One of the key criticisms of President Obama has been his alleged Gestapo political techniques. Last month's discovery that the I.R.S. was targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status pushed that sputtering narrative along. However, documents released Monday by the I.R.S. pokes a hole in those theories, and corroborates officials' claims that they were simply scrutinizing groups that were seeking political organization tax favors.
Apparently, groups that were linked to medical marijuana, or that supported ObamaCare were also scrutinized. The I.R.S. can breathe a sigh of relief. Now that it's not just conservatives, everybody can get back to hating them again for taxing their paychecks.
From the NY Times:
The acting I.R.S. commissioner, Daniel I. Werfel, formally ordered an end to all such “lookout” lists on Monday when he issued an assessment of the controversy that has led to harsh criticism of the nation’s tax collector.
Such lists were in use as recently as this month, when Mr. Werfel took over the agency, far longer than initially thought. I.R.S. officials said Monday that the more recent lists did not include the terms aimed at conservative groups.
Mr. Werfel on Monday also created an expedited process for groups to attain the tax-exempt status known as 501(c)(4). To qualify, groups must agree that no more than 40 percent of their expenditures and time can be spent on campaigns for candidates seeking public office. At least 60 percent of the groups’ time and expenses must be dedicated to social welfare activities.
The new I.R.S. documents raise questions about how the controversy has been portrayed. They confirm that the applications of “various local organizations in the Tea Party movement” were given special scrutiny. But so were “progressives.”