Greetings, good warriors, and another Thorsday is upon us.
As a brief aside Surly Thor tis actually in a less than surly mood this week coming off the heels of Michele Bachmann’s announcement that she shalt not be running for re-election in 2014. It doth give hope that the tides art in fact turning and perchance in the next cycle we can see others who hath been the face of obstructionism fall to the wayside as well.
With that being said a lot hath been made of the IRS scandal o’er the past few weeks. Odinson doth use the term scandal loosely, as tis roughly the equivalent of Loki being upset he hath been investigated for being in the States illegally (Surly Thor doth work under a H2B visa as to not break such rules). But again much is being made of the government being perceived to bring its full might against political enemies. The simple fact is the Tea Party did bring it upon themselves; they art less upset with the targeting in and of itself but rather the manner t’was handled. Basically tis the ending of e’ery Scooby Doo episode; the villain tis more upset that they got caught by a bunch of stoners and a dog rather than that their machinations did not bear fruit (see also Squirrel Girl and Alpha Flight).
Let’s look a bit at the genesis of this particular targeting. In 2010 after the unfortunate ruling on Citizens United an interesting dichotomy in ways to donate to political causes. One could donate to a PAC or Uber PAC for thy candidate, but the source of those funds had to be disclosed to the IRS. However one could donate to a 501(c)(4) and not have thy donation disclosed to the IRS, as an added kicker that 501(c)(4) could donate to an Uber PAC and all that PAC would have to disclose is the amount given by the 501. Clever right? Now according to the tax code a 501(c)(4) hath to spend the bulk of its time and more importantly money upon social welfare, technically the code as initially intended states the organization must be exclusively engaged in social welfare activites, but o’er time exclusive hath devolved to most. Still a fair ideal: even if the organization doth run with 51% to helping others, well tis not the worst thing in the nine realms. The kicker is that several of these organizations art playing faster and looser with the concept than Starfox at a singles bar. Let’s look at a few of the offenders of the 501(c)(4) clause.
Combat Veterans for Congress, a group out of California, in its initial application to the IRS states its social welfare arm is to reach out to veterans to help them get involved in government; how could something like that raise a red flag? CVfC also neglected to mention the $8,000 it spent on ads in support of a Republican ex marine for the Senate on its tax returns, verily nothing suspicious there. Mayhaps the sensors went off when the group did check off the box marked Nay when asked if they had engaged in political activity oh behst of a candidate either directly or indirectly.
Crossroads GPS—and Surly Thor tis loathe to talk about them for the fear that mentioning it or the Dark One’s name will result in Karl Rove appearing in mine mirror later this eve—bugger all I said it, didn’t I. Crossroads flaunts e’ery notion of social welfare with impunity, and the Dark One e’en goes so far as to justify it by saying left-leaning orginizations like Planned Parenthood and the NAACP use their 501 status to exert political leverage. Now take a moment, step back, mayhaps get a glass of water to better digest that concept before we go ahead do do math. Now of this equation we know several of the variables needed. We doth know both Planned Parenthood and the NAACP doth engage in social welfare on a large scale, but for this experiment lets just focus on Planned Parenthood against Crossroads. Funding for Planned Parenthood is about $480 million, in 2012 they did spend about $12 to help re-elect Obama, so roughly 2.5% of it’s budget. Now Crossroads, and Surly Thor will lowball here, spent around $70 million in efforts to defeat Obama; now the X in this equation is what they did spend on social welfare. Odinson is going to out on a thin branch of Yggdrasil here, but I doubt e’en half that was spent to better the environ around the Dark One.
Now if thou arn’t mad yet allow Surly Thor to toss a bit of salt in the wound to raise thine ire; both of these groups were granted 501 status. For all the whining and making it like the government was crushing these organizations under heel, not a single one of the Tea Party groups singled out for inspection were forsaken their status. Verily the only group to actually be denied was a Democratic leaning organization, and another Democratic leaning organization had its status revoked. Nor doth the Tea Party like to make mention that of the roughly 300 audits only 25% did have the targeting keywords.
At the end of the day I understand why the IRS did what they did, and to Surly Thor the scandal should be more akin to how these groups doth get and maintain this 501 status. If the Dark One can spend $77 million on politics without showing receipts for at least $78 billion in trying to better Midgard then why bother to keep that section of the tax code? Rake them all o’er the coals, because clearly the process of asking these groups for more information doth not slow their wheels from turning donations into political capital. You doth not to have to agree with the IRS’s methods, but it doth certainly highlight the need for reform in this venue. The next part is up to all of thee; one can allow this to blow over once the next “gate” scandal doth appear, or thou could type an email to thy local representative and ask them to do something about it. If thou think they replied that they art not concerned about it because it doth make their election easier, remind them thou art more than willing to find a candidate who hath not be bought yet.
As always, stay surly warriors.