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Author Topic: The Inner Party strikes back
noel c.
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Greg,

Do you need something more than this:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/irs-apologizes-targeting-conservative-groups

"White House spokesman Jay Carney declared it was indeed inappropriate for the IRS to target tea party groups. But he brushed aside questions about whether the White House itself would investigate.

Instead, Carney said the administration expects a thorough investigation by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration. The inspector general has been looking into the issue since last summer, and his report is expected to come out next week, the IG's office said Friday. ( https://nonprofitquarterly.org/policysocial-context/22316-inspector-general-s-report-on-the-irs-a-summary.html )

Carney said he did not know when the White House first learned that tea party groups were being targeted.

Lerner acknowledged it was wrong for the agency to target groups based on political affiliation.

'That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review,' Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

'The IRS would like to apologize for that', she added. "

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Pyrtolin
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All that does is confirm that the only problem with what the IRS was doing was it was being to specific internally about making categories of groups that clearly seemed to be political and thus might need to have their claim of 503c4 status revoked and instead be instructed to use the tax exempt 527 categorization that was more appropriate to their nature
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noel c.
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Pyrtolin,

I will fix it for you:

"All that does is confirm that the only problem with what the IRS was doing was it was being to specific internally about making categories of (conservative) groups that clearly seemed to be political and thus might need to have their (ideological) claim of 503c4 status revoked and instead be instructed to use the tax exempt 527 categorization that was more appropriate to their nature. "...

No, not unless you want to be "Eiched" , or "Firefoxed", at some time in the future:

"There are no upper limits on contributions to 527s and no restrictions on who may contribute. There are no spending limits imposed on these organizations; however, they must register with the IRS, *publicly disclose their donors* and file periodic reports of contributions and expenditures. "

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Pyrtolin
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You added the lie that Issa it trying to propagate through cherry-picked reports, to be sure. The IRS was also equally specific about non conservative groups as well, but Issa deliberately had them excluded from the report to create the false impression that you're trying to improperly assert.

And the danger is that people might actually has the information they need to know who is trying to tell them what and who is acting to hurt them? People might actually have to face the natural social consequences of their actions? That's exactly what the Supreme Court rules should be helping regulate our political process in the first place.

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Greg Davidson
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noel,

Yes, I would like a specific answer to my questions, starting with naming specific entities and why you don't believe it was appropriate for the IRS to ask questions in order to determine if they were primarily non-political.

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noel c.
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Pyrtolin,

"You added the lie that Issa it trying to propagate through cherry-picked reports, to be sure. "...

No, Lerner, and the Inspector General at the IRS announced that "lie", and you lied about me "adding" that "lie"... Liar.

"The IRS was also equally specific about non conservative groups as well... "...

You just lied again, Liar.

"And the danger is that people might actually has the information they need to know who is trying to tell them what and who is acting to hurt them? "...

Yes, the Inspector General is evil!

"People might actually have to face the natural social consequences of their actions? "...

Right, let's abolish the secret ballot also. People should be held publicly accountable for their vote, as in North Korea. Likewise, politically incorrect contributions should result in selective termination of employment... even though a socialist president, and his former Secretary of State, publicly held a contemporaneously identical position.

"That's exactly what the Supreme Court rules should be helping regulate our political process in the first place. "...

You get'em Kim Jong-Un

Noel: Please see your email. -OrneryMod

[ April 14, 2014, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: OrneryMod ]

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noel c.
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Greg,

"Yes, I would like a specific answer to my questions, starting with naming specific entities and why you don't believe it was appropriate for the IRS to ask questions in order to determine if they were primarily non-political. "...

Asked, and answered.

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Greg Davidson
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Noel,

Your response that dodges providing a specific answer to my question is an "answer", but it may not communicate what you hope it does.

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Seneca
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Some pretty damning emails that contradict earlier statements.

quote:
Newly uncovered emails show Lois Lerner, the key figure in the IRS scandal, was talking with the Justice Department about going after groups seeking tax-exempt status, just days before she publicly acknowledged the agency was targeting Tea Party and other organizations.

The emails, obtained by Judicial Watch and first reported by TownHall.com, are another indication the targeting may have stretched deeper into the Obama administration. Lerner, the director of the agency’s Exempt Organizations division before retiring last year, initially said the targeting was limited to agents working in the IRS’ Cincinnati field office.

However, a series of inspector general and congressional probes since the scandal broke last year appear to show the targeting of mostly conservative-leaning groups seeking tax-exempt status was orchestrated in Washington.

In a May 2013 email, Lerner responded to a Justice Department inquiry about whether tax-exempt groups could be criminally prosecuted for lying about political activity.

"I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ,” Lerner reportedly wrote to the office of Steven Miller, the agency’s acting director at the time. “He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who 'lied' on their 1024s -- saying they weren't planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures.

“DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS."

Nikole C. Flax, Miller’s chief of staff, responded: "I think we should do it -- also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?"

House Republicans claimed after the emails were published that they were further proof of coordination among various agencies to target conservatives.

"The release of new documents underscores the political nature of IRS Tea Party targeting and the extent to which supposed apolitical officials took direction from elected Democrats," House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement. "These e-mails are part of an overwhelming body of evidence that political pressure from prominent Democrats led to the targeting of Americans for their political beliefs."

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said that if the targeting hadn't been stopped, "Eric Holder's politicized Justice Department would likely have been leveling trumped up criminal charges against Tea Party groups to intimidate them from exercising their Constitutional rights."

The administration at the highest level denied the targeting, from 2010 through the 2012 presidential election cycle, was illegal or politically motivated.

President Obama told Fox News in February there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” in connection with the targeting.

And last week, emails obtained by the GOP-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform show the office of the committee's top-ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, contacted the IRS in January 2013 about True the Vote, one of the conservative groups that was targeted.

A Lerner staffer in response sent the group’s related 990 IRS forms to Cummings and his staff.

In another email, Lerner discussed with agency staffers the purpose of an upcoming, April 9 2013, hearing that also suggests the targeting went beyond the IRS.

“There are several groups of folks from the [Federal Election Commission] world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are)," she wrote.

“One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn't feel so comfortable doing the stuff. So, don't be fooled about how this is being articulated -- it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity."


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TomDavidson
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I would just like to point out that noel, G3, and Seneca have all previously asserted that, if campaign finance malfeasance were occurring, it wouldn't be a case for the IRS but should be handled through criminal investigation. I would like to point out that this "evidence" of Lerner's "wrongdoing" consists entirely of her asking at which point IRS investigations into campaign finance malfeasance -- specifically, tax fraud -- should be handed over to the DOJ. Surely noel, G3, and Seneca all agree that actual cases of tax fraud should be investigated, no?

Pull the other one, gents; it has bells on.

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Seneca
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If there was legitimate criminal activity occurring, where are the investigations and charges? Why didn't they occur? The mere fact that they don't exist after these emails and what they discussed shows this was absolute corruption and abuse of power.
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Pyrtolin
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You send us a a report about email sent out just a few days before the scandal was manufactured that explicitly points out how the IRS was escalating the matter to the DOJ so that it could begin investigating likely cases of fraud and misreporting and then ask where the investigations were? It seems like you've answered your own question there IF anything, the bit you quotes above makes it seem like the entire point of the scandal was to make it politically infeasible to properly investigate and prosecute groups who were misusing 501c4 status to conceal political donors.
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Seneca
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quote:
Nearly half of American voters think the IRS targeted conservative groups at the request of the White House, and most want Congress to keep investigating the matter.

The latest Fox News poll also finds 69 percent don’t feel President Obama has followed through on his vow to “find out exactly what happened on this.”

By a 49-41 percent margin, voters believe the Obama administration “intentionally had the IRS target conservative political groups.” That includes 26 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, 67 percent of voters want Congress to keep investigating the IRS until “someone is held accountable.” An all-time high of 78 percent thought lawmakers should investigate the IRS in early June.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS.

The poll shows agreement across party lines: Majorities of Republicans (77 percent), independents (67 percent) and Democrats (57 percent) favor Congress continuing to investigate until “someone is held accountable.”

Most of the tax-exempt groups targeted by the IRS have “tea party” in their name. Among voters who consider themselves part of that movement, 80 percent think the White House intentionally had those groups targeted, and 87 percent say the IRS investigation should continue.

Overall, 72 percent of voters disagree with the president when he says there is not even a “smidgen” of corruption regarding the IRS targeting conservative groups.


The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,012 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 13-15, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.


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TomDavidson
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In related news, the American electorate is poorly served by the media and is, well, pretty dumb to start with.
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scifibum
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Seneca, what would your reaction be to a poll conducted by MSNBC that found that 62% of respondents agree that "military-style 'assault weapons' ought to be banned for use by civilians"?
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Seneca, what would your reaction be to a poll conducted by MSNBC that found that 62% of respondents agree that "military-style 'assault weapons' ought to be banned for use by civilians"?

They are already banned for use by civilians in most places.
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TomDavidson
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That is, of course, not actually an answer to the question. [Wink]
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Wayward Son
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Based upon the defense she mounted during her first appearance, she has no legal justification for withholding testimony, which is why she will be charged with contempt.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And if that is all the House committe is after, then they have succeeded.

But I thought they were after bigger fish...

Because, basically, if they charge Lerner, they are throwing away a path of evidence that would lead higher.

I just happened to notice that someone else basically agrees with me (and says it better than I did. [Smile] )

quote:
Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a Notre Dame Law School professor who studies nonprofit law, said the fact that Republican-led committees "are now focusing their accusations on a single, IRS career civil servant strongly suggests that they have failed to find any evidence to support accusing higher officials with wrongdoing despite investigating the exemption application mess for almost a full year."

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Seneca
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No. The reason they are going after Lerner is because Lerner is the key to getting higher and she won't cooperate. They might offer her a reduced sentence if she made some kind of offer of proof of what she would testify to, but I doubt she will. She's probably been silenced and threatened by her higher-ups.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:


[QUOTE]Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a Notre Dame Law School professor who studies nonprofit law, said the fact that Republican-led committees "are now focusing their accusations on a single, IRS career civil servant strongly suggests that they have failed to find any evidence to support accusing higher officials with wrongdoing despite investigating the exemption application mess for almost a full year."


Hahaha.

Nonprofit law isn't key to understanding the strategy of prosecution and pressured confessions.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
No. The reason they are going after Lerner is because Lerner is the key to getting higher and she won't cooperate. They might offer her a reduced sentence if she made some kind of offer of proof of what she would testify to, but I doubt she will. She's probably been silenced and threatened by her higher-ups.
I saw an episode where something like that happened on House of Cards. My wife said it was totally believable, but she was glad it was fantasy. If you think that sort of thing really does happen in the real world, it raises the legitimate question that if the stakes are so high for Lerner's testimony, why doesn't Obama just take her out? So far, the VP on HoC has personally killed two people and destroyed about a dozen others' lives to protect himself.
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Wayward Son
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It still seems that, if the Republicans were truly serious, that they would grant her immunity, if only to remove any Fifth Amendment pleadings. [Confused]

Allowing her to plead the Fifth only slows things down.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
It still seems that, if the Republicans were truly serious, that they would grant her immunity, if only to remove any Fifth Amendment pleadings. [Confused]

Allowing her to plead the Fifth only slows things down.

I agree. I think the purpose is to keep the "scandal" in the public eye to score political points, not to actually discover if there's any there there.
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
It still seems that, if the Republicans were truly serious, that they would grant her immunity, if only to remove any Fifth Amendment pleadings. [Confused]

Allowing her to plead the Fifth only slows things down.

If they granted her immunity, then she'd just testify that she knew nothing and walk away. She's most likely been threatened from above either physically, financially or both, and is choosing to be silent. What good is immunity against that?
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Wayward Son
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quote:
If they granted her immunity, then she'd just testify that she knew nothing and walk away.
Huh? Immunity only covers you from prosecution for crimes you may have committed that you talk about in your testamony. It does not cover you from committing crimes thereafter, as in refusing to answer a Congressional committee's questions.

She could just as well testify that she knows nothing now, and does not need to plead the Fifth to do so. So explain to me in more detail how this would work. [Confused]

quote:
She's most likely been threatened from above either physically, financially or both, and is choosing to be silent. What good is immunity against that?
Of course she could choose not to say anything. But then it would be clear that she is not doing so to protect herself, but to protect someone else.

You assume she is protecting someone else. If the Republicans on the committee were sure of that, they would offer her immunity and remove all doubt. [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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I'm still not clear on what they'd actually charge her with.
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noel c.
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"If they granted her immunity, then she'd just testify that she knew nothing and walk away. She's most likely been threatened from above either physically, financially or both, and is choosing to be silent. What good is immunity against that? "...

Or even more cynically, took *complete* responsibility for the plan to silence conservative voices prior to November 2012... and walk away with a smile.

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Seneca
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quote:
Or even more cynically, took *complete* responsibility for the plan to silence conservative voices prior to November 2012... and walk away with a smile.
That too.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by noel c.:
"If they granted her immunity, then she'd just testify that she knew nothing and walk away. She's most likely been threatened from above either physically, financially or both, and is choosing to be silent. What good is immunity against that? "...

Or even more cynically, took *complete* responsibility for the plan to silence conservative voices prior to November 2012... and walk away with a smile.

Or, rather feeling completely embarrassed for copping to a plot that had no practical effect, and couldn't have even been expected to actually have any effect; that, at worst, would have just resulted in some political groups needing to disclose their donors per the actual intent of the law?
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TomDavidson
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I don't think your guess is likely, Pyrtolin, as I don't think Issa is capable of feeling shame.
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noel c.
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"... and couldn't have even been expected to actually have any effect; that, at worst, would have just resulted in some political groups needing to *disclose their donors* per the actual intent of the law?

Right, what individual should have any fear of governmental reprisal for political beliefs? If Ms. Lerner has demonstrated anything, it is that mid-level bureaucrats would never behave in a way which would necessitate their pleading of the fifth. [Wink]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Right, what individual should have any fear of governmental reprisal for political beliefs?
Can I quickly get a gut check from you, noel?
If these organizations were committing tax fraud, should they have been prosecuted?

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noel c.
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"Can I quickly get a gut check from you, noel?
If these organizations were committing tax fraud, should they have been prosecuted? "...

If "they" were committing tax fraud, the determination would be made through impartially random audits, not targeted political searches motivated by complaints, of Democratic congressmen, to the IRS subdivision of Jack Lew's Department of Treasury.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If "they" were committing tax fraud, the determination would be made through impartially random audits...
Can you explain why? It seems to me that non-random audits of likely groups that are then escalated to the DOJ when wrongdoing is suspected would be far more effective and a far better use of public monies.

Do you also believe that impartially random searches at airports are effective at catching terrorists?

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JoshuaD
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Tom: Do you think it is a bad practice for the IRS managment to use their authority to put a higher level of scrutiny on those they disagree with politically?
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D.W.
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Isn't it bad practice not to focus on a group you suspect because you are afraid of being seen as partisan? I would suggest it comes down to who’s time they are consuming. If it is something they are doing in house then I have little problem with them deciding for themselves. If they are having an impact on the groups making them “prove” they have done nothing wrong then I have a problem. One is a possible waste of resources due to bias. The other is partisan harassment.
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noel c.
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"Isn't it bad practice not to focus on a group you suspect because you are afraid of being seen as partisan? "...

Yes.

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JoshuaD
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Of course. That's not a response to my question, though.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Do you think it is a bad practice for the IRS managment to use their authority to put a higher level of scrutiny on those they disagree with politically?
No. I think it is a bad practice for IRS management to use their authority to put a higher level of scrutiny on groups because they disagree with them politically. The groups in question deserved a higher level of scrutiny; there's little question about that.
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JoshuaD
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No disagreement between us on the procedure then; I agree your wording is better.

I'm not familiar enough with the facts of this issue to say one way or another whether this group should have been scrutinized.

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