GOP on witch hunt, but IRS reviews not tied to Dems

June 17, 2013 

The June 10 Bradenton Herald article "IRS manager: White House not involved in reviews," appears to refute the accusations of Rep. Daryl Issa and other Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that President Obama initiated the IRS "targeting" of tea party groups.

A manager of the Cincinnati office of the IRS, who describes himself as a conservative Republican, testified before the committee that it was he, not the White House, who initiated the reviews of the applications of tea party groups for tax-exempt status.

Republicans have claimed that the IRS "targeted" tea party groups because they are critical of Democrats and Obama, and the Washington office of the IRS initiated the close inspection of the applications, but have offered no proof.

Even after the testimony of this Cincinnati IRS manager, Issa said, "The testimony excerpts revealed today did not provide anything enlightening or contradict other witness accounts."

So, if other witnesses have also testified that the "targeting" did not originate in Washington, why is Issa continuing his witch hunt against the president? The answer is that this investigation is politically motivated.

The fact is that the reviews of these tea party applications was initiated because of the inordinate amount of applications for tax-exempt status from these political groups, which are not entitled to this status. When Congress passed the law concerning tax-exempt status for groups, 501(c)(4)'s, the language said these groups must be exclusively engaged in social welfare.

Years later, the IRS inexplicably changed the word "exclusively" to "primarily," which has allowed groups such as Republican Karl Rove's "Crossroads GPS" and a Democratic organization, "Priorities USA," to pour millions of dollars into political ads during campaigns -- which has nothing to do with social welfare.

I support an investigation into the operations of the IRS, but not one that is primarily motivated by partisan politics.

Carol Gazell


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