From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service is apologizing for inappropriately flagging conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax‐exempt status.
Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax‐exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax‐exempt status were singled out for additional reviews.
Lerner said the practice, initiated by low‐level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong and she apologized while speaking at a conference in Washington.
Many conservative groups complained during the election that they were being harassed by the IRS. They said the agency asked them an inordinate number of questions to justify their tax‐exempt status.
Certain tax‐exempt charitable groups can conduct political activities but it cannot be their primary activity.
Let’s all recall what President Obama told Ohio State University graduates just days ago:
Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny [is] always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self‐rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems. We shouldn’t want to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. And as citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us, it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self‐government.
“Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together,” says Barney Frank. Like persecute our political enemies.