Joy-Ann Reid caused poor old Ron Christie to skid off GOP Talking Point Road and straight into a ditch:
Ron, this was pretty much self-inflicted, but it was more than a little amusing watching a relentless Joy-Ann Reid force your hand with– What’s it called again? Oh yeah– the truth.
Wait a minute, the IRS is not the Obama administration, Ron. The IRS is not the Obama administration.
The IRS is not the Obama administration is a flat-out lie. The IRS commissioner is a political appointee by the president. (crosstalk)
And who who appointed him? But who appointed him?
The president of the United States appoints the IRS commissioner.
And who appointed?
The president of the United states who appoints the Treasury Secretary.
And who appointed… ?
Ron, Ron, Ron, I accept your assertion, but Joy is asking you very politely to answer that question: Who appointed the head of the IRS?
Doug Shulman. Who appointed… ?
The IRS commissioner is appointed by the president of the United States.
Who appointed him?
And who appointed Mr. Shulman?
Mr. Shulman was appointed in the previous administration.
My point to you, Martin, which, if you’ll listen to my point here…
… is that this is somehow “Obama’s above it all, this isn’t the Obama administration, the IRS is independent.” That is absolutely false. If President Obama had the ability to fire the acting IRS commissioner, that means that’s a person in the Obama administration. This is an Obama scandal. This is an Obama scandal.
One sec. We’re getting a bit confused about chronology.
Ron Christie gets a bit confused about reality.
Here is the entire segment:
While members of Congress want to know more about the IRS targeting of conservative 501(c)(4) groups, they should look no further than themselves for the blame.
I tried to read the tax code regarding just what a “social welfare” group is, and my head almost exploded. The IRS didn’t write these rules, Congress did. If there isn’t clarity in the IRS procedures, blame Congress. But don’t look to Congress to fix anything. Its members benefit from the spending these tax-exempt organizations do. If anything, this loophole should be closed.
Yes, the IRS and Associated Press scandals smell bad. But I wonder if one reason the members of one political party spend so much time spewing out self-righteous rants about the other party’s possible screw-up of the day — rather than working on vital legislation — has something to do with being in perpetual campaign mode brought on by their refusal to compromise on meaningful campaign finance reform.
It would be helpful for the AP if Republicans had not filibustered the proposed reporter shield law in 2008. This legislation would have specifically prohibited the kinds of abuses being visited upon the AP.
When the bill was in the House, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), now in high dudgeon over the matter, was one of only 21 representatives to vote against protecting reporters’ sources.
Kevin P. Smith
Michael Hiltzik has a thing or two to say about the IRS “scandal” in his L.A. Times column. He rightly points out how the real scandal is how “social welfare” groups are allowed tax-exempt status while participating in politics. As Lawrence O’Donnell noted, it’s all about the word “primarily”:
[A]ccording to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, the real scandal happened long ago.
Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code defines tax-exempt social welfare groups like this:
Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.
In 1959, under the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the meaning of this section was changed dramatically when the IRS decided the word “exclusively” could, in effect, be read as “primarily.”
Hiltzik agrees, again emphasizing that the real scandal is that “political organizations are being allowed to masquerade as charities to avoid taxes and keep their donors secret, and the IRS has allowed them to do this for years.”
By the way, none of the “targeted” groups was turned down for 501(c)4 status. Plus, as is their habit, conservatives are playing victim again. While this is a serious issue that deserves serious attention, liberal groups received the same IRS letter that ignited Tea Party outrage.
And one major negative outcome of this “controversy” is that “the IRS will have its wings clipped before its investigation of C4s is fully fledged.”
Here are a few excerpts from Michael Hiltzik’s piece:
The bottom line first: The IRS hasn’t done nearly enough over the years to rein in the subversion of the tax law by political groups claiming a tax exemption that is not legally permitted for campaign activity. Nor has it enforced rules requiring that donors to those groups pay gift tax on their donations. [...]
Big donors were given the green light to spend freely on elections by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. That wasn’t good enough for some; they wanted to distribute their largess secretly. [...]
According to an IRS Inspector General report made public this week, they represented only about a third of the 298 applications selected. That was certainly too coarse a screen, and by January 2012 the IRS had scrapped those definitions. It had substituted a screen designed to capture “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, [and] social economic reform/movement.” [...]
And once again, now that the agency has tried to regulate, the regulated parties have blown its efforts up into a “scandal.” It’s amusing to reflect that some politicians making hay over this are the same people who contend that we don’t need more regulations, we just need to enforce the ones we have. (Examples: gun control and banking regulation.) Here’s a case where the IRS is trying to enforce regulations that Congress enacted, and it’s still somehow doing the wrong thing. [...]
Here’s a good rule of thumb: You don’t want to get harassed by the IRS? Then don’t claim a tax exemption you may not deserve.
It’s well worth reading the entire column here.
Via David Horsey
One more time: It’s important to clarify to those who miss the point more often than not, that this isn’t about defending the IRS. It’s about the hypocrisy of some on the right.
And there’s a whole lot of hypocrisy on the right to draw from; this is only the latest. The Hill, April 2011:
Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee asked federal tax authorities Friday to look into AARP’s finances. [...] Democrats say Republicans are simply trying to punish the seniors’ lobby for putting its considerable weight behind healthcare reform.
Above are screen shots of two letters, one from April 2011, one from December 2011, from Republicans requesting the audit.
To repeat, House Republicans called for an IRS probe into AARP when it supported passage of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. So who’s going to jail for that scandal?
“The IRS admitted to targeting conservatives, even if the White House continues to be stuck on the word ‘if.’ My question isn’t about who is going to resign. My question is who’s going to jail over this scandal?”
H/t: Hugh Kaufman
The Political Carnival T-Shirt
Modeled by @suzannegypsy
Lt. Col Barry Wingard is the lawyer for Gitmo detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. For their ongoing story + related topics, please click on the link below:
Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
The Political Carnival is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Photographs on The Political Carnival site (please read):
Photographs from other sources sometimes appear on TPC for humorous or illustrative purposes. As it is not our intention to use these images in any inappropriate manner or to infringe upon any rights held by others, anyone holding legal rights in the use of these images who wishes to have them taken down please contact us immediately requesting such removal, with which we will comply promptly.