This Is What Less Government Looks Like

The Civic Center

The scandal over the IRS evaluations of the tax-exempt status of certain political groups was brilliantly explained in context by Chris Hayes and by Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC this week. They pointed out that these evaluations began in early 2010 when the so-called “Tea Party” groups had just begun to organize. The specific purpose of these organizations was unclear to me and probably also to the IRS analysts who had to review their applications for tax-exempt status.

Were the Tea Party groups formed to raise money, to get out the vote, to lobby, or to advocate for a cause? The answer to this question is crucial in determining whether or not they can be tax-exempt. Because the Tea Party movement was new and its mission was unclear, making this determination could have required analysts to further inquire about the activities of groups that identified with the movement. It is therefore…

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