Steve Miller, the acting chairman IRS chairman has been ousted, President Obama announced Wednesday (May 15). Miller’s departure stems from news of a GOP discrimination scandal.
Late last week the IRS confirmed that it targeted GOP members, and Tea Party groups looking to receive tax exemptions. Employees in the agency paid special attention to collectives using keywords to identify conservatives.
In addressing the incident, Obama responded to sentiments of those upset about the news. “Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it,” he said. “It should not matter what political stripe you’re from. The fact of the matter is the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity.
“I’ll do everything in my power to make sure it never happens again,” he added.
The president’s stern words are less aggressive than a statement released by the White House Monday (May 13). “The fact of the matter is what we know about this is of concern,” press secretary Jay Carney said. “We certainly find the actions taken, as reported, to be inappropriate.”
While Republicans are in an uproar, the IRS has long been partaking in suspect activity.
The Los Angeles Times:
Here are the genuine scandals in this affair: Political organizations are being allowed to masquerade as charities to avoid taxes and keep their donors secret, and the IRS has allowed them to do this for years.
The bottom line first: The IRS hasn’t done nearly enough over the years to rein in the subversion of the tax law by political groups claiming a tax exemption that is not legally permitted for campaign activity. Nor has it enforced rules requiring that donors to those groups pay gift tax on their donations.
The organizations at issue are known as 501(c)4 groups (call them C4s for short) after the section of the tax code that applies to them. They’re nonprofit “social welfare” organizations that by law must be devoted primarily to programs broadly serving their communities, not private groups. IRS forms reveal what the agency considers to be mainstream C4s: religious groups; cultural, educational and veterans organizations, homeowners associations, volunteer fire departments. In recent years, however, overtly political groups have been claiming C4 status, which allows them to keep their donor lists secret and to avoid paying taxes on certain income.
Our lunatic campaign finance system is what turned the typical C4 from a volunteer fire department into a conduit of anonymous political cash. Big donors were given the green light to spend freely on elections by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. That wasn’t good enough for some; they wanted to distribute their largess secretly.
Miller was not running the IRS at the time of the political scrutiny, most of which occurred in the agency’s Cincinnati office. He was however potentially involved in a coverup. Like special division leader Lois Lerner, Miller was briefed on the occurrence roughly a year before it was made public.