Anyone remember Lois Lerner? You know, the IRS official who pleaded the fifth, now chilling out in retirement with a six-figure taxpayer-funded pension — there’s not a “smidgen of corruption” in the IRS – that Lois Lerner? Well, she’s been summoned back to Capitol Hill to provide additional testimony about the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal.
But that’s not the only interesting smidgen surrounding the IRS. The White House is threatening to veto a House bill that would block the IRS from issuing a new rule that would narrow the definition of who qualifies for a 501(c)(4) exemption as a social welfare organization, making it more difficult for conservative organizations to achieve non-profit status. We recently reported on the efforts of attorney Cleta Mitchell and Catherine Engelbrecht of True The Vote to stop this “weaponizing of the IRS.”
As Bridget Johnson at PJ Media reports, Activities that would disqualify an organization seeking 501(c)(4) status include “communications that expressly advocate for a clearly identified political candidate or candidates of a political party,” “any contribution that is recognized under campaign finance law as a reportable contribution,” hosting a candidate at an event within 60 days of a general election, and voter registration or “get-out-the-vote” drives. The OMB called the IRS proposal “the first step in a standard rulemaking process intended to clarify the rules and to provide greater certainty for organizations seeking tax-exempt status.”
What I wonder is how the new rule would constrain the activities of major unions like the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and the NEA/AFT (teachers unions)? Also, what would you classify the progressive socialist group Organizing for Action and ACORN (or whatever they’re calling themselves now)?
The GOP is trying to fight back. This week the House passed Rep. Pete Roskam’s (R-Ill.) Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act, which would require the IRS to alert taxpayers when their information is shared with other federal agencies, and the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act, which bars the IRS from inquiring about a taxpayer’s religious, political or social beliefs. But par for the course, this will probably end up in Harry Reid’s circular file just like the hundreds of other pieces of legislation the House has passed.
We must constrain the power of the IRS which has become a tool of political power, a weapon against the American people.
The best course of action is tax code reform – something Dave Camp, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is spearheading –hopefully not with the same results as everything else the House passes and sends to the Senate.
Camp’s plan calls for cutting the top corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent while taxing the two individual tax brackets at rates of 10 percent and 25 percent, and reflects overhaul goals spelled out in the Republican-backed budget.
I fully support moving towards a flat tax system for corporate and personal income taxes. With the corporate rate lowered to 25 percent, there should be no exemptions or loopholes. As well, the two-tiered personal income tax rate is simple and would promote economic growth, especially for small business owners who use their personal income tax rate. I would keep only two exemptions for personal income taxes: mortgage interest and charitable contributions. We need a true stimulus, not some Keynesian government “investment” scheme, but one that stimulates economic growth and gets our GDP going in a positive direction.
Further, I recommend eliminating death, dividends, and capital gains taxes. Incumbent with these tax reforms will be the necessity to streamline the federal government and prioritize its spending. I know some want to move immediately towards a Fair (consumption-based) tax system. I believe that could be a long-range goal after the flat tax initiatives get America to a certain level of economic productivity.
Regardless, we must reduce the invasive monster that the Internal Revenue Service has become. Lastly, always remember one of the tenets of Marx in the Communist Manifesto was a “progressive tax system.” And here we are…