They're not correct to ask for additional information. The IRS is not permitted to single anyone out for having a particular ideology.Those are two different things. They're right to ask groups with political names whether they're primarily social welfare or political in their activities. They're wrong to do it only to one kind of political group, but not others. (An unanswered question here is whether they received many applications from Democrat-aligned groups. If 99% of the political-flavored applications were from tea party groups, you'd expect them to receive the most scrutiny.)It is worth noting that no one from the Administration has argued that this type of differntiation based on the name "Tea Party" was defensible. It is not. It was wrong. And I agree. That's not how they're supposed to do it.It was harmful to those requested groups, because the failure to approve their applications in a timely manner sends the de facto message that their tax exempt status was questionable, while non-conservative groups were far more likely not to get wrongfully sent that determination.I think you're making that last part up. Non-political groups are far more likely to not be asked to prove their non-political nature. The Smithville Garden Club doesn't invite attention. The "Blood of Tyrants Party" does. It's sort of crazy that the IRS can't use word flags to determine which non-profit apps to look at more closely.These groups were therefore placed in a position where they ought to have (and many did) refrained from engaging in activity that they were otherwise planning to do until that issue was resolved.That's wrong. They didn't even need to apply for 501(c)(4) status to be tax-exempt. If they refrained from activities while awaiting an IRS determination, that's their fault for being ignorant of the rules.That was not fair, and detrimental to groups who wanted to engage in lawful participation in public discourse in a timely manner.The "lawful participation" you're referring to is political activity, the very thing that calls into question their eligibility for 501(c)(4) status in the first place. And again, you don't need that status to lawfully participate or even to operate as a tax-exempt political organization.The fact is that these groups applied for a status they didn't need and didn't qualify for. The IRS got tangled up in trying to process these questionable applications and made serious mistakes in how it handled them. Other than it being a huge wast of time for the IRS and an embarrassment to the administration, no one was harmed.Again, none of these groups that were subjected to this more intensive scrutiny were ultimately denied - which makes it exceptionally unlikely that these were organizations that were not entitled to that exemption, or these groups were engaged in any abusive practices.Not exactly. It could also mean that having screwed up the process so badly, the IRS gave them all a pass so as not to invite even more howling. Besides, it makes little if any practical difference whether they're tax-social welfare groups or tax-exempt political groups. Instead, conservative groups were differentially forced to undergo extensive delays in the processing of their requests to a different degree than nonconservative groups. Right. Because these groups were associated with a group that is explicitly political and therefore deserved additional scrutiny.Again, the harm done to the groups barely rises above the level of inconvenience, the time and cost of complying with IRS requests for proof that they're no primarily political groups, which they are.They didn't need 501(c)(4) status to operate so how could any delay in receiving it impinge on their ability to operate or participate in the election, which on it's face suggests they weren't eligible to begin with?
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