June 2013

The long arm of politics | Focus

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The long arm of politics

by Ambika Puniani Bailey
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Just when everyone in Washington, D.C., was trying to get along and pass budget resolutions and immigration reform, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed it was unfairly targeting conservative groups. The revelation brought the uneasy alliances to a screeching halt and further embarrassed the Obama administration, which already was trying to pivot away from renewed attention to the deaths in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

The IRS admitted to targeting about 75 conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. The agency's Cincinnati office (so far, the only office implicated in the scandal) searched applications for words such as "patriot" and "tea party" and then proceeded to scrutinize the organizations in question—in some cases asking for donor records, which typically is beyond the IRS' purview.

As can be expected, high-level IRS employees are claiming ignorance, and Republican lawmakers are looking for answers. At press time, the House Ways and Means and Oversight and Government Reform committees have called hearings in the hopes of uncovering the facts.

President Obama has forced the resignation of the head of the IRS and condemned the IRS' practices, saying: "I have no patience with it; I will not tolerate it; and we will make sure we find out exactly what...

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