September 28, 2011 |
Last year, as the Karl Rove-backed group Crossroads GPS dumped more than $17 million into helping elect Republicans in congressional districts across the country, a duo of campaign finance reform advocates asked the IRS to investigate the special tax status claimed by Rove's group. As a self-styled “social welfare” group, Crossroads was able to accept unlimited anonymous donations and used the money to air advertisements supporting or opposing candidates. Today, those same reform advocates have gone back to the IRS with a new complaint aimed not just at Rove's group, but at three others, including one group that was started last spring by former Obama aides. In a letter sent to the IRS on Wednesday, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center challenged the social welfare tax status claimed by Crossroads GPS, American Action Network, Priorities USA and Americans Elect. “The idea that these organizations are social welfare groups is nonsense,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21. “The overriding purpose of these groups is to participate in and influence elections, which makes them ineligible for tax exempt status.” Jim Landry, a spokesman for American Action Network - a group that spent $26 million on election advertising in 2010 -- called the IRS petition “a baseless complaint.” “The American Action Network takes its legal responsibilities seriously and complies with all of them,” Landry...
August 22, 2013 |
Republicans have been blistering the Internal Revenue Service for months over its notorious targeting of tea party groups applying for tax-exempt status. Now a leading House Democrat and three campaign reform advocacy groups are suing the IRS for not taking a tough enough line against politicized nonprofits. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen asked a federal judge in the District of Columbia on Wednesday to force the tax agency to amend its rules on "social welfare" organizations.
May 17, 2013 |
The scandal surrounding the Internal Revenue Service's handling of applications for tax-exempt status by "tea party" groups and other right-leaning organizations took a sharp turn at the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday. In addition to decrying how those groups' applications were flagged for extra scrutiny, Republicans on the panel -- especially Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) -- argued that the Obama administration had covered up the problem for more than a year. "Listening to the nightly news, this appears to be just the latest example of a culture of cover-ups -- and political intimidation -- in this administration," Camp said , according to my colleagues Melanie Mason and Jim Puzzanghera.
May 29, 2013 |
Should you need a license from the government to exercise free speech? The real scandal at the Internal Revenue Service should be seen not as a left-versus-right issue but instead as infringement on the 1st Amendment. The people targeted were political entrepreneurs with unorthodox political voices. More to the point, IRS discrimination was consistent with 40 years of institutionalized hostility by the federal government to such views. Elections in a free country are not truly free unless all voices are allowed to enter the marketplace of ideas.
March 25, 2013 |
The Internal Revenue Service has apologized for spending about $60,000 on a training video that parodied the television show, “Star Trek.” In a six-minute video that is attracting wide attention on the Internet, IRS workers portrayed characters from the popular television series and vowed “to boldly go where no governmental employee has gone before.” Congress was not amused, calling the video a waste of taxpayer money. The IRS has acknowledged it was a mistake for employees to make the video.
May 14, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said Tuesday that he had ordered a criminal investigation into allegations that top IRS officials targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny. “I have ordered an investigation to be begun,” he said. “The FBI is coordinating with the Justice Department to see if any laws were broken in connection with those matters related to the IRS. Those were, I think, as everyone can agree, if not criminal, they were certainly outrageous and unacceptable, but we are examining the facts to see if there were criminal violations.” He said the investigation, begun Friday, will be looking to see whether Internal Revenue Service officials “have gone beyond what they were supposed to do, broken regulations, broken rules, broken the law. We have prosecuted people.
May 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Crossroads GPS, the behemoth conservative advocacy group behind some of the most robust attacks against President Obama's administration, said Monday that it believes it is among the organizations subjected to special scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service. The statement by the group comes as campaign finance reform advocates and congressional Democrats have claimed that the IRS failed to examine the activities of Crossroads and other major political players , even as agents in Cincinnati were inappropriately flagging conservative groups based on terms such as “tea party” and “patriot.” But on Monday, a spokesman for Crossroads said the group's experience with the IRS indicates that it was also caught in the dragnet.
May 22, 2013 |
Message to the president: Resistance is futile. There are plenty of juicy targets for investigators in the IRS scrutiny of conservative organizations that applied for tax-exempt status, but the most dangerous for President Obama is this: Did bureaucrats in Cincinnati create this mess on their own? Or did someone in the White House give the marching orders to target the president's enemies? The Treasury Department's inspector general asked that latter question of the IRS brass, and they said no - but he didn't demand their emails and phone records.
May 14, 2013 |
If the hand-wringing over revelations that the IRS gave additional scrutiny to "tea party" groups and other conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status is as widespread as the coverage makes it seem, that anger hasn't spread to a place where outrage normally lives: The Times' mailbag. More than a dozen readers -- an unusually low count for such a made-for-indignation topic -- have sent their thoughts on the IRS scandal to email@example.com. Most of the reaction can be described as a collective shrug; some declare that no political groups (liberal ones included)
September 11, 2012 |
It pays to rat out your tax-dodging clients. A former banker who helped wealthy Americans illegally evade taxes, and later confessed his transgressions and cooperated with the government, has been awarded $104 million in what appears to be the largest-ever whistleblower case. Bradley Birkenfeld, a globe-trotting financier at Swiss banking giant UBS, helped rich Americans set up phony companies to conceal secret Swiss bank accounts. He gave them credit cards to access their hidden cash.