Sunday, May 19, 2013

Carpe Diem, Republicans. Seize A Golden Opportunity

The days following the exposure of the abuses carried out by the Internal Revenue Service have brought about some interesting reactions.  We have seen and heard reactions across the political spectrum.  While Democrats hope to assure the public that this is something that both parties have engaged in over the course of history and Republicans are busy trying to lasso President Obama into every devious action, I continue to believe this is a golden opportunity for Republicans, both on Capitol Hill and in their local communities. 

From my representative in Congress, Congressman John Culberson writes:

The politicization of the Internal Revenue Service is Nixonian in its means and un-American in its ends. Respect for the rule of law is the foundation of our Republic, and the Administration’s complete disregard for it is frightening. I am actively working with other Members of Congress to find those responsible, hold them accountable, and make sure that this cannot happen again. I have already contacted Treasury Secretary Jack Lew asking for answers about the scandal. Additionally, I have cosponsored theTaxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act , which reaffirms the Constitutional right of political expression and makes it a federal crime for the IRS to discriminate in this manner.

Here is the opinion of Dan Pfeiffer, spokesperson for President Obama. The law is irrelevant. Ponder this arrogance for a moment:

So, we have conservatives demanding accountability, which is good, and sponsoring additional legislation, which may or may not be necessary.  On the other hand, we have a member of Team Obama dismissing the rule of law as irrelevant.  

My argument would center around the opportunity for Republicans to really get out there and promote the core of Republican philosophy - the country is better served by smaller, more efficient government.  The liberal push during the Obama years has been to expand government at every opportunity.  The IRS scandal is a prime opportunity to shine a light on the impending disaster of the IRS involvement in the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare.

Not only are the officials involved in the IRS abusive actions still employed and on the job, but some were actually promoted and received generous bonuses for their work.

The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit.Grant announced today that he would retire June 3, despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office May 8, a week ago.
While the talking point still being used is that the sheer number of applications for tax exempt status increased in 2010 and resulted in putting the additional - abusive - scrutiny on mostly conservative sounding groups and individual, even this has been debunked.  

But Todd Young, a Republican congressman from Indiana, pointed out atFriday's House Ways and Means Committee hearing with former acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller and Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George that this was not the case, according to the very data the IRS provided to the Treasury IG's office. 
There were, he noted, actually fewer applications for tax-exempt status by groups seeking to be recognized as social-welfare organizations that year than the previous one, according to this IRS data. The real surge in applications did not come until 2012 -- the year the IRS stopped the practice of treating the Tea Party class of groups differently from others.

For an example of abuse of an individual, Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot,'s story tells the tale of what he experienced after generously donating to the campaign of Mitt Romney.

So, when Mr. Miller showed up to testify about the whole mess before the House Ways and Means Committee last week, he became the face of an inefficient and bloated bureaucracy gone wild.

Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, who was fired by President Obama this week but is sticking around to help with the transition, was almost casual about the pattern of biased enforcement that cost him his job. Earlier this week he blamed the political targeting on "rogue" officials in Cincinnati, but on Friday he said the behavior was "obnoxious" but that he does "not believe that partisanship motivated the people who engaged in the practices described in the inspector general's report." He even took issue with the word "targeting."
Mr. Miller said the whole thing is a misunderstanding based on 
Mr. Miller said the whole thing is a misunderstanding based on some "foolish mistakes" made by "people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection." What really happened at the IRS wasn't an attempt to silence the Administration's political enemies during an election season but a simple case of "horrible customer service," he said.

This is where Republicans come in.  This is where Republicans can seize the day and explain to the voting public that taxpayers are not customers of the IRS but that taxpaying is mandatory in our society.  There is no choice to avoid all taxes and remain within legal boundaries of doing so.  Our bloated, invasive tax code must be reformed and made more manageable so that abuses are not occurring in the future.  The answer is not to write more laws, it is to explain that the IRS is comprised of thousands of employees, not to mention that lots of people are dependent on the the tax business of clients to help wade through it all - accountants, CPA's, tax lawyers, and so on. The tax paying process must be streamlined and made less complicated.

Republicans can now easily point to the mess that the IRS will make of the implementation of Obamacare in the very near future.  Already HHS Secretary Sebelius is on the hot seat for reaching out - some say strong arming - private companies to finance the latest behemoth brought to us by big government liberals.

 A handful of congressional committees are looking into Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ solicitation of monetary contributions from private companies to help fund an organization that promotes Obamacare.Sebelius sought donations from various groups after Congress failed to make appropriations to Enroll America, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to promoting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and making sure the public is aware of its potential benefits. The group is operated by Anne Filipic, former White House deputy director for public engagement.An HHS spokesman initially denied that Sebelius was seeking the contributions. But the agency reversed course and later maintained that the secretary was authorized to seek assistance under the Public Health Service Act, which permits the secretary to work in behalf of nonprofit groups that offer health information. Justice Department regulations further permit cabinet members to seek contributions to organizations as a private citizen as long as they don’t use their official title or “solicit funds from a subordinate or from someone who has or seeks business with the Department.”Sebelius has denied asking for money from any firm regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Carpe diem, Republicans.  Seize a golden opportunity when it presents itself.

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