Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 24, 2014 / 22 Adar II, 5774

What the Left Doesn't Know About Weaponizing the IRS

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Just shy of a decade ago, a retired rector named George Regas stepped into the pulpit at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., a few days before the November election and let fly with some good, old-fashioned fire and brimstone. The targets of his passion: President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. Also, "conservative politicians." Not to mention "the religious right." Regas described war as "the most extreme form of terrorism." Speaking in the voice of Jesus, he said, "The killing of innocent people to achieve some desired goal is morally repudiated by anyone claiming to follow Me as their savior and guide." He went on to condemn poverty, defend abortion rights, and so on.

What happened next will surprise you only if you just fell off a turnip truck: The IRS came knocking. It threatened the church's tax-exempt status, demanded all kinds of paperwork, and carried on an investigation that lasted more than two years — and cost the church $200,000.

The saga of All Saints could soon be coming to a community near you. Thanks partly to the scandal surrounding the IRS' targeting of conservative groups, the agency has proposed a new set of rules for a huge number of social-welfare groups that claim tax exemption under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code. That includes groups such as the Sierra Club, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the League of Conservation Voters and the Alliance for Justice (a coalition of more than 100 liberal organizations). It also includes many conservative groups, from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS to grass-roots tea party groups — the ones the IRS scrutinized by demanding, e.g., old fundraising letters and all Facebook posts.

Under a finding that dates back to 1959, those social-welfare groups can remain tax-exempt so long as they are "primarily engaged in promoting in some way the common good and general welfare of the people of the community." Politicking cannot be their primary focus, and "primary" in this case means "51 percent or more."

The newrules would vastly expand what constitutes "candidate-related political activity" by including such practices as handing out voter guides, holding candidate forums, printing or airing advertisements, and even criticizing a politician on a website posting in the two months before a general election.

If, say, a blog post by Friends of the Earth blasts a Republican for voting against new air-quality rules in 2015, and the Republican runs for re-election the next year, Friends of the Earth would have to go back and scrub the post from its site — or risk the IRS' wrath. Many groups would probably decide to post nothing in the first place.

A blog post about a politician is, of course, quintessentially political speech of the sort the First Amendment expressly protects — or is supposed to protect. Under the new IRS rules, the government effectively would be rationing how many such items a group can post. The ACLU says the new restrictions would "pose a significant chilling effect" on the advocacy of countless nonprofits. First Amendment scholars warn they would "impose serious burdens on free speech."


To watch these rules emanate from a liberal Democratic administration is doubly ironic. Liberals howled in outrage when the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision overturned decades of campaign-finance law. Now the IRS proposes to do the same thing. What's more, the idea that you can separate social welfare from government activity does not usually win much applause on the left. To the contrary, conventional liberal wisdom holds that government often is the only means by which any meaningful advance in social welfare can be made. Private charities, churches, volunteer organizations — those are nice, but they can't do the heavy lifting of social reform, in the liberal view. But in that case, political activity by social-welfare groups should be encouraged, not penalized.

Granted, some liberal social-welfare groups have objected to the IRS proposal, for many of the same reasons conservative groups cite. Nobody should have to worry that spending a little too much time registering people to vote will lead to a ruinously expensive legal fight.

Unfortunately, many other liberals are sitting on the sidelines — or, worse, defending the IRS — because of the blatantly partisan nature of its abuse. That abuse began when President Barack Obama criticized conservative groups for "posing" as nonprofit social-welfare organizations and several Democratic senators demanded an IRS investigation of such groups.

The IRS crackdown on tea party organizations did catch some liberal outfits, the way tuna nets catch an occasional dolphin. But two other data points render the partisan nature of the scandal indisputable.

First, Barbara Bosserman, the person the Obama administration named to investigate the IRS targeting, is not only a member of the administration, she also gave more than $6,000 to Obama's election campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Welcome to the henhouse, Ms. Fox.

Second, the new IRS rules do not lay a finger on the biggest donors by far to political campaigns: unions, which are organized as 501(c)5 entities. How much do unions give? The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel notes that "the Center for Responsive Politics' list of top all-time donors from 1989 to 2014 ranks Koch Industries" — the infamous Koch brothers — "No. 59. Above Koch were 18 unions, which collectively spent $620,873,623 more than Koch Industries ($18 million)." Unions, of course, almost uniformly support Democrats.

Liberals on the sidelines need to join their more long-sighted brethren and make common cause with conservatives in this debate. The IRS' new rules might give Democrats an advantage for the next election cycle or two. But eventually a Republican administration will take over. Do liberals really want it to take control of an IRS that has been so dangerously weaponized?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




03/20/14: All the cliches about aging are true. Or: Hey, where'd the craft-beer me go?
03/14/14: Our long national austerity nightmare is over!
03/10/14: The progressive mirage
03/03/14: If Hillary had gotten her way
02/18/14: The Lovecraftian world of Obamacare
02/03/14: Eat your Frankenfood!
01/28/14: The retributionist case for limited government
01/22/14: Why school choice foes remain wrong
01/09/14: The great inequality debate
01/02/14: Do-nothing Congress? Please, Do Much Less
12/09/13: Mozart for babies all over again?
11/25/13: Food police are gluttons for punishment --- of others
11/12/13: Cheer up --- things are getting better
10/29/13: Cure for ignorant voters --- really small governments
10/24/13: If they can't cut the small stuff...
10/22/13: Political speech --- dumb as a ham sandwich
10/15/13: Why College Costs Will Soon Plunge
09/19/13: Progressives Reap What They Sow
09/13/13: You are being watched
09/10/13: Sorry, your business isn't desirable enough
09/05/13: The least bad option: Kill Assad
08/27/13: GOPers wrong ones to take on ObamaCare
08/08/13: Gas prices: What can the president do?
08/02/13: Chris Christie pulls a Dowd
07/29/13: Should Click and Clack wind up in the clink?
07/08/13: Commit any felonies lately?
06/18/13: Citizens and the State: the problem is bigger than you think
06/06/13: Political derangement threatens basic rights
05/30/13: Should we fear ex-Marine --- or those who detained him?
05/23/13: Professor of Constitution goes to war against it
05/23/13: REVEALED: IRS letter to tea party groups
05/15/13: Today on NPR: The smothering tax burden
04/30/13: What does Boston say about diversity?
04/25/13: For some libs, 'courage' = agreeing with them
04/18/13: Utterly outraged by their president's callous betrayal
04/11/13: Cognitive dissonance on guns
04/04/13: Do unto others, but not unto us, say the media
04/01/13: Observations from the auto shop holding pen
03/14/13: The nation-building follies
03/12/13: Will the right come around on pot?
03/07/13: Another U.S. dupe falls for a dictator
02/28/13: How dare you say that here!
02/26/13: Eating Frito-Lay chips at gunpoint
02/20/13: Death Star petitions are just what we need
02/13/13: ObamaCare proves law correct --- deep down you knew it would
01/29/13: It's Time to Get Judgy About Incompetency
01/23/13: Look who's mocking fascist fear-mongering now
01/16/13: Only in Washington could you get away with referring to spending and tax increases as spending 'cuts'
01/09/13: Obama begins his second term, Bush's fourth
01/07/13: Who's Attacking the Constitution Now?
01/03/13: Why, historically, January is the perfect time to debate the filibuster
12/26/12: When libs devalue diversity
12/20/12: Mark Your Calendars
12/13/12: Gun control, ad infinitum
12/11/12: Fracking can help fix the CO2 problem
12/06/12: Let's open the door to lots more immigration
12/04/12: Who's watching the kids? Just about everyone
11/29/12: The Real Middle-Class Champion was Mocked and Opposed
11/26/12: It's time to cut a deal on the budget
11/20/12: The case for a carbon tax
11/15/12: Cue the hysterics. Reports of Democracy's Death Greatly Exaggerated
11/07/12: The $4,000 Trash Can: We need regulation, but not this much
10/23/12: The Ballad of Islamist Rage Boy
10/17/12: Undermining the values that enable people in poverty to escape it? Sadly, yes
10/11/12: How Much Is This Tax Cut Gonna Cost Me, Doc?
10/04/12: Warrantless spying skyrockets under Obama
08/20/12: The wrong side absolutely must not win
08/14/12: America was not built on dirt alone
08/02/12: Libs Discover Their Inner Cheney
07/30/12: Feds want to help you --- whether you want help or not
07/23/12: Barack Obama, Storyteller-in-Chief
07/23/12: Nation's worst outsourcer? You
07/19/12: Listen up, America: You need to knuckle under
07/12/12: Obama, Romney: As Different as Two Peas in a Pod
07/05/12: Are teenagers big children --- or little adults?
06/25/12: Minorities treated as mere numbers
06/21/12: Memo to the the Little Guy: Seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky
06/19/12: We mustn't let America be buffaloed
05/31/12: Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20
05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast