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GOP outrage over IRS targeting of Tea Party — genuine or kabuki theater?

GOP outrage over IRS targeting of Tea Party — genuine or kabuki theater?

Following the unfolding scandal of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of the Tea Party, I keep the following thought in mind:

Neither party in Congress can be relied upon to satisfactorily resolve this issue.  They created the IRS, fund the IRS, and oversee the IRS.  All of this abuse happened on their watch,” said Mark Meckler, President of Citizens for Self-Governance.

As many Legal Insurrection readers know, I am a Tea Party Democrat and a fan of Governor Sarah Palin. So, I read with interest this piece from Craig Shriley (the First Reagan Scholar at Eureka College) in Breitbart: Why the IRS Went After the Tea Party Instead of Establishment Republicans

As I stated elsewhere recently, The Republican Establishment is pea green with envy but also embarrassment “that the IRS did not think them worthy of harassing, or even worse, on the same side as the IRS. In other words, the IRS saw the GOP as too feckless to worry about. Either explanation is not very appealing for the national Republicans.”

Of course, the only thing going through the minds of the pecuniary consultants who run the Republican Party is they are missing out on a fundraising bonanza which is necessary to feed their army of mediocre consultants.

Let’s face it, the Tea Party movement is comprised of breakaway elements of populist conservatives disgusted with the Big Government Bush Republicans beginning in 2006. They remain separate and apart even today, seven years later, because they perceive the national GOP has not changed, still a part of the corruption of Washington.

..As far as the Tea Party and it sympathizers are concerned, nearly everybody in Washington is a suspect. The Tea Party has found the enemy, and it is the Washington Establishment.

Sarah B. is a co-founder of the SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition, the first San Diego area Tea Party group. She expresses some concern about the history: “Republicans knew about the IRS targeting of Tea Party, before the 2012 election. I don’t see how Tea Parties can let the establishment GOP benefit from it. I was in a high-end book store yesterday with elite progressives thinking they victims of statism. As a Tea-Partier, I actually am. And if I had walked into an establishment GOP event, I would have the same thought.

Indeed, Sarah is correct. One Tea Party had contacted candidate Mitt Romney with specific complaints:

And the head of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, whose application languished with the I.R.S. for more than two years, sent out e-mails to members about Mitt Romney campaign events and organized members to distribute Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign literature.

MSNBC anchor and former DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney had this question: “Why didn’t Romney make more of a big deal of it during the election?”

She means the question as a way of diminishing the magnitude of the scandal.  I ask the same question, but to highlight that the elite from both parties were OK in kicking Tea Party to the curb, in terms of IRS “scrutiny”.

I wonder how much of the Republican outrage is genuine, and how much is kabuki theater.  I would ask my citizen compatriots to gauge how their representatives handle the IRS situation closely, and make sure the actions correspond with their words.

In fact, I will offer that at least Democrats are consistent:  The blame for the scandal will fall on Bush.

(Note: Tea Party representatives who are interested in joining the lawsuit against the agency should check or click HERE to complete the application form directly.)


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The GOP establishment hates and fears the Tea Party more than the Democrats do, and for good reason. Most of the incumbents defeated by TP candidates were Republicans.

    casualobserver in reply to myiq2xu. | June 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    From most of what I hear and read, it seems the ‘establishment’ GOP don’t necessarily fear the Tea Party movement as much as they find it disruptive to their power. So, for example, there is a much greater amount of light between Tea Party positions and Dem positions. The GOP seems to be more in agreement, but simply doesn’t like the independence. It seems to be the nature of creating “party structures”. They don’t like losing much control of messaging and issues. The Dems prove they behave the same way by squelching moderate voices on a regular basis and elevating other voices, such as Occupy XXXX.

The opposition will always let you know who they fear. The RINO establishment got their feeling hurt when they realized no one fears them.

If you’re going to primary a GOP establishment candidate with a “tea party” candidate, you’re going to get push-back.

“[T]he elite from both parties were OK in kicking Tea Party to the curb, in terms of IRS “scrutiny”. . . . I wonder how much of the Republican outrage is genuine, and how much is kabuki theater. ”

Oh, give me a break. First of all, nobody knew there was a systematic IRS effort to suffocate Tea Party groups until a few weeks ago. Complaining about Mitt Romney’s failure to make an issue of this during the ’12 campaign is a ludicrous example of Monday morning quarterbacking. Inferring from that failure that Romney or “elite” Republicans generally don’t really care if Tea Party groups were persecuted is . . . I don’t even know; words fail me right now.

Second, rather than using this episode to sulk about how badly the Tea Party was treated, why don’t we consider for a moment how badly the Constitution was treated? This wasn’t just an attack on the Tea Party or conservative groups, but an attack on everyone’s freedom. Why turn it into a wedge issue to further alienate those who identify as Tea Partiers from those who identify as run-of-the-mill GOPers? Like the bald girl said, fight the real enemy.

    David Yotham in reply to Conrad. | June 6, 2013 at 9:51 am

    re: ” Why turn it into a wedge issue to further alienate those who identify as Tea Partiers from those who identify as run-of-the-mill GOPers? Like the bald girl said, fight the real enemy. ”

    The actions of the GOP leadership and the Tea Party is a WEDGE issue, for all Americans, because of who they lead – the uninformed GOP voter. Why even assume the pretense of having a legitimate two party system if the leadership spends as much time denigrating their own party as they do supporting the opposition party?

    Do I hear you saying you don’t consider the statement by Lindsey Graham offense to all Americans – that is, those who really want to operate our country according to the principles she was founded up? The statement concerning 1st Amendment rights and bloggers. The political ‘elite’ were given that specious title for specific reasons – and it took a ground swell of common people to make it happen. Common people plus a few others.

    I apologize that I am not the great legal eagle or analyst that your are Conrad. I’m not interested in a peaceful ‘reaching across the aisle like John McCain and others of his ilk. Rather I am concerned in living in a country that offers true justice, peace, strength and opprotunity in a world gone mad – not just a gentle desperation of people crying out, “Are we still in Kansas?”

      Conrad in reply to David Yotham. | June 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      The OP is basically trying to assert a moral equivalency between what the Obama administration did in turning the IRS into a political instrument for beating up the Tea Party and the GOP for failing to make an issue of this in the 2012 election, i.e., months before the IRS scandal even came to light. Sorry, but that’s not reasonable or even rational.

        raven in reply to Conrad. | June 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm

        What’s reasonable and rational, and ineluctible at this point, is recognizing the GOP’s total failure to make ANYTHING an issue that in any way would unduly rile the Left or the MSM. Rational and reasonable conservatives everywhere can’t miss the overwhelming evidence. Romney couldn’t even make BENGHAZI an issue in 2012. How on earth would he have seized on the IRS story? The GOP is so devoid of virility, so demonstrably unable or unwilling to accept the terms and reality of the war against the Left and media, so clearly enthralled by big government, that nearly everything they do at this point is suspect or shot through with cognitive dissonance as to only fortify conservative clarity and resistance.

    Crawford in reply to Conrad. | June 6, 2013 at 10:27 am

    “First of all, nobody knew there was a systematic IRS effort to suffocate Tea Party groups until a few weeks ago.”

    Unless they were paying attention. The stories were out there, but no one had connected the dots or had the official admission. The IRS IG didn’t accidentally stumble onto this, after all.

      Conrad in reply to Crawford. | June 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      So despite the fact that nobody had connected the dots, there was no IG report, and there was no admission from the IRS that anything untoward was taking place, Mitt Romney was supposed to have made an issue of this 2013 scandal in his 2012 campaign, and his failure to do so constitutes proof that the GOP leadership is actually OK with Obama’s turning the IRS into an arm of his political operation? Makes sense to me.

    raven in reply to Conrad. | June 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    >>”Like the bald girl said, fight the real enemy.”

    Too late for that pathetic scumble. Too many realize now the identity and nature of “the real enemy.” We’re fighting a two-front war –against the Left and the GOPe. We know it. The aftermath of 2010 midterms confirmed it. Romney’s travesty of a campaign was a kind of surreally insulting overkill of proof. We either succeed in shifting the balance within the party to bring RINOs to heel or smoke out their infidelity, or we leave the party altogether. Jury is out on that, but no longer on the fallacy of the GOP as our champion.

      Conrad in reply to raven. | June 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      You sound confused. On the one hand you refer to the GOP as the “enemy.” On the other hand you talk about “shifting the balance within the party.” What party would that be? Oh, right: the GOP, your sworn enemy!

        raven in reply to Conrad. | June 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        There are gradations of “enemy,” and political pragmatism compels the most reasonable approach in each case. There is no confusion. Indeed, at this point anybody who can’t understand the current mindset and deeply conditioned anti-conservative impulses of the establishment GOP is the confused one.

        The strategy is simple: continue to attempt to flood the GOP with tea party candidates to force systemic change. It is obviously wiser to try to reform the existing political apparatus of the Republican party. Failing this, a third party will simply be inevitable. Parties do cease to exist. The GOP is on a clear trajectory of non-existence. Can it be reformed and rescued? Not sure. It will certainly resist reform. It will continue to seek to co-opt and/or backbench the tea party candidates who are elected, when it is not outright insulting them (“wacko birds”). Is there stronger evidence of its moribundity?

    casualobserver in reply to Conrad. | June 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Conrad – wasn’t there an inquiry in 2012 where Shulman first potentially perjured himself about targeting? If so, the Congress was aware. And it’s hard to believe that they wouldn’t have accumulated all of the complaints that had been made by that time. I’m not sure how many had been vocal, but it seems like it was substantial.

    So, from my perspective it is AT LEAST safe to assume that ‘elite’ or ‘establishment’ GOP types made a conscious decision that to take actions similar to those they are now was not politically advantageous. Whether that means they wanted the Tea Party under the bus is perhaps an additional leap without evidence. But, clearly, they made a calculated political choice in 2012.

      I would suggest that if any political calculation was involved (as opposed to the fact that the IRSs’ misdeeds were simply an unknown in 2012), it related to the fact that there was simply NO factual predicate upon which the Romney campaign could have gained traction on this issue. There were nothing in the news about it, no IG report, no official acknowledgement of any kind. All that existed, really, were anecdotal complaints (which proved to be valid, of course, but were still anecdotal at the time).

      Needless to say, if your goal is WIN the election, then you can’t spend time and money in the campaign talking about an issue that perhaps 10,000 people in the entire country have any inkling is even an issue.

        raven in reply to Conrad. | June 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

        >>”Needless to say, if your goal is WIN the election, then you can’t spend time and money in the campaign talking about an issue that perhaps 10,000 people in the entire country have any inkling is even an issue.”

        Sort of a self-defeatist Catch-22. If you don’t talk about it, how does it become an issue? It’s called defining the Narrative. The alternative is to wait for the MSM to define the Narrative. That’s RINO “leadership.” And so what DID Romney “spend time and money” talking about? I have a hard time remembering. Certainly not Benghazi. He ran from that issue like a scalded cat, or rather, a media-cowed RINO. A little collective MSM panicked indignation, and Romney (typically clueless of the indicators of vulnerability within the panic) was in his own panicked zone (whiffing at Benghazi softballs in the final debate). But of course, as we found out later, it may not even have been his goal to win.

The wealthy Romney donors were targeted quite seriously, so I think the article is overstating its case. Anyone, anyone that could be a threat to their power, including the GOPe, were targeted by these people

The Left let us know who they are afraid of, again. We can’t back down.

Our government is out of control. it is time to act.

Lina Inverse | June 6, 2013 at 9:21 am

While I’m sure there’s a lot of truth in this thesis, we do have to acknowledge that the Republican establishment was also harassed, Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS not only got the standard treatment, their application was leaked to Pro Publica, which provides independent confirmation of their claims.

Yeah, no, Leslie.

Wrong on the facts, wrong on your thesis.

The IRS targeting was multiphase. It involved right-to-life groups, conventional GOP types, donors, and TEA party groups.

It wasn’t just the charitable status abuse, either. It was systematic leaks of information on various “enemies” of the State.

We have LOTS more to do here, and, remember, McConnell was the ball-carrier on this way back.

    creeper in reply to Ragspierre. | June 6, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Wrong on your interpretation.

    Where does the author claim that the Tea Parties were the only entities targeted? Please quote his/her statement that no other groups were involved.

    Nothing Eastman wrote is contradicted by your “facts”.

    Ever look at a shrimp net after it’s been hauled out of the water, Rags? There are dozens, if not hundreds, of other species in the net.

    But mostly it’s full of shrimp.

      Ragspierre in reply to creeper. | June 6, 2013 at 10:23 am

      A lotta times, creeper, the net is full of nothing.

      Like that post.

        creeper in reply to Ragspierre. | June 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

        I always know when I’ve bested you, Rags. You abandon any attempt at reasonable discussion and go straight to condescension and patronizing.

        I knew exactly how you would respond. Hence the word “mostly” in my post. You took the bait anyway. How’s life in the net?

Bravo, Leslie. Establishment Republicans are no better than Democrats and both parties have been shafting the voter for decades.

“I am a Tea Party Democrat and a fan of Governor Sarah Palin”

I expect you are not alone.

This is an interesting post about some of the many cross currents running through out body politic.

Let’s not forget the completely phony:

Which is blanketing conservative talk radio as I write with propaganda from the amnesty wing of the GOP (friends of Chuck Schumer) which is trying to enable the GOP to commit hari kari.

Uncle Samuel | June 6, 2013 at 10:37 am

The GOP ‘investigation’ of Fast and Furious’ like all previous hearings, etc. turned out to be a lot of ‘sound and fury signifying nothing. So shall the IRS and other investigations of Obama, Holder and Hillary be.

The GOP watchdog has no teeth…but the teeth were intentionally extracted before the investigation BY THE GOP.

The GOP uses a watchdog with sharp teeth to attack TEA Party Republicans like Ted Cruz, Allen West and Sarah Palin.

It is about 90 percent kabuki theater. The income tax is the source of power and wealth for both parties; dispensation of tax boons is the core currency that they trade for cash, power and influence. Neither one of them is the slightest bit interested in significant reform.

The GOP establishment is always happy to have the votes of Conservatives/Tea Party types, but would like them to go away right after the election.

Face it folks, we have two political parties in the country–those who pay taxes and those who get paid BY taxes.

Henry Hawkins | June 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm

(???) Washington DC has been 90% kabuki theater for at least 40 years, regardless of party. They respond to political force not morals or ethics.

What the IRS-targeted Tea Party/Liberty groups have in common is they are all smallish to tiny, with low budgets, and they are unable or unwilling to defend themselves. Generals are well-defended in war, so you go after the soldiers. That’s why hundreds and hundreds of little groups were hit, while all the big ones were left alone. You’d have to be very slick indeed to successfully target the NRA, Heritage Foundation, or Crossroads without a self-defeating level of retribution.

That the establishment GOP is as much a target of the Tea Party as any other big government/raise taxes entity is hardly news. We’ve said so daily since 2009.

    Lina Inverse in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    As I note above, they did target Crossroads.

    For that matter, Clinton’s IRS subjected the NRA to a nasty audit starting in 1995, the year after gun owners were instrumental in kicking the Democrats out of power in the Congress (I thought that was widely known), and the Heritage Foundation was also audited (don’t know how abusive their audit was).

    None of these abuses resulted in “a self-defeating level of retribution” … the establishment GOP, even though a case could be made for Rove being a part of it, just isn’t that serious about this fundamental and very possibly fatal subversion of our Republic.

      lichau in reply to Lina Inverse. | June 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      The reason the NRA is so detested and so powerful is that it is (sort of) apolitical. It is an issues based organization that cares about gun rights and there is pretty much where it ends. The NRA doesn’t really care if you are white, black or blue–what they care is where you stand on gun rights (as the NRA defines those rights).

      The NRA’s primary political power comes not from money (they don’t have a lot, compared to the Unions, etc.) but its membership–membership that cares and votes. How subversive.

      Don’t try to get the NRA baying down some abortion rights rabbit trail, they don’t care.

      BTW, I am an off and on again NRA member; I don’t really like them all that much, but sometimes they are the best game in town.

      Audit the NRA? Won’t come without a price. Remember those members that vote.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Lina Inverse. | June 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      First, I’m talking about now and this IRS, not the Clinton-era IRS of 15-20 yrs ago, and I said ‘successful’, not ankle-nipping of the past.

      These are not mutually exclusive, that the IRS currently attacks little groups and that the GOP may or may not be sincere; they are independent. The IRS *since 2009* has gone after the little ones – average holdings something like $18,000 per group. The IRS activists are afraid to go after the big ones, for good reason – they’ll fight back and bark loud. The GOP may or may not care about this IRS abuse. I think some do and I’m quite sure many don’t – the GOP is not a monolith. As I stated above, they respond to political force not morals or ethics, meaning their sincerity is irrelevant, that they’ll push on the IRS scandal for as long as it’s politically productive and drop it when it ceases to produce. We don’t need to speculate on GOP issue sincerity – just look at recent GOP history with Fast & Furious. Morals and ethics demand ongoing outrage from the GOP on F&F, which they provided at first – and for as long as it was politically productive. The scandal lost traction and the GOP’s attention. Both parties do this and have for decades. There is no doubt as to the lack of sincerity among the bulk of the establishment GOP, same with lifer Dems, but there is also no doubt that many are sincere: Cruz, Ryan, Lee, Paul, and others, in my opinion, though any one or all of them may turn establishment at some point. This has always been the way of politics.

There are no longer political parties in the USA. There is the political ruling class and their slavish followers and the originalists whose motto could best be New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die”. The Originalists have some speakers in the political arena but will not overcome the block of marxist/stalinist/modern democrat/rino politicians that are feverishly working to take away citizen’s rights. Critical mass has been passed and the political class does not have to even pretend to adhere to the rule of law. This is what fundamentally changing America looks like. Dissent is criminalized.

Mark Michael | June 6, 2013 at 12:55 pm

People who were paying attention in the 1990s while Clinton was president, noted that people who were problems for the Clintons all seemed to be audited by the IRS. Paula Jones was audited after that lawsuit was brought against Clinton on her behalf. People laughed about it because she only had $37,000 in income. The idea that she would make it past the IRS screen process looking for red flags for likely tax cheating is absurd. A bunch more people were audited – blogger Mickey Kaus mentioned a bunch of them on his Daily Caller Kausfiles blog recently. Most would not have triggered the IRS’s normal red flags for likely cheating.

Ann Coulter’s latest column makes a good point. She says that journalists and House investigators should poll Progressive organizations to show their IRS list of intrusive questions they received when their organizations applied for their 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) tax exempt status from the IRS. Or when they were audited by the IRS to make sure they continued to abide by the restrictions of their tax-exempt status as time passed. Coulter did mention that the IRS challenged the NAACP’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. The (c)(3) status is what a true charity applies for; its donors can deduct their donations from their taxable income on their 1040s, unlike a (c)(4) tax-exempt organization. Those donors must still pay taxes on their donations. The NAACP clearly violated the rules for a (c)(3) organization, yet the IRS eventually gave them a clean bill of health – after Bush’s term ended.

So far, I’m not aware of a single Progressive tax-exempt organizations producing a long list of intrusive IRS questions about their activities, their donors, if they plan to run for office, etc.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Mark Michael. | June 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I’m keeping an eye out for faked cases of liberal groups being targeted by the IRS as were the conservative groups. They are pernicious enough to try it and the Obama administration sure wouldn’t mind. It’s a last gasp move, but they’re already huffing and puffing.

The GOP is concerned with the IRS targeting, I just got a fund raising call asking for a donation.

If tea party groups had their 401c4 charity status, how many Americans would rather contribute to local people they can trust?

    Lina Inverse in reply to DooDooEcon. | June 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Note, 501(c) status does not necessarily mean “charity”, it means non-profit. There are a couple dozen types, and besides the 501(c)(4)s such as the NRA’s lobbying arm or the current form of Obama’s Organizing for America (neither of which are for monetary profit organizations), others like farmer’s coops and state-chartered credit unions don’t really fit the word charity.

Uncle Samuel | June 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm

For quite some time, the GOP and the Democrats have been playing GOOD COP, BAD COP with the American people.

That, along with using Alinsky tactics (Romney showed us how well Republicans can use them in the Primaries, then turn wimp in the General Election – just like McCain did).

McCain, Christie, Graham, et al are as disgusting and despicable as the leftists…maybe moreso.

Now Rubio is demurring and whining that he may not vote for his gang’s Amnesty bill after all. Perhaps the feedback he’s getting from his constituency is not very complimentary.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | June 6, 2013 at 5:58 pm

The only Beginning of a Solution is to Eradicate the IRS completely.

State and local tax agencies can do the job at far less expense!