Letter | Editorial cartoon’s IRS accusations have no substance

08/13/2014 4:10 PM

08/13/2014 4:13 PM

I am writing with concern about the Glenn Foden political cartoon that appeared in The Sun News on July 5. The cartoon seems to imply that the so-called IRS scandal is corruption, is a small part of IRS or government corruption, and is dismissed by some people presumed to be Democrats as without substance. Corruption is a strong word to use and is defined by my dictionary as “dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.”

Let me share some information that has come to my attention. The IRS is probably the least political agency in the Federal government. Only two officials are political appointees, the commissioner and the chief counsel. Historically IRS commissioners, regardless of the administration, have been high-level tax or business executives and have operated with no political agenda.

The commissioner during the time of the scandal was Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee. The vast majority of employees are federal civil service. Getting them to pursue a political agenda as has been suggested is like herding a bunch of cats. Unfortunately the IRS is a large bureaucracy with all of the imperfections that large bureaucracies seem to have.

The primary reason that tea party and other groups (and there is evidence that progressive organizations were targeted too) filed for 501(c)4 status is because that status permits donors to be anonymous. I do not believe that there is any issue of tax-deductibility.

The problem is that 501(c)4 organizations are social welfare organizations that can’t make politics their primary purpose. Accordingly the IRS had every right to apply extra scrutiny to political organizations looking for this status. It seems that every single organization of this type, once it started accepting funds, would make politics its main purpose and would not be eligible for the applied-for status. Unfortunately, the IRS made mistakes in the methodology it chose to review the applications. I have seen no political or nefarious explanation for the errors made.

Despite outrageous accusations by House Republicans, there is simply no evidence that the White House was involved in this matter. As soon as Obama learned about it, he condemned the process. The cartoon alleging corruption makes a very powerful charge. First, just exactly where is the IRS corruption? I have seen no evidence of corruption. Secondly, what is this iceberg of other corruption? You seem to be implying large scale corruption by the IRS or the federal government with simply no substantiation. This seems to be very irresponsible. And third, who are the presumed Democrats who are ignoring all of this corruption?

The writer lives in Conway.

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