The new head of the IRS would like you to believe that we have entered a time where the department will restore trust between it and the American people. At the same time the IRS is continuing—and furthering–the same type of behavior which got it into trouble with the Inspector General, and the public, last year.
“This reminds me of when I was in grade school and the teachers told us you shouldn’t plagiarize and so you change a few words and basically plagiarize,” said Republican Representative Jim Jordan (OH) in a House committee hearing on March 26. “It’s the same thing.”
He was referring to a March 4 IRS Exempt Organization Newsletter that outlines “new” sample questions to be asked of exempt organizations. In with the old, out with the new?
Consider how similar these questions are. In May 2013 the Inspector General identified “inappropriate criteria” used to screen tax-exempt organizations, which included the question “whether the officer, director, etc., has run or will run for public office.”
The new question proposed by the IRS would ask tax-exempt applicants, “Do you support a candidate for public office who is one of your founders, officers, or board members or related to one of your founders, officers, or board members?” In other words, the question of “has run or will run?” has been altered to “do you support?” This is the only meaningful difference.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen maintained at the hearing that these are “new questions” because they don’t “probe the discussions you’ve had, the conversations you’ve had.”
Read my entire column at a new website, American Outrage.