Legit Scandal

IRS

Recently ReflectionEphemeral posted on the IRS scandal:

On a scale of 1-10, the IRS scandal seems to me about a 3. It is improper to focus on one side’s fundraising groups. An overall examination of supposedly tax-exempt organizations would probably be worthwhile. But they didn’t audit or persecute people; they sent them additional questionnaires.

Recently, nickgb got me thinking that perhaps profiling groups isn’t that bad an idea.  In fact, it’s an idea that I have been a proponent of in the gun debate.  As such, RR may have a point.  Overtly political groups may need to be audited.  However, it might be nice if such political groups were audited in equal measure based on their ideology; right and left groups.

However, in RR’s post, he pointed out the fact that there maybe a bigger scandal:

If someone at the IRS actually took confidential information and sent it out, that’s unequivocally a crime.

Well, as it turns out:

ProPublica on Monday reported that the same IRS division that targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny during the 2012 election cycle provided the investigative-reporting organization with confidential applications for tax-exempt status.

That revelation contradicts previous statements from the agency and may represent a violation of federal guidelines. Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS sector that reviews tax-exemption applications, told a congressional oversight committee in April 2012 that IRS code prohibited the agency from providing information about groups that had not yet been approved.

As an interesting experiment I Googled “ProPublica IRS”:

Not one single major news source on the first page.  And when I include “CBSnews” in the search I do get a New York CBS affiliate and, at the bottom, a cbsnews.com story about how the scandals benefits conservatives.  And even that story is lifted from Slate.

Anyway, it would seem that we now have a legit scandal.  We’ll see if it goes anywhere.

4 responses to “Legit Scandal

  1. Profiling may be legit, but in this case it violated rules. The scandal has gone somewhere. Obama has ordered an investigation, and the Secretary of the Treasury has demanded the resignation of the director of the IRS. I suspect some IRS employees will be fired or demoted (or go get higher paying private sector jobs).

    • Profiling may be legit, but in this case it violated rules.

      If it isn’t legal, it should be. I have to admit that nickgb was right on that point.

      the Secretary of the Treasury has demanded the resignation of the director of the IRS.

      He was leaving anyway:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2325223/Obama-fires-acting-IRS-commissioner-pressure-grows-surrounding-political-targeting-conservative-groups-sought-tax-exempt-status.html

      I suspect some IRS employees will be fired or demoted (or go get higher paying private sector jobs).

      Or tried criminally, as RR asserted in his post concerning leaking private documents.

      • Well, he said he’s leaving at the end of his active appointment. The president would likely have kept him in until a permanent director was appointed, absent the scandal. So I think it’s fair to call it firing.

        As for the profiling point, I should be clearer. It’s not profiling to take closer looks at groups whose main purpose is to not pay taxes. Profiling would be if we noticed most tax evaders were white men and thus went after the KKK. When a member of Al Qaeda gets extra screening at an airport, that’s not profiling. When an Arab male gets extra screening simply because most members of AQ are Arab men, that’s profiling. The distinction is crucial.

        • Well, he said he’s leaving at the end of his active appointment.

          I think that his tour was up in June.

          It’s not profiling to take closer looks at groups whose main purpose is to not pay taxes. Profiling would be if we noticed most tax evaders were white men and thus went after the KKK. When a member of Al Qaeda gets extra screening at an airport, that’s not profiling.

          You seem to be saying that it’s okay to profile if the individual self identifies.

          That is, if I join the local Al Qaeda club, or KKK club or Tea Party club, I’m a legit subject for increased scrutiny. Are you then okay with profiling inner city gang bangers for stop and frisk? For invasive home inspections for guns? If it’s okay to search the homes of self identified gun owners, can I search the homes of self identified gang members? Or self identified felons?

          Additionally, what is the legal distinction between self identifying, Tea Party or Bloods, and a simple demographic profile?

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