There are two guaranteed things in life: death and taxes. One would like to hope that both would be fair.
As recently as three years ago, most would not think those two were related unless speaking of the estate tax, properly referred to as the death tax. However, with the passage of Obamacare in 2010, that changed. When President Obama’s signature healthcare legislation became the law of the land, it came to light that the IRS would be responsible for the enforcement of Obamacare. Yes, that is correct… The Tax Man, would now be involved in healthcare issues.
Sometime not long after the passage of Obamacare, the IRS began targeting conservative grassroots groups seeking a non-profit status. As these reports began to surface, it became increasingly evident that this was an effort by those in power to silence the opposition.
The IRS was not merely asking for additional financial information in order to grant non-profit status, they wanted information such as social media postings, copies of email exchanges with supporters, confidential donor information, identification of members of Congress who support the conservative group and even the relationship or affiliation with other leaders within the movement. The IRS requests were, in legal terms, overly broad and unduly burdensome.
Volunteers run most of these organizations. Not only are they not paid for grassroots organizing, but they don’t have staff to assist them either. Therefore, instead of spending available time on issues the organization opposed or supported, they were spending all resources on complying with the IRS.
Why the Tea Party?
In early 2009, the tea party/grassroots movement rose up as a loud voice against the increased spending and growing size of the federal government. After President Obama took office and began to implement his agenda, the movement grew and became even more resistant to his policies. Obamacare was the issue that galvanized the movement. People engage when things affect them personally; nothing is more personal than healthcare. We saw the results of that galvanization in the recess town halls of 2010 and the sweeping victories in the 2010 midterms.
The midterms shocked everyone, not just the Democrats, but Republicans too when conservatives took back the House. The Democrats knew they had to do something to slow the momentum of this grassroots army. The only solution was to silence the opposition. How do you silence the opposition when you are in power? You use the most powerful weapon you have or the most feared government agency in the country… The Tax Man!
It doesn’t matter if this is ethical or legal. What good is being in power if you cannot use all bureaucracies under your control to further your cause?
Remember, the IRS falls under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury. The Secretary of the Treasury serves the President of the United States. Therefore, at the end of the day, the administration is accountable for the actions of the IRS.
This is not about Tea Party vs. Barack Obama or Tea Party vs. IRS. This is about those in power abusing that power. The United States Federal Government is a government by the people, for the people. When we elect people that then abuse that power in an effort to further their agenda or to affect electoral outcomes, all Americans better take notice. Next time, the roles could be reversed. It could be a Republican administration targeting Organizing for America or MoveOn.org by way of the IRS, or indirectly by the Republican President of the United States.
As details continue to emerge, information is showing that this intimidation was not just being done to “Tea Party” groups, but to other groups as well, including proponents of small government, religious groups and pro-Israeli groups.
One of our fundamental rights as American citizens is the First Amendment. The behavior by the IRS is a clear violation of our First Amendment rights and freedom of speech. Not only is it a clear violation of those rights, but those in power are using a bureaucracy as a political weapon in a fight for electoral wins.
It is time for every American to stand up and oppose this behavior, regardless of what your political beliefs are.
We need an administration that does not use Chicago style politics to further their agenda. Government is for the people and by the people. The IRS is a product of the government, not of the people. An apology is not enough.
As we all know, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This administration needs to man up and accept responsibility. We are not your subjects. We are your employers and we demand accountability for this abuse of power.