Under this law, exempted organizations must devote at least 51 percent of their activities and funds to social welfare goals. The endorsement of a candidate for office or the gathering of money for the support of a candidate or party cannot exceed forty nine percent of activity.
Similar investigations have been called for in the past, by Republicans, of mainly black churches when they probably violated their tax-exempt status by supporting Democratic candidates and causes. I cannot really believe the Tea Party or any other political party can qualify as a social welfare organization.
The IRS has been used as a political tool in the past. Richard Nixon used the IRS to investigate individuals on his infamous enemies list. He used the IRS to punish his perceived enemies regardless of their political party or organization; which was a clear violation of federal law. His resignation and the Ford administration’s decisions not to pursue further legal action against Nixon resulted in Nixon avoiding felony prosecution.
What caused the investigation of Tea Party groups was their nationwide coordinated applications for tax-exempt status. It had nothing to do with their political activity. If the IRS were motivated to investigate for political reasons, surely they would have investigated now-exempt hard-core organizations like the NRA, Birthers and so called militias. The bottom line is that an organization can be either political or tax exempt, but never both equally.
What I find most disturbing about the entire episode is that nobody, as yet, has stood up and defended the IRS for doing its job, as prescribed by law. Not even the president mentioned that investigating every organization that applies for tax-exempt status is a primary responsibility of the IRS. If this law was not enforced only salaried individuals, who cannot afford the tax lawyers who file for tax exemptions, would be paying income taxes.
Dennis Tilly, Weatherford