups? For one thing, it may take some of the starch out of contentions by Peggy Noonan and others that the Obama administration specifically targeted political opponents or is now blighted by something worse than a mere “cancer on the presidency.” That the IRS also had on its list of watchwords such terms as “progressive” and “occupy”—and that pro-Obamacare advocacy groups were also swept up in the net—doesn’t quite hint at the vast left-wing conspiracy some seemed to be longing for.

On the other hand, that the IRS’s screening effort was apparently much broader than originally thought only adds fuel to the furor over government intrusiveness. Will tea party patriots now find common ground with ACA advocates? Or open-source software groups and proponents of electronic healthcare data exchange with those whose applications included the words “occupied territory advocacy” and "medical marijuana"? They were also singled out for secondary evaluation.

Congressional Democrats want to know why initial reports suggested that only right-wing groups were targeted, which (falsely, it would appear) imputed political motives to the IRS’s activities. Other groups want to know why there was a screening protocol at all—no matter how narrow, broad, prejudicial, nonpartisan, or as focused on software developers it was. Yes, “was”: On Monday, acting IRS commissioner Daniel I. Werfel formally ordered an immediate end to the screening effort.

About the Author

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s digital editor.



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My guess is that half of all requests to IRS for non-profit staus are fraudulent.. the GOP/FOX News shouting scandal is the real  scandal

Ed Gleason! Exactly. Now that the IRS has had to give up its collander all kinds of cons are going to slip into our national life.

But I don't know why this became a story yesterday because I read that the IRS was an equal opportunity questioner at least three weeks ago. No longer recall where. And obviously, only one news outlet didn't take that into account in its drumbeat. But for the MSM to report it once and then come back to report it breathlessly a second time shows what we are putting up with.

The initial story that the government under Obama targeted conservatives is embedded in the public consciousness, and will not be eradicated.

Why would one presume that searching for "progressive" applications was not an attempt to aid and abet their acceptance by the IRS?    Isn't that the more logical inference?

Mark Proska, No.

It's a bit more complicated:

"Overall, George wrote, 30 percent of groups with "progress" or "progressive" in their names received tough processing because of their political activities. That compared to 100 percent of organizations with "Tea Party," ''Patriots" or "9/12" in their names, George said."


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