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Monday, May 20, 2013

GOP Rep. addresses the problem he wants you to believe the IRS has

The Hill: House Republicans last week proposed legislation that would suspend the ability of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to conduct audits until the IRS itself is audited by Congress.

The bill, from Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), is the latest in a string of measures that have been offered in the wake of the IRS’s admission it applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups over the last few years. Republicans have said those activities were politically motivated and went unreported by senior Obama administration officials in the run-up to the 2012 election.

“We’re seeing the tip of the iceberg,” Fleming said last week. “Tea party groups, conservative professors, opinion makers who dared to speak out against Obama, and even Billy Graham were targeted for interrogations that dug into private records, seeking information on everything from donor names to Facebook posts.
See, here’s the thing though; that’s not the problem. “I hate to keep confusing the ‘narrative’ with facts, but when it comes to the 501(c)(4s), we aren’t talking about tax audits,” Ed Kilgore clarifies. “These were reviews of applications that nobody was required to submit, and that nobody needed to submit unless they were pretty sure they were on the borders of political activities incompatible with tax-exempt status (otherwise, they could just file their tax returns like anyone else and claim tax-exempt status). As for the Graham ‘charities,’ these were 501(c)(3)s that are subject to much stricter scrutiny, and were gearing up for a massive political ad campaign in North Carolina in favor of a same-sex marriage ban. Even then, nobody was kicking down Billy Graham’s door and seizing his files or assets; it was a review of the organizations’ status, which was quickly concluded.”

Fleming’s bill isn’t designed to address any real problem, but instead is meant to confuse people about the nature of the IRS controversy. He — along with a lot of other Republicans — wants you to believe that the IRS was ready to throw people in jail, rather than just asking them to fill out a little extra paperwork… That is, if they wanted to. They could always just refuse. In any case, no one was being audited — this is bullshit.

“It’s all based on a lie bordering on a Big Lie,” Kilgore says. It doesn’t qualify as the Big Lie because they aren’t actually saying it straight out. They’re supplying you with misleading information and letting you fill in the blanks, making up your own Big Lie.

I think Kilgore’s giving Fleming way too much credit for honesty. If he gets off the liar charge, it’s only on a technicality. The result is the same, after all.

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