IRS "Scandal"May 22, 2013
There are a lot of accusations flying over the IRS using its power to thwart the free speech and free association rights of political groups that just happen to differ with the Obama administration on a host of issues. The narrative includes the “shock” over such an obscene abuse of power. But why is anyone shocked? Such intimidation and censorship was the entire point of the “501(c)(3)” law in the first place. The fact that the Obama administration has chosen to take the law to its logical – and purposeful – conclusion should come as a surprise no one. What may come as a surprise to many is that the “non-profit” status the organizations that have been mentioned are pursuing, the famous 501(c)(3) status, wasn’t a creation of the Founders. It was the brain child of then U.S. Senator Lyndon Johnson, who was bitter about opposition he faced in his previous election, and was adopted in 1954. His goal was clear: silence his opposition by giving the IRS broad powers to regulate organizations that receive donations which are tax exempt but dare practice their free speech rights when it comes to politics and issues.
It has been, however, the IRS that expanded even beyond Johnson’s ill intent to include churches and faith-based non-profits in its interpretation of the law, effectively chilling the free speech rights that had been practiced by church leaders since the Founding of America. The reality is, however, that from the beginning politicians intended to use the non-profit status as a stick to silence opposition. President Obama has simply gone further than any other administration in its application.
So, don’t act so surprised and indignant over the Obama administration’s use of the IRS to intimidate and silence its opposition. They are simply using a very bad law for its intended purpose.