After a bit of a slow start, Fox News is picking up on the tempest over the IRS (“the collection agency of socialism” as Rush Limbaugh put it) with increasing gusto. After all, it's yet another reason for conservatives to get on TV and whine about how they’ve been victimized by the government. Last night On the Record, it was Larry Nordvig, Executive Director of the Richmond Tea Party, who told the story of his slog through the IRS wilderness, taking the opportunity to work in words like “enemy list” and hint that there must be a conspiracy somewhere.
After the obligatory sensational opening montage, Greta Van Susteren asked without preamble: “OK, were you targeted?” Absolutely they were targeted,” Nordvig replied.” And it feels kind of creepy to be on anybody's enemy list, especially when it's the government's.”
Nordvig told Van Susteren that he'd applied for 501(c)4 tax-exempt status in December of '09, and got it two and a half years later. IRS sent him two questionnaires, the first with 17 “fairly benign” questions and then, a year later, another set of 55 questions, with multiple parts. He thought the questions were outside the bounds – particularly the ones about the group's members. “They wanted to know our donors' names, personal information about them. They wanted to know whether they were going to run for office or have ever run for office. .. The whole point behind getting a 501(c)4 tax-exempt is so that donors can donate anonymously. There's a lot of people that don't want their names attached to a political organization when they give money. And what impact this had on the Richmond Tea Party was people were afraid to give money, and that directly impacts our operation.”
(Hmmmm. I thought 501(c)4 tax-exempt status was for organizations that must be “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare,” defined as activities “promoting in some way the common good and general welfare of the community.” But Nordvig called his group a “political organization.” Has it been sorted out whether political groups meet 501(c)4 criteria? I don't think so, gentle reader.)
Nordvig told Van Susteren that he'd dealt with two low-level specialists in Cincinnati, but at her prompting, he shared his suspicion that someone had been involved besides those specialists. “I just don't believe anybody ….in a cubicle in Cincinnati [could] control targeting of so many different conservative groups all across the country. To me, in my mind, it's pretty obvious this was coordinated from somewhere else.”
Van Susteren asked what he’d think if he’d heard that liberal groups applying for 501(c)4 status had gotten the same treatment. (Which, in fact they have. According to that stats in the linked article, groups with names like “Tea Party” and “Patriot” comprised about a third of the groups the IRS flagged for review.) That prompted Nordvig to drop his talk of enemy lists and conspiracies and start preaching brotherly love. “You know, the point here, Greta, is if -- this is an issue for all Americans. This is not just a right or left or center issue. As a matter of fact, we've been so divided lately as a country, I look at this as an opportunity for groups to come together.”
Oh Kumbaya! Last I looked, Fox is still pitching this as a conspiracy against conservatives. The day they look to make common cause with anyone on the other side, I’ll eat cat hair for breakfast.
Besides all the things you mentioned, there’s also that the guy who did most of the targeting was Douglas Shulman- A Bush appointee. In fact, he started when Bush was still president:
I don’t remember Fox News bringing up that part… I think a couple hosts brought up Shulman, but they really, really downplayed anything that their viewers could say “Bush” over.
Also, the Tea Party are hardly victims anywhere. Even in ultra-librul, Fox News wants to blow them off the face of the Earth for being so left San Francisco, the Tea Party can get away with murder. And I might mean that literally, because watch this video:
That is San Francisco’s May Day Midnight march from 2012. Those are Tea Partiers, in masks and riot gear, destroying the mission district. Yes, that cop in the cruiser actually sat there and took it. So did the ones in the police precinct the cameraman approached at the 2:03 mark. I couldn’t watch all this video, but I think this one even has the infamous clip where a group of Occupiers with training try to stop the violence, and the police finally get up off their asses… to protect the Tea Party offenders.
The next day, they didn’t even make excuses- They flat said the Tea Party is above the law in their jurisdiction.
If the Tea Party is that coddled in a place as far left as the Bay Area, they’re not victims of political targeting anywhere. Some of their chapters broke the law (big shock!), and they’re mad because the media’s reporting it for once, as part of the scandal.
My advice is for Nordvig to live with it.