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Author Topic: The Inner Party strikes back
Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
So many instances of evidence being destroyed with this administration, it's understandable that one might confuse some of them. I guess Hillary hired the IRS email retention specialists.

Seneca's right, I actually thought this was the other thread involving Hillary [DOH]

Sorry about the confusion!

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
When you can't find the evidence you have imagined must exist, it must have been destroyed. You couldn't possibly be mistaken about whether it existed.

The idea that unless you find a self confessional smoking gun e-mail or memo you haven't found evidence is nonsensical. The is no question that the targeting occurred, that's just facts. The only question relevant about the emails is whether the illegal action also involved intentional actions and/or corruption and how high it reached.

And the fact pattern here, notwithstanding that its circumstantial, would be enough to convict you in tax court. Not clear why IRS officials shouldn't be held to a standard they would impose.

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scifibum
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Convict who of what? What do you want to happen to whom?

Everyone agreed that the targeting was inappropriate. What else happened that merits a fine or criminal charge?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The is no question that the targeting occurred
Yes there is, because the notion of targeting is a well debunked lie. The fact that you keep repeating it even though it's been shown to be completely untrue doesn't make it more true.
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Seriati
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Lol scifibum, see Pyrtolin for how "everyone" believes something - even obvious reality - is rarely true. I'd personally like to see corruption charges against anyone who deliberately misused the IRS for political purposes - which IS what most likely happened here Pyrtolin. We've become far too tolerant of officials abusing power and engaging in corrupt behavior and then hiding behind the fig leaf that it can be proven to a factual certainty (notwithstanding that no burden of proof in any court is that high).
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TomDavidson
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quote:
which IS what most likely happened here Pyrtolin
I disagree. There's absolutely no evidence that this is the case, in fact. You're simply presuming that the chain of events as described cannot be accurate, because you think it's more likely that someone was corrupt than several people were incompetent.

And that's fine, but it ultimately comes down to your opinion -- which, you'll recognize, is hardly legally binding. [Smile]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
] I'd personally like to see corruption charges against anyone who deliberately misused the IRS for political purposes - which IS what most likely happened here Pyrtolin.
If by targeting you mean "Investigating groups across the political spectrum who were applying for formal recognitions of a status that does not need to be registered in the first place who appeared to be intending to engage in political activity despite the status being the wrong one for political organizations"

What's not in question is that the IRS was investigating groups that applied for recognition, even though there was no need to apply. What is also not in question is that the groups were from across the political spectrum (with only one liberal group actually being declined).

The only case for "targeting" comes from a report that was explicitly manipulated to deceive people about the later item- to create a false impression of bias where it didn't exist.

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Seneca
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Not only is there evidence of it but Obama and other IRS officials have publicly admitted it happened and apologized for it. They are quibbling over who was responsible and how organized it was but those are just details.
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TomDavidson
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No, there is no evidence of it. Nor were there public admissions of deliberate partisan targeting, or apologies for partisan targeting. You can keep lying about this in hopes that it becomes the dominant narrative, but I for one will always correct you if I see you do it.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Not only is there evidence of it but Obama and other IRS officials have publicly admitted it happened and apologized for it.

THe only thing that was admitted was that overly specific terms were used. Again, on all sides of the spectrum. No one suggested there was any targeting, except for those that were trying to manufacture a phony scandal by presenting a biased report.
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Seneca
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No. The only lies come from those who falsely claim that liberal and progressive groups were equally targeted when it has been shown that they were not.
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TomDavidson
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*sigh* Okay, look, let's take this step by step. What, specifically, do you believe was "publicly admitted" and "apologized for?"

The original claim here is that the IRS was misused for political purposes. You doubled down on a rejection of that claim by saying it was "publicly admitted" and "apologized for." Where did this happen, and what was said?

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scifibum
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When I say everyone agrees there was "targeting", what I mean is that everyone agrees that they used political-seeming keywords to screen and delay applications in a way that the IRS and both major political parties agreed was inappropriate and should be stopped. I don't mean that everyone agrees that it was an attempt to implement a partisan agenda. I'm probably guilty of thinking of the word "targeting" in a wholly technical sense. In my industry "targeting" often means using a characteristic to isolate something, like using a keyword to flag/screen an application. I did not intend any connotation to damaging ones opponents.

Seriati:

"I'd personally like to see corruption charges against anyone who deliberately misused the IRS for political purposes..."

Part of what bothers me about all the right wing fervor on this issue is that there's not much reason to think anyone would have thought this was an effective way to influence political outcomes.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
No. The only lies come from those who falsely claim that liberal and progressive groups were equally targeted when it has been shown that they were not.

That is outright false. IT was celarly shown taht the lists of terms the IRS used included liberal and conservative terms, it was also clearly shown taht the only group taht actualyl got a denial in the whole process was a liberal group. There was neve r any evidence, only assertions, aht only conservative groups were investigated.

(You also seem to be unclear on what "targeting" means. TArgeting would mean that one specific group was singled out for investigation. Targeting did not happen because there was not particular group singled out- terms were picked from all across the political spectrum as ways to try to filter out political applications for what's supposed to be a generally non-political status.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
which IS what most likely happened here Pyrtolin
I disagree. There's absolutely no evidence that this is the case, in fact.
I guess this could be correct, if we defined "absolutely no evidence" as "a whole lot of evidence that proves targeting occurs, and that would almost certainly be enough to meet the more likely than not standard that it was deliberately done on a political basis." I think claiming there is "absolutely no evidence" is more an indictment of your own bias and credibility on this issue than a reflection of reality.
quote:
You're simply presuming that the chain of events as described cannot be accurate, because you think it's more likely that someone was corrupt than several people were incompetent.
I'm not presuming anything. I am reacting the facts that occurred. There was targeting based on political criteria, the overwhelming impact of which applied to conservative groups.

It's interesting too, that notwithstanding Pyrtolin's claims on race that any disparate impact no matter how small or impossible to determine the root cause is in fact deliberate racial discrimination he's utterly incapable of applying consistent logic to the results of these policies.
quote:
And that's fine, but it ultimately comes down to your opinion -- which, you'll recognize, is hardly legally binding. [Smile]
True, all we can do is whine and complain about it no matter which side we're on. But it scares me how easy a left that I grew up believing was on a crusade to root out governmental abuse and corruption has become a movement that believes using corruption to further its own ends is a good thing.
quote:
Originally posted by Scifibum:
When I say everyone agrees there was "targeting", what I mean is that everyone agrees that they used political-seeming keywords to screen and delay applications in a way that the IRS and both major political parties agreed was inappropriate and should be stopped.

Inappropriate is soft, it was most likely illegal.
quote:
I don't mean that everyone agrees that it was an attempt to implement a partisan agenda.
There is no question, by the way that it was the result of a partisan agenda. You can look back and see activists on the left pushing for it before it began. I agree though, you could make a reasonable dispute about whether it was intentionally partisan in its implementation, or whether it was negligently partisan but meant to be good faith.

Of course, to get to how it was implemented, you have to skip the question of whether it should have been implemented at all. The answer to that is No. Based on the law as it was then - and still is - not one of these applications should have been denied or delayed. And it wasn't a close case, even presuming there was potentially a harm in approving, the IRS has the ability, and has in fact, applied penalties to such entities after approval.

When I see that fact pattern, there is no chance that I presume that an illegal motive, pursued in an illegal manner with a substantial political reason and no other reasonable explanation is not political. It's the prima facie case, and it requires an active defense, not a you can't prove it response.
quote:
I'm probably guilty of thinking of the word "targeting" in a wholly technical sense. In my industry "targeting" often means using a characteristic to isolate something, like using a keyword to flag/screen an application. I did not intend any connotation to damaging ones opponents.
I think both are true here. But I agree, the "targeting" originated in how the flagging was done. The actions after that point demonstrate the reasons.
quote:
quote:
I'd personally like to see corruption charges against anyone who deliberately misused the IRS for political purposes..."
Part of what bothers me about all the right wing fervor on this issue is that there's not much reason to think anyone would have thought this was an effective way to influence political outcomes.
There was tons of liberal concern about "dark money" at the time. It was literally everywhere. You can look back at Pyrtolin's own claims on that point in this thread.

Keep in mind, I don't necessarily agree that we should allow 501(c)(4)'s to operate in this way. But I'm absolutely committed to the rule of law, and the way this was handled violated the established rule of law for making a change at every level, in every way and for frankly partisan or partisan driven purposes.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
There was targeting based on political criteria, the overwhelming impact of which applied to conservative groups.
Both of these statements are untrue, except insofar as "political criteria" means "has a name that explicitly referenced a political party."

quote:
Based on the law as it was then - and still is - not one of these applications should have been denied or delayed.
This is not true. In fact, I would say the exact opposite: that almost all of them should have been, but disgraceful political misdirection from whiny scumbags managed to avoid this fate. These were not legitimate advocacy groups; they were partisan funding groups claiming to be generic advocacy. But the IRS chickened out.

quote:
the way this was handled violated the established rule of law
Which rule of law, specifically? As I read the law, the IRS is not only specifically empowered to determine whether a given group is a legitimate non-partisan entity for the purposes of non-profit status, but is required by law to do so.

[ May 01, 2015, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
There was targeting based on political criteria, the overwhelming impact of which applied to conservative groups.
Both of these statements are untrue, except insofar as "political criteria" means "has a name that explicitly referenced a political party."
The target lists are available, they are overwhelming derived from conservative search terms, and applied to screen out virtually all conservative groups and few progressive ones. Please keep to the real facts.
quote:
quote:
Based on the law as it was then - and still is - not one of these applications should have been denied or delayed.
This is not true.
What I said is literal fact. You are welcome to demonstrate for the specific applications in question what exactly would have led to an opposite result. There is nothing there, only a presumption that the applications include false statements would get you there.
quote:
In fact, I would say the exact opposite: that almost all of them should have been, but disgraceful political misdirection from whiny scumbags managed to avoid this fate. These were not legitimate advocacy groups; they were partisan funding groups claiming to be generic advocacy. But the IRS chickened out.
Rather the IRS realized that their rules and laws did NOT give them the option they wanted to take, and that actually denying any of them would have resulted in a complete lose in front of any court that ruled on it.

This is exactly why they proposed changing the rules immediately thereafter.
quote:
quote:
the way this was handled violated the established rule of law
Which rule of law, specifically?
Several actually. Equal treatment under the law. The process for amending or modifying the regulations of a federal agency. And in this case the prohibition on the IRS engaging in political activity. That's before we even think about whether there were also criminal actions that occurred.
quote:
As I read the law, the IRS is not only specifically empowered to determine whether a given group is a legitimate non-partisan entity for the purposes of non-profit status, but is required by law to do so.
True. Now demonstrate what in the applications themselves warranted the actions they engaged in. I saw several of them, and the assertions they made fit legitimately within the rule.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Please keep to the real facts.
What percentage of "conservative" groups were "screened out," or identified for screening, relative to "progressive" ones? Those would, of course, be the "real facts."

quote:
Rather the IRS realized that their rules and laws did NOT give them the option they wanted to take...
Who has said as much? It certainly seems that the IRS does indeed have the authority to revoke the necessary status for any group found to be insufficiently non-partisan. What they have conceded -- in fact, as far as I can tell, all they have conceded -- is that creating a short-list of groups to examine based on their naming conventions was an impolitic idea. Where do you find any assertion that they do not have the legal standing to revoke status?

quote:
And in this case the prohibition on the IRS engaging in political activity.
Doesn't that rather presume an untruth -- that the IRS was engaging in political activity when trying to determine, as commanded by law, whether specific groups were entitled to a specific legal status?

quote:
Now demonstrate what in the applications themselves warranted the actions they engaged in.
Rather, identify what rule requires that only information provided in the application should be used for a determination of status.
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Seriati
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Tom, I know you enjoy taking being non-responsive to the level of art, but you need to put up on some of these challenges.

The breakdown of conservative and non-conservative deferrals has been widely reported, including on this thread. If you want to challenge those facts please do so with actual references to something supporting your position.

Who said the IRS was changing the rules because they didn't say what they wanted? Plenty of commentators. But it's not like any intelligent person couldn't reach that conclusion from the specific rule changes they were trying to make.

On your third "question," no it doesn't.

On your fourth "question" we already did that - you and I - once in this thread. No matter how you parse it, the questions asked exceeded what was necessary to make that determination, and unless you presume there were lies in the application the status should have been granted based on the face of the applications. Other applications by other groups did not provide any more in those sections and did not receive that level of scrutiny. Hence the violation of equal protection.

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TomDavidson
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I'd like to examine your last point in more detail, in particular. Let us imagine a group that fills out a perfectly acceptable application, but is named "The Committee to Elect Tom Davidson by Any Means Necessary." Is it your contention that, based on their otherwise satisfactory application, this group should receive the requested status without any further review?
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TomDavidson
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Consider, for example:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/us/politics/nonprofit-applicants-chafing-at-irs-tested-political-limits.html?hp&_r=0&pagewanted=all

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Seriati
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What does the section that describes the activities they will engage in say, and is it consistent with the provisions of the rule?

Does it say for instance, the Committee is a group dedicated to bringing hope and cheer to the population by educating them about their political rights through reference to the candidacy of the farcical candidate Tom Davidson. It will at all times comply with the existing rules on political activity that apply to 501(c)(4) groups.

What's in a name?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
What's in a name?
It seems to me that, all rhetorical questions aside, that's one of the things the IRS actually is required by law to investigate.
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Seriati
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Pretend all you want, most of the delayed applications contained no actual flags in their names or in the descriptions of their activities. And in any event, the IRS is charged with investigating their breaches of the status, which is exactly what it has done with other 501(c)(4)'s. The change you recommend, is itself, a divergence from practice and a violation of equal protection for which there is no reasonable basis (ie it was an arbitrary and capricious divergence).

Without a red flag on the application there is no reasonable grounds to assume a future violation.

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TomDavidson
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Do we agree that the change in finance law which led to the sudden boom of applications was itself a divergence from previous practice which may have necessitated changes in procedure?
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Seriati
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No we do not, since those procedures predated the original changes that the SC was reverting. The changes aren't necessary period. The implementation was completely inconsistent with the requirements for any changes.

Whether it would be advisable is a different matter.

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TomDavidson
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Would it be advisable?
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Seriati
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I'm torn on that. The fact as I see it, is this isn't a tax issue at all. The tax liability of the 501(c)(4) is almost certainly negligible, and the donations themselves are not tax exempt like they would be in a 501(c)(3). The only reason any one cares is the non-tax reason, ie donor confidentiality on funds that are permitted in part to be used for political activity.

I think we ought to have express donor confidentiality rights at least up to a point. I don't think its reasonable that someone donating $150 to a political cause can be located and targeted by people adverse to that cause. But I get the concern with people secretly donating millions or more.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
No matter how you parse it, the questions asked exceeded what was necessary to make that determination, and unless you presume there were lies in the application the status should have been granted based on the face of the applications.
The application (which is not necessary to claim the status) is a direct request by the organization for formal verification that they meet the standards. The delays had no impact on their ability to conduct business with the identification, it just put the IRS on the spot to figure out a new method of determining "limited political activity" since the one that it had been using since laws were passed establishing it had been wiped out by the supreme court (and no prior polices true existed, because using this particular dodge was only a relevant tactic in the wake of the financial limitations that were left in place)

quote:
Other applications by other groups did not provide any more in those sections and did not receive that level of scrutiny.
That is abjectly false. Other groups simply did not complain about being processed as they'd expect. As for disproportionate impact, that's 100% on liberal groups, as one liberal group was denied and thus could actually could claim an impact. Because the groups that had applied to be scrutinized could operate freely while their application was in progress, there was no meaningful impact on them.
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