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Plenty to Be Steamed About in the IRS Scandal: Dave’s Diary

A couple of days ago the Yakima Herald Republic ran a letter to the editor called “Let’s not get steamed about IRS” written by The Reverend Ken Jones. I don’t know Mr. Jones but at the risk of incurring the wrath of his ultimate employer, resulting in my eternal steaming, I have to say that I AM steamed and I feel called to respond. So borrowing some good thoughts from the Good Book, here from my irreverent perspective, is the book on the IRS and its targeting scandal.

Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing Recent IRS Screening Scandal
Win McNamee/Getty Images

From the letter to the YHR<

To the editor — Everyone from both sides of the aisle is expressing obligatory outrage at the “scandal” in which the IRS put new “tea party” groups under scrutiny. While I’m sure that this warrants a thorough investigation, it sounds to me like a proverbial No Big Deal.

Depending on which version of the Bible you quote, Matthew 7:20 says something along the lines of “by their fruits you will know them”.  Well, in the Reverend’s case I believe it’s safe to say –by his use of “quotations”  we do know him– or at least his personal political perspective.   Outrage should be the natural reaction to fully understanding the “scandal”.

The Reverend says he is “sure it warrants a thorough investigation” but at the same time he says “it sounds like No Big Deal”. So which is it?  Does it warrant investigation OR is it No big Deal? One dismisses the other. Matthew 6:24 says you can’t serve two masters. In other words you can’t have it both ways. It’s a big deal or it’s not. But to be accurate, Reverend Jones did say it sounded like the “proverbial” no big deal…and we know it can be difficult to understand some of those pesky proverbs… or were they parables…I digress… but still, you have to hand it to a Reverend to (wink, wink) bring up Proverbs!

Back to the letter in the YHR

The IRS searching for the words “tea party” in the names of new groups applying for tax-exempt status is not the same thing as the IRS targeting conservative groups. During the time in question, there were a whole slew of new 501(c)4 groups claiming some type of tea party affiliation, who just so happened to have a conservative agenda.

I’m sure the Reverend knows this one:

Zechariah 8:16

“these are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor.”

Now I’m not accusing Reverend Jones of not speaking the truth but I am saying to my neighbor that there is the truth and then there is the whole truth.  It wasn’t a coincidence that those scrutinized had conservative agendas.  The groups with those agendas were targeted by design but don’t take my word for it from their lips to Reverend Jones’ ears.

Reverend Jones may wish it were otherwise but considering the message of Mark 4:9 “let those with ears hear” and here, according to the Washington Post from 5/17 is what J. Russell George the Treasury Departments top tax watchdog said …”he had informed top Treasury officials last spring about problems related to special attention the agency was paying some conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status.

Again, Mr. George said the word problems, he said special attention and he said CONSERVATIVE ORGANIZATIONS SEEKING TAX-EXEMT STATUS.   Attention Zechariah, the whole truth is that there are no coincidences here.

Or here, USA Today reports Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews. She says It was an error in judgment, and it was not appropriate, but that’s what they did.

More from the letter to the YHR

With people like Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers pouring millions into these thinly disguised lobbying groups, it’s quite possible the IRS was simply doing its job and doing it well. As Arn Pearson of Common Cause said, the IRS should do more, not less, scrutinizing of political groups.

To Review–The IRS admits it was wrong. The President calls it outrageous. The head of the unit accused admits the extra scrutiny was wrong and is placed on administrative leave after inappropriately pleading to the Fifth Amendment. The Treasury tax watchdog warned of it months ago. The known list of “This Ain’t Good!” could go on and on to fill more than a couple of stone tablets and yet, in the face of all this, the Reverend Jones takes time out from penning the next sermon to say in a public forum to suggest it’s possible it was the IRS simply doing its job and well. Well?  That’s what I call “a blind faith” in the liberal narrative.  Ezekiel 12:2 warns of those who have eyes but refuse to see.

Reverend Jones  may want to see this.

It is an article from the Wall Street Journal explaining how labor unions political contributions are actually four times more than originally thought.  That money isn’t going into the collection plate on Sunday now is it. So who is pouring millions into what as a reasonable justification for the unjustifiable? One thin disguise down, more to go.

As far as Arn Pearson is concerned, I suppose some might say he’s simply just doing his job and doing it well, but I suggest you google Common Cause and see how much you actually have in common there.

Again, pushing past the truth to get to the whole truth about the IRS, we discover Mr. Arn Pearson doesn’t dispute what happened, he simply writes it off with –conservative groups give more political contributions so they would naturally get more scrutiny—then adds a heaping helping of – and gee I hope this doesn’t stop a wholesale investigation by the IRS on the whole PAC/contribution connection cuz now that the Supreme Court went and ruined everything with the Citizens United decision we now have to harness the IRS to help stop those dang rich republicans—  and don’t forget, there’s a growing number of religious groups and organization now scaling the wall between church and state to come forward with similar complaints about their treatment at the hands of the IRS.

At least a half-dozen conservative groups say they received an unusual degree of scrutiny from the IRS, according to the Religion News Service, a non-profit news service operated out of the University of Missouri’s journalism school.   As example: Rev. Billy Graham’s son made headlines with a letter to President Obama accusing the administration of targeting the Samaritan’s Purse charity and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in an attempt to intimidate the group.

The Reverend Jones’ letter identifies Murdoch, Adelson and the Koch brothers by name as the betrayers of  America’s electoral system of financial fairness but we know that there is plenty of room for more at the table of this last supper of sanity -including democrats Fred Eychaner, James Simons, Amy Goldman and George Soros.  In a little less partisan moment Reverend Jones might even remind about Romans 3:23 and that thing about how ALL of us, liberals and conservatives and those in between, all of us, come up short from time to time .

And finally from the letter to the YHR

Our history is filled with episodes of the government targeting liberal and peace-oriented groups in far worse ways than just trying to prevent billionaires from buying elections and getting tax write-offs at the same time. It’s beginning to look like conservatives are even better whiners than we bleeding hearts.

I fear the Reverend might call me a Doubting Thomas on this one, but in all my non-spiritual matters I actually prefer a little more proof then a brief reference to political history as a means to balance the scales of “fairness”.  Past injustices do not justify present injustices. With all due respect, let’s see some proof. Show me where the most powerful agencies of government were used to harass and intimidate private citizens because of their political philosophy and activity were at odds with an incumbent administration during an election cycle.  Show me other historical examples of how law abiding private citizens were delayed or diminished in their legal participation in the political process. There is one way to heaven but more than one way to “buy” an election.

Reverend Jones tries to minimize the importance of the “scandal” by portraying this as conservatives whining about billionaires not being able to buy elections and getting tax write-offs. He may have faith in liberalism but he has lost faith in the American Ideal.  This is about calling out big government over reaching its limited assigned responsibility to use its power to negatively impact legal activity by private citizens. That cannot be allowed to stand. That cannot be allowed. That’s tyranny spelled with a capital “T” not an (R) or a (D).

Amen.

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