And just in time for 2014!
Democracy is such a quaint notion. Why let it get in the way of doing so much good in the world? I mean, what if it turns out people don’t want their money redistributed? That they want it for themselves and will vote to keep it. Greedy bastards.
Writing today in the Wall Street Journal, columnist Kimberly Strassel outlines how the White House is seeking to legitimize the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups by issuing a regulation that would reclassify them as political outfits that don’t qualify for tax-exempt status.
From her piece:
“The committee has reviewed thousands of tax exempt applications,” says House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp. “The new regulation so closely mirrors the abused tea-party group applications, it leads me to question if this new proposed regulation is simply another form of targeting.”
Here’s how it works. To get or keep tax-exempt status, 501(c)(4) organizations must devote a majority of their work to their “primary” social-welfare purpose. Most tea party groups were set up with a primary purpose of educating Americans on pressing problems—the size of government, the erosion of the Constitution—and did so mainly via nonpartisan voter guides, speakers forums, pamphlets or voter-registration drives.
What the proposed Treasury/IRS regulation would do is to re-categorize all these efforts as “political activity”—thereby making it all but impossible for tea party groups to qualify for 501(c)(4) status. Say an outfit’s primary purpose is educating voters on our unsustainable debt, which it does mainly with a guide explaining the problem and politicians’ voting records. Under the new rule, that guide is now “political activity” (rather than “social welfare”), which likely loses the group tax-exempt status.
The rule, in other words, is not designed to provide helpful “guidance” on allowable activities. It was designed, rather, as Mr. Camp explains, “to put tea party groups out of business.”
As Strassel suggests, the renewed effort to target Tea Party groups, this time with the Kosher for Passover label, indicates that the White House was aware all along of the original supposedly “rogue Cincinnati operation,” was caught red handed, and that it now wants to try again in a way that cannot be challenged.
Further, Strassel notes, the new rules would seem to legitimize the previous targeting as merely a misunderstanding that is now being “ironed out” for the sake of clarity.
This is Orwellian.
And as I wrote Wednesday, Obama’s hiring of John Podesta means we’ll get more White House power grabs. Pretty soon, we may even get used to it. Which is exactly what Orwell understood about how the Left gradually erodes liberty.