The Real IRS Scandal

Yesterday, in response to recent IRS admissions, President Obama called the enhanced investigation of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status “intolerable and inexcusable.” And, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a criminal investigation into the allegations against the IRS. But both of them are missing the point.

The scandal here is not that political groups were targeted by the IRS, it's the fact that political groups are being subsidized by John Q. Taxpayer. Groups that are politically motivated, and not really “social welfare” organizations, shouldn't receive preferential tax treatment in the first place – regardless of their political affiliation.

A report by the Inspector General stated that “ineffective management” at the IRS allowed conservative groups to be targeted for over 18 months, and resulted in substantial delays in the processing of their non-profit applications. But, the real “ineffective management” here was Congress's failure to regulate these organizations, and enforce transparency. And, what's truly “intolerable and inexcusable” is the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizen United decision, which opened the campaign-finance floodgates in the first place.

The IRS shouldn't be apologizing for investigating phony “non-profit” organizations, they should be investigating all politically-motivated groups who want to be subsidized by the tax payers. Congress has repeatedly rejected campaign finance reform, and Citizens United moved oversight from the Federal Elections Commission to the IRS. It's impossible to create and enforce reasonable guidelines based on an unreasonable Supreme Court decision.

The only way to really fix this problem is to amend our Constitution to say that money isn't speech, and corporations aren't people. Let's make it happen. Join the fight at


Global's picture
Global 10 years 2 weeks ago

Are you kidding me! What, are these the new talking points out of the "catch me if you can" thugs in the Obama administration? "It is not our fault, these are not the drones you are looking for". The Supreme Court did it. One day you trumpet the power of freedom of the press but most other days you fear holding your government officials accountable for their actions. The politically motivated Bengazi lies and cover ups, phone tapping of the AP, IRS thugs, and next will be EPA thugs. this corrupt Obama administration is unravelling and you want to protect and cover for these phony political hacks. Government administrations must be held accountable for their actions and the press has a duty to make that happen. Can't wait until the IRS gets their dirty hands into Obamacare next year.

jerdeasy's picture
jerdeasy 10 years 2 weeks ago

Thom Hartmann should be in congress because unlike most congressmen he understands what is going on and can see through the bullshit.

brother's picture
brother 10 years 2 weeks ago

Move to amend has little to do with the IRS scandel. The whole mess has political roots all over it and Mr. Holder is gonna try to wash everything clean for the democrats. Wait and see, Holder needs jail time along with 10 other high level crooks.

dobiedame's picture
dobiedame 10 years 2 weeks ago

Has anyone considered that the IRS was giving preferential treatment to the tea party people?

My understanding is that they were identified and pulled out of line and their paper work may have gone out ahead of others in line. I also understand that none have been denied the non profit status and only a progressive group has been so denied. Further, I understand that while applications have gone up significantly, personnel to handle them has gone down. I have heard that the concern is that these applications are being processed slowly but in comparison to what? Are progressive groups being processed faster or are they back in line waiting to even begin the process? Until there are more answers to these questions, I believe it is just as likely that the tea party groups are getting preferential treatment as it is that they are being discriminated against.

Ronald I. Dillon's picture
Ronald I. Dillon 10 years 2 weeks ago

Dear Thom;

I want to propose a different view of the reason for the difference between "exclusively social welfare" in the Statute at Large which underlies IRC sec. 501(c)(4), and the related IRS Regulation using the much broader term "predominately social welfare" in relation to such tax exempt organizations.

I believe the real reason for that difference is to mislead applicants that actually fit within "exclusively social welfare"organizations which thereby would not be subject to any "approval" by IRS or any other government agency, to mistakenly apply for approval of a lesser suspect status of "predominately social welfare". The latter which allows a discretionary review and approval, with any level of discretionary delay and abuse of process from agents of the IRS.

Simply put, those organizations that by Sworn affirmation could truthfully claim "exclusively social welfare"organization status per the Statute would be by the words of the Statute beyond the jurisdiction to be approved or disapproved by IRS or any other goverment agency unless there was "probable cause" to believe the claim was not true. Whereas one admitting up front to a mixed suspect activity of some taxable and some none taxable activities, implied by "predominately social welfare" would then be in effect asking to be investigated, with a presumption that they do not fit the exemption requirements of the Statute.

In my opinion this was simply another way to garner unauthorized power to the IRS to interfere where it has no factual Statutory jurisdiction, by misdirection or misrepresentation against the People to waive the rights to due process of the plainly worded Statute, and instead be bound by an overbroad Regulation. Door now open to unequal treatment, delay, and corruption.

Ron Dillon--Graham County Human Rights Association. All First Amendment Rights reserved.

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 2 weeks ago

I can't believe it Thom didn't blame Bush or Reagan somehow it must be there fault for the IRS Spying on the right. Isn't it always there fault.

Here we go again giving Obama and his staff a free pass.

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 10 years 2 weeks ago

Me? As one in the taxation arena? As one with a friend what drives a truck and has a cute little wife that works part time in a topless club, with 4 kids they're trying to put through college? As one who sees the dollars and cents of what working joe stiff has to pay in taxes? As one who "actually has to cull and verify status to see if clients can take the contribution credit for some the orginzations they donate to? As one who is pretty much fed up with some of the scathing rhetoric some of the non profits actually spew on thier sights? As someone who read an article in respects to what some of the CEOs of non profits make? I away with exempt status all together!!!! MAke the non profits pay the tax for a while and give me and joe the trucker an effin' break!!! Think about it. i pull into 7-11 daily for my after work cocktail and there always seems to be a homeless person hitting me up for some coin. if you quantify all the wealth of all the non profits and they actually gave anything tangible back to the country? Do you think i would really have to be witness to the sheer level of wealth inequality i see daily. And just how much or how many of the non profits, left and right are just lobbies...AUDIT THEM ALL STARTING WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!

tannerps2004's picture
tannerps2004 10 years 2 weeks ago

O'bomber won't admit that he sent The IRS out to tax these f#%er's who don't pay their taxes? Why won't he admit it and said he did the right thing and let's move on? Because that money would not go toward us but go toward The New World Illuminatti Jesuit Nazi Disorder apparently?

ptg0's picture
ptg0 10 years 2 weeks ago

I remember the time I had 4 cars taken illegally by a police department and then was beat up, accused of variuos crimes for which I demanded a jury tial and was found not guilty on all counts, then took the city of Madison hts. Michigan to federal court where the jackass judge ordered the case dismissed with prejudice.

For that, I was audited by those thugs in the IRS. That pretty much sums up how I spent the 80's and why I feel that this country is run by a bunch of Nazis hiding behind the two "political" parties.

Welcome to the REAL Amerika. Home of the sheep.

Now that you mention it, republiCONs were in control and I recieved no help from the democRATs.

ptg0's picture
ptg0 10 years 2 weeks ago

He didnt have to order them to do anything. The "government" only hires idiots to begin with. That way, they are "not responsible".

dc2257's picture
dc2257 10 years 2 weeks ago

Wow Thom! It seems the trolls are being sent to your site in droves!! Too bad your "flush 'em all out in the daylight" message seems to be totally passed by them.

ptg0's picture
ptg0 10 years 2 weeks ago

I agree 100%. Except for one thing. If you make UNDER $80,000 per year, YOU SHOULDNT HAVE TO PAY ANY TAXES AT ALL.

If you make over $250,000, EVERYTHING OVER THAT SHOULD BE TAXED 90%. Sort of like it was up until that jive @ss raygun got in and gamed the system.

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 2 weeks ago

So ptg0, please explain to me why I am going to keep working after I hit $250,000. It would stop wealthy business owners from coming to America pouring billions into your economy though. You sure don't need any more 1% ers do you.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 2 weeks ago

The IRS getting in trouble for investigating tax cheats? Now that's a new one for me! I never thought I would see the day when the revenuers would be brought up on charges of any kind. No, not even for breaking the law, violating the Constitution, or even harassment. It always seemed like that was their primary job in the first place.

So, I guess the message that is going out is that the backers of these right wing tea brains aren't going to stand for any criticism, opposition, or law enforcement directed at their dumb pets. Essentially, stating that the tea brain crowd is above the law. Isn't that just peachy?

The icing on this ridiculous cake is that the Chief Executive is going to go along with the program. Where does this ship of state keep it's barf bags?

bobbler's picture
bobbler 10 years 2 weeks ago

Are you kidding me! The GOP has always been in favor of profiling. Now that profiling was used to catch tgem breaking the law, they scream like little babies. Everyone known the GOP players routinely violate the tax laws, so it's only human nature got or the IRS agents to go where the lawbreakers are. Yes, I agree, the real story is the GOP supporters breaking the law..

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 2 weeks ago

While I'm on a bit of a roll, let me respond to Phillip Henderson yesterday who said:

Quote Philip Henderson:I believe the Justice Department followed the precise letter of the law on this one. President Obama would like to have had a different law in place however current law permits the Justice Department to conduct this kind of investigation. Senator Obama tried to stop this law but the Republicans would not relent, they filibuster the change that would have stopped the Justice department from doing this work. My argument is not with the administration, they did their job.

I'm sorry my friend; but, I must point out the error in your logic. The fact that Senator Obama voted against this law shows that he does not believe it is a wise law. Any law abridging the freedom of the press is clearly Unconstitutional and any Constitutional scholar worth their salt knows that. Bravo for Senator Obama.

President Obama has many tools at his disposal to address this issue. Above all is his oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. President Obama could have easily issued an Executive order to halt this investigation pending a Supreme Court Decision to determine the Constitutionality of the law. It was his (our) best chance to throw out this Unconstitutional law and he blew it, big time. Don't tell us that he had to obey the law. He's the President for God's sake. The law is Unconstitutional; and, it is his vowed responsibility to do everything in his power to oppose it

tghorne's picture
tghorne 10 years 2 weeks ago

Whoa..... It has been a while since I have participated, so here goes;

I agree with Thom about looking diligently at the original problem. Whether the culprits are left wing, right wing, independent, etc., there is no correct way to do the wrong thing. Abusing the non-profit status to promote political antics and manipulations is as low as one can get. What big money and shady motives have done to our Democracy is horrifying and demoralizing. When I stop reeling from the shock of it I am furious. We all paricipate when we don't stand up and call it what it is. Criminal!Treasonous!

I agree that Congress is at the root of the trouble and that means we the people for voting in the self-serving minions of the disgustingly wealthy. We deserve what we get. This is our government and if we would stop for just a minute and stop the detached and cynical judging and instead get into action, we might have a chance at redeeming ourselves to our children and grandchildren. Obama's awful mistake is that he began to drink the same koolaid, I think, right after he was sworn in the first time. Something happened which significantly changed his tone, approach, priorities and subdued his passion. I think he got an offer he couldn't refuse when he accepted the invitiation to the White House before the Bushes finished their term. He talks to us as if he were narrating an infomercial. He has taken and put up with immense disrespect. I truly believe in and adhere to the principle of turning the other cheek, but I do not subscribe at all to being a doormat or whipping post. He allows those in oppostion to him to set the rules of engagement and he follows their lead, so sad.......... Some martial arts of the mind would be a big improvement, using their strength against them. One man is not able to effect real change. It must come from us, he actually said that in a couple speeches after being elected. We must mandate or else nothing can truly happen. We must stand up to those who will ALWAYS take more than their fair share and tell them, HELL NO!

Really, would any of us let our wayward family member take our hard earned money and gamble it away? IN essence that is what has happened. We have let the rich take full on control of us, voluntary servitude.... We can blame any of the lame congress people, but responsibility lies with us.We've let ourselves be manipulated into hating the very institutions that give us leverage against oppresion and abuse, like unions. They are also corruptable, duh... It is up to us to PARTICIPATE and not allow the criminally intended to lead and manipulate. Unions are VITAL, yet many intelligent people have jumped blindly onto the hate unions bandwagon, lemmings! So self-destructive!

The wealthy are systematically dissembling our constitution, government and economic system. I don't know how they can do this without realizing that the very system they have such contempt for is the one that provided them with the means to become so wealthy in the first place. Sociopaths. Sickening. They are now jumping on the IRS, spinning it any way they can, and you can bet that all the corporate news entities will be running with this for a good long while without ever using their vast resources to look at the real story. I call it being spoon fed. Any way these behind-the-scenes wealthy power mongers can distort and confuse in order to manipulate people's thinking, they will. They want power and control so desperately, they will destroy their own country to do it. Psychopaths. Media should not be for profit, nor should education or health care. We can do better than this, we are the problem, thus, the solution.

Ronald I. Dillon's picture
Ronald I. Dillon 10 years 2 weeks ago

When you say "make" is that payment recieved as reasonable compensation at the prevailing labor rate for "personal labor services actually rendered", or is that "profits derived" from distributions of the proceeds of "capital stock"?

Have you read IRC sections 170 and 501?

Rid---Graham County Human Rights Association

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 2 weeks ago

So now that we all know the IRS screwed up by granting tax-exempt status to these Tea Party groups, will the IRS correct the problem and remove this status? If not, why?

I find it exceedingly hypocritical that Democrats are willing to join in and cry foul over this issue while not long ago they refused to even investigate the war criminals who lied us into a war for profit which resulted in an out of control govt. spending spree. Some Democrats are even willing to join in with Tea Party sentiment and pay off some of this war debt by cutting our hard earned social safety net.

The Teapublicans are allowed to shut down our entire fffinnnn democracy and the democrats are worried about some IRS audits because they offended some billionaire sponsored teabaggers..... you can all go to hell. Give me a democracy that functions the way it should and then maybe we can worry about IRS workers doing their job right. Why are we paying public servants like Turtleman and the alcoholics in the House? I want my damn money back!

tghorne's picture
tghorne 10 years 2 weeks ago

Vital point, we have to crystal clear. Our lawmaking process is designed to keep up to date with cultural changes. As a people we have to DECIDE, then act upon what we need to do for our society. Letting financial horders continue to hoard regardless of the social consequences is not an option. The laws need to based on the principle of what is best for the most, not the few. With support via laws that make social sense the IRS works just fine. Without oversight of our "public servants" it all deteriorates. We have to keep up with the fast pace of those obsessed with having $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

douglas m 10 years 2 weeks ago

I agree before in the fifties when our economy worked taxes on people over $75,000 was extreme but they had benefits for reinvesting in this country. Now corporations buy congress as a way of common business practice.

I just wish everyone who listens to this station would put movetoamend on their facebook link and ask their friends to repost as a favor for our grandparents struggles. They fought and died for us.

We have aloud oursselves complacency , and owe our relatives this too little if not too late.

Please talk less and action more. Amen

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 1 week ago

Global -- you watch too much FAUX news. There is no there, there any where. I thought the subpoenaed phone records. In your mind is that the same as phone tappingp once again, too much FAUX news.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 1 week ago

Kend -- I thought those wealthy business owners were taking trillions out of our economy.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 1 week ago

douglas m -- Bravo! Succinct to what we should do. Easy for me to say without a facebook or twitter account.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 10 years 1 week ago

As a fully certified megalomaniac it is easy to characterize modern society especially those attracted to the new “Face book society” that America’s modern media rants on day after day, is the common core of Narcissism.

Commonly called Narcissistic personality disorder, is displayed in both political parties, predominant in the current Republican Party, but overzealous in the major media journalism. America has today what is called prosecution reporting, half the swastika now and the other half later.

Truly stands out in the former presidential election. The identity of the Severe Conservative counter balanced by the Severe Liberal, projected forward by Severe Egocentrism by both parties. Especially the economic group that knows the end is near.

Even Wiki defines the term and converges into *one percent* of the population. *You who* did you get that. Here trying to be funny and chuckling to myself looking at Wikipedia’s own definition that is striking but seems true. Really funny to think major non for profit think tanks spend all day blogging and editing Wikipedia while you and I sweat at our jobs they sip cocktails and dream.

The kicker to what is displayed so true;

“Egocentric people are unable to fully understand or to cope with other people's opinions.”

So after fifty years of media carping, here we go, to here we are, way screwed up. Ladies and Gentlemen of America it was said before and says it again the mainstream media via the one percenters brought America to where we are at now.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 1 week ago

mega -- I love your observaton of the media

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