IRS staff members were doing their job

Who knew, what and when, really makes no difference with the IRS issue.

The real issue is that some low-level workers are doing the job Republican lawmakers refuse to do: catch tax cheats!

Congress has cut the IRS budget to the bone, which means fewer people to do more. It stands to reason that when they see a request for a tax exemption, it would catch their eye whether it is a legitimate request or one of the so-called social-welfare programs or PACs used for nothing other than politics, which would disqualify them for tax relief.

Even some of the right-wing paramilitary groups are using the word "patriot" in their names, so why should they be exempt from paying taxes?

The IRS was doing its job. I suggest members of Congress get back to their job of legislating and spend less time trying to hang President Barack Obama.

Johnny Strawther

Antioch

IRS scandal really isn't a big deal

Sadly, in the context of today's norms, the current accusations against the IRS of targeting conservative groups are no big deal.

We already know Washington is listening in everywhere and reviewing our emails and credit card purchases.

We see that corrupt officials who headed major financial organizations, such as MF Global, and stole billions from thousands of customers walk without even a slap on the wrist after congressional hearings.


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We've all "learned" that anyone who talks about the importance of the Constitution, individual responsibility, the meaning of freedom, disingenuous rhetoric on government transparency, or return to a sound monetary system has to be some kind of strange eccentric or crazy.

So what's the big deal with the IRS? Unless, of course, it prompts a few citizens to think for themselves and realize where our country is headed.

Chris Kniel

Orinda

Groups are trying to scam taxpayers

The serious misconduct in this IRS "affair" was perpetrated by clearly political organizations trying to scam the American people by falsely claiming tax-exempt status to the IRS as "civic leagues, social welfare organizations and local associations of employees" -- which, by law, are supposed to be "operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare."

The Obama administration reacted appropriately and legally in scrutinizing groups' blatantly misapplying the law.

The fact that there was a preponderance of conservative organizations being "targeted" is a natural and normal statistical result of the preponderance of tea party and other conservative political groups actually abusing the 501(c)4 provisions of the tax code.

They were not serious charitable or nonpolitically motivated educational groups: They were PACs, plain and simple.

Ed Chainey

Richmond

Misconduct of IRS rampant under Obama

Houston's Catherine Engelbrecht sought tax-exempt status in 2010 for King Street Patriots and True the Vote. The latter citizen group, already successful in documenting voter fraud, also promotes voter ID laws.

Within months, Engelbrecht, her husband, and their business were repeatedly and aggressively targeted by the IRS -- and also by the FBI, ATF and OSHA.

All four are executive-branch federal agencies, controlled ultimately by the president, though when they behave like thugs, President Barack Obama pretends they are "independent."

Frank Vandersloot, a rags-to-riches U.S. Chamber of Commerce director, served as Mitt Romney's campaign finance co-chairman. In April 2012, www.barackobama.com libeled Vandersloot and seven other Romney donors. Then the IRS came knocking with two audits. Obama's Labor Department harassed him as well.

Vandersloot was perhaps the first to expose selective, D.C.-directed IRS targeting of conservative entities. Hundreds of them ultimately were intimidated and sidetracked during Obama's deceitful re-election campaign.

Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS's division on tax-exempt organizations now on administrative leave, pleaded the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering questions. IRS-targeted taxpayers don't get to do that.

Sharon Mapes

Danville

Groups crying foul, but taxpayers cheated

I don't believe the Obama White House was involved in the IRS "scandal."

After the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that corporations have the rights of citizens and to donate to political causes unabated, thousands of political groups sought 501(c)4 status, which is reserved for social-cause nonprofits.

The advantage of a 501(c)4 is that donors can remain anonymous. So, corporations donated millions to support right-wing causes, and nobody knew about it.

The IRS was overwhelmed and handled it by using a shorthand to qualify groups. If they were tea party or patriot organizations, the IRS asked them to fill out forms to justify their request for tax-exempt status.

Many were ripping off taxpayers by not paying taxes on their political activities. These groups perform little or no social or community service work, yet all were eventually approved.

I think it's wrong to avoid millions of dollars in taxes while secretly supporting political causes. I feel the IRS decided to slow down the process in order to determine if there were any tax cheats applying. There were, but thanks to today's political climate, they are the ones crying foul, while we are the ones getting ripped off.

Sam Van Zandt

Walnut Creek

Conservatives have been targeted for years

The inspector general's audit report documents that the Obama administration's IRS intentionally targeted conservative donors and groups for harassing audits.

It also documents the IRS partisan delays, extra requirements and denials of tax-exempt status of opposing political groups, obviously directly affecting fundraising and, therefore, election results.

This wasn't, as President Barack Obama claims, a "rogue office" in Ohio. This is the IRS office where, nationwide, all applications for a tax-exempt status are processed.

Also, many of the harassing letters from the IRS were signed by high-up administration appointees such as Sarah Ingram, whom Obama has now promoted to control IRS enforcement of Obamacare, and by Lois Lerner, the official who arrogantly refused to answer the questions of congressional investigators. In fact, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, from 2008 to 2012, visited the White House 118 times!

It is about time the IRS is being sued and investigated for such illegal actions and, hopefully, the media will cover rather than just "gloss over" yet another Obama scandal and cover-up.

Pete Laurence

Clayton

Behavior proves inquiry is warranted

I believe there is more than enough justification for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal.

The Obama administration has established a reputation for very selective behavior with respect to law enforcement and other aspects of governance.

It is not enough to identify and punish IRS and administration misconduct. The best way to prevent IRS abuse is to fundamentally change our tax system so that it cannot be used for social engineering and/or political purposes.

I favor the "Fair Tax" system, at least for individuals. The second best solution is the "Flat Tax" system. For those interested, the explanations are on the Internet.

Edward Zawatson

Concord

Agency's misconduct clearly on display

The IRS is a part of the federal government that touches all of us. There is no escaping the IRS. Its reach will be further enhanced when Obamacare is up and running and the IRS is given more power.

I do believe that misconduct was committed by the IRS. However, I do not believe the office in Cincinnati was the only office involved in misconduct. Nor do I believe the misconduct involved only a misguided underling or underlings.

Targeting a group or an individual based on their beliefs has the ring of World War II Germany, where people were persecuted for their beliefs.

The Obama administration has failed to truthfully report on the killings in Benghazi, guns to Mexico, and the wiretapping of journalists. Allowing this administration to continue to mislead and go around the Constitution and laws of this country can be blamed on our complacency and the complacency of our media.

How would it have been if Enron had investigated itself?

D.C. Rentz

Walnut Creek

Serious misconduct by IRS, Obama

I believe there was serious misconduct by the Obama administration in the IRS scandal.

The administration swears by Chicago-style politics, which says you eliminate your opponent. Today, you do that by cutting off funds. The IRS stalling was an effort to defund conservative groups.

In August 2008, the conservative American Issues Project (AIP) ran negative ads against Barack Obama. Obama's campaign general counsel, Bob Bauer, wrote to the Justice Department criminal division demanding an investigation of the AIP. When AIP explained to the Justice Department, Bauer went to the Federal Election Commission demanding confidential information.

Bauer used these tactics against Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and pro-Mitt Romney groups. After the 2010 congressional losses fostered by the tea party, the administration saw a need to blunt their impact.

Bauer was White House counsel from 2010 to 2011. Many former top campaign staffers were working in the White House. They were aware of how the IRS could be used.

Starting in March 2010, the IRS launched an unprecedented campaign to stymie and harass conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status through delays and denials. The action worked. Now the IRS will determine your health care.

Gregg Manning

Clayton