Former IRS Chief Counsel Rates the Agency's Scandal of Allegedly Targetting Tea Party Groups as a '9.5'

Tags : Scandal, Obama, Tax
(Photo : REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton) A Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service booklet is seen in New York, May 13, 2013. When U.S. tax agents started singling out non-profit groups for extra scrutiny in 2010, they looked at first only for key words such as 'Tea Party,' but later they focused on criticisms by groups of "how the country is being run."

Though difficult to quantify, when asked recently about the IRS targeting groups based on political affiliation, former IRS chief council Donald Korb rated the damage as 9.5 out of 10.

Detailed in a Glenn Reynolds column from USA Today, other comments made at a tax reform panel at Pepperdine University further indicated that the scandal is being taken seriously by experts in the field of tax law.

Reynolds further speculates that if seen as partisan, or even more damaging, illegitimate, the entire US tax system could grind to a halt if there is not at least the implicit mutual trust between the government and citizens. He goes on to say that further illegitimacy can be seen in the choice of Barbara Bosserman to lead the investigation into the scandal. Bosserman has been a long-time donor to Barack Obama's political campaigns.

The scandal has come alive again as recent battles in Congress over an omnibus spending bill have heated up over the attempt to include language in the bill by forbidding the IRS from targeting groups with a 501(c)(4) status, which are normally tax exempt non-profit groups. 

Many of the groups involved in the scandal have 501(c)(4) status, defined by law as civic leagues and groups engaged in "social welfare." 

The controversy comes as many other non-profit organizations; categorized as 501(c)(3) - charitable groups; and 501(c)(5) - unions; have not been targetted, despite also being involved in similar activities.

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