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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 23, 2013 at 7:58 AM

IRS questions political groups

Controversy will have negative impact

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking Democrat,  Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., gestures as he speaks in an Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2013, to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. (Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press)

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., gestures as he speaks in an Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to the tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. (Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press)

Were the tea-party groups “social-welfare organizations” or were they groups promoting the election of some individuals and the defeat of others? In other words, were they really political organizations and as such, needed to apply for exempt status under a different Internal Revenue Code section than 501(c)? That’s all the IRS employees were trying to decide [“IRS chief helped create plan to plant question about scandal,” News, May 22].And these groups were doing nothing more than trying to hide their donors from public scrutiny. All this sound and fury will unfortunately have adverse consequences for the IRS as an agency and its employees, as the political hysteria sweeps any sense of sanity and reason from the national debate.

Sadly, this will end badly for taxpayers as a demoralized and gutted IRS will become apathetic and ineffective at doing its primary function: to ensure that people file and pay their taxes.

Cooler heads should have prevailed and explained that targeting suspicious behavior is not the same as targeting people for their beliefs.

John Atkinson, Bainbridge Island

Eliminate 501(c)(4) category

The fact that Crossroads GPS spent $300 million on TV ads dissing “the president and Democratic congressional candidates” and is called a “social-welfare” group is ludicrous. No wonder the IRS is investigating them [“Rove’s group thinks it is under IRS scrutiny,” News, May 21].

The 501(c)(4) category should be eliminated immediately. Let’s quit providing cover for such political groups.

Anne Corley, Mercer Island

Comments | Topics: Internal Revenue Service, IRS, loophole

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