IRS Scandal

IRS 10 Times More Likely to Audit Tea Party Donors than Average Americans

Though not getting as much ink as the resurgent Benghazi investigation, the IRS scandal continues to loom over the Washington bureaucracy. Just yesterday, a bipartisan majority in the House held former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. It seems her invoking of the Fifth while insisting she was innocent as a red-tape ribboned lamb rubbed several lawmakers the wrong way.

Apparently, the IRS didn’t destroy all of the tea party donor lists like they claimed. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee ordered the IRS to review those lists and found that a whopping 10 percent of the donors had been audited. This is 10 times higher than the average audit rate of all Americans, which is a mere 1 percent.

Rep. Charles Boustany (R – La.) presented the information to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who refused to specifically address the explosive allegations at the hearing or afterward to press requests. Koskinen did offer a general statement, saying “the abuse of discretion and audit selection must be identified and stopped.” The Washington Times has more:

Mr. Boustany said he has asked the Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ chief watchdog, to look at how the IRS Exempt Organizations Division decided whom to audit. He said the GAO review is underway and demanded that Mr. Koskinen offer investigators full cooperation.

“IRS has long insisted that Americans should not worry about political targeting at your agency because the IRS has layers of internal protections to guard against it. But in the course of our investigation, however, we found that Lois Lerner acted in defiance of these internal protections,” Mr. Boustany said.

Koskinen responded that “every taxpayer deserves the right to assume that they will be treated fairly no matter what their political beliefs, what organization they belong to, who they voted for in the last election.”

He then added that a “handful” of tea party groups are still caught up in the IRS targeting are awaiting approval, despite November elections fast approaching. Gee, what a coincidence.

  1. Misthiocracy

    < devil’s advocate mode = on >

    Average taxpayers aren’t the same thing as recently founded non-profit and/or charity organizations.

    It makes sense to me that any non-profit/charity organization that was recently founded would be more likely to get hit with an IRS audit than an average taxpayer, because the IRS would want to be vigilant about monitoring possible fly-by-night charity scams.

    I’d be interested in seeing how often all non-profit/charity organizations that are less than ten years old get audited compared to the average taxpayer, AND I’d also be most interested in seeing how often Tea Party organizations are audited compared to other non-profit/charity organizations of the same age.

    I think this sort of analysis would illustrate the IRS’ bias more than a comparison between the Tea Party and the average taxpayer.

    < devil’s advocate mode = off >

  2. dfp21

    I think you’ve misunderstood. IRS wasn’t auditing Tea Party orgs. They’re auditing citizens. Who dared to contribute to Tea Party orgs. They’ve got a list, and they’re going after conservatives.

  3. Kevin McGreevy

    I agree with those who guess no specific directive came from on high (though I wouldn’t be much surprised if it did, mind you) and is mostly a consequence of the “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” type rhetoric employed by the Democratic muckedy-mucks.

    But because I wanted to get that quote right (Was it ‘turbulent’ or ‘troublesome’?) I looked up Becket on Wikipedia and found a more interesting quote in the same paragraph.  According to the account of Edward Grim, a contemporary biographer, Henry’s fatal utterance was “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?”

    When I read that I saw the ‘drones and traitors’ as the IRS bureaucrats; ‘my household’ as our government; ‘their lord’ as the taxpayers; and ‘low-born cleric’ as Lerner.  I wonder how I could apply for a guest spot on Krystal Ball’s new literary interpretation segment?

     

  4. mikesixes

    Misthiocracy-
     The high audit rate is not for the Tea Party organizations, it’s for their donors. I agree that the organizations might reasonably expect to be audited-after all, they applied for an exemption and it’s just due diligence to make sure they are complying with the conditions of the exemption. But for an ordinary citizen to be audited for donating to a politically incorrect organization is nothing but banana-republic thuggery.

  5. Marion Evans

    “What did the President know and when did he know it?”  Howard Baker during Watergate hearings.

  6. Son of Spengler

    mikesixes:

    Misthiocracy- The high audit rate is not for the Tea Party organizations, it’s for their donors. I agree that the organizations might reasonably expect to be audited-after all, they applied for an exemption and it’s just due diligence to make sure they are complying with the conditions of the exemption. But for an ordinary citizen to be audited for donating to a politically incorrect organization is nothing but banana-republic thuggery.

     Agreed. But it’s not clear to me that the appropriate benchmark is the national average. For a long time, the IRS has audited more high-income taxpayers, because (a) there’s more room for shenanigans there, and (b) there’s more taxpayer value in finding errors there. Since political donors tend to have above-average incomes, the benchmark audit rate would have to be adjusted upward.

  7. Misthiocracy

    mikesixes:

    Misthiocracy- The high audit rate is not for the Tea Party organizations, it’s for their donors. I agree that the organizations might reasonably expect to be audited-after all, they applied for an exemption and it’s just due diligence to make sure they are complying with the conditions of the exemption. But for an ordinary citizen to be audited for donating to a politically incorrect organization is nothing but banana-republic thuggery.

    It’s a fair cop.

  8. Misthiocracy

    Son of Spengler:

    mikesixes:

    Misthiocracy- The high audit rate is not for the Tea Party organizations, it’s for their donors. I agree that the organizations might reasonably expect to be audited-after all, they applied for an exemption and it’s just due diligence to make sure they are complying with the conditions of the exemption. But for an ordinary citizen to be audited for donating to a politically incorrect organization is nothing but banana-republic thuggery.

    Agreed. But it’s not clear to me that the appropriate benchmark is the national average. For a long time, the IRS has audited more high-income taxpayers, because (a) there’s more room for shenanigans there, and (b) there’s more taxpayer value in finding errors there. Since political donors tend to have above-average incomes, the benchmark audit rate would have to be adjusted upward.

    Also a good point.

  9. Pilli

    Son of Spengler:

    mikesixes:

    Misthiocracy- The high audit rate is not for the Tea Party organizations, it’s for their donors. I agree that the organizations might reasonably expect to be audited-after all, they applied for an exemption and it’s just due diligence to make sure they are complying with the conditions of the exemption. But for an ordinary citizen to be audited for donating to a politically incorrect organization is nothing but banana-republic thuggery.

    Agreed. But it’s not clear to me that the appropriate benchmark is the national average. For a long time, the IRS has audited more high-income taxpayers, because (a) there’s more room for shenanigans there, and (b) there’s more taxpayer value in finding errors there. Since political donors tend to have above-average incomes, the benchmark audit rate would have to be adjusted upward.

     Would it not be better to compare to Democrat donor audits to Tea Party donor audits?  That wold tell the real story.

  10. Son of Spengler

    Pilli:

    Son of Spengler:

    mikesixes:

    Misthiocracy- The high audit rate is not for the Tea Party organizations, it’s for their donors. I agree that the organizations might reasonably expect to be audited-after all, they applied for an exemption and it’s just due diligence to make sure they are complying with the conditions of the exemption. But for an ordinary citizen to be audited for donating to a politically incorrect organization is nothing but banana-republic thuggery.

    Agreed. But it’s not clear to me that the appropriate benchmark is the national average. For a long time, the IRS has audited more high-income taxpayers, because (a) there’s more room for shenanigans there, and (b) there’s more taxpayer value in finding errors there. Since political donors tend to have above-average incomes, the benchmark audit rate would have to be adjusted upward.

    Would it not be better to compare to Democrat donor audits to Tea Party donor audits? That wold tell the real story.

     Yes, that too. But that information would still be confidential, I expect.

  11. Fake John Galt

    When I ask around most people seem to think the tea party donors have it coming to them.  It is what they get for playing politics and trying to stop the unstoppable.  After all why should the government not take action against domestic terrorist that are holding America hostage and shut down the government.

    For my part I have stopped making donations that can be considered controversial in nature.  I do not need a future audit or job loss because I am on somebody’s donor or membership list.  I am even considering shutting down my social media accounts and letting my Ricochet membership lapse.

  12. A Beleaguered Conservative

    Fake John Galt:

    When I ask around most people seem to think the tea party donors have it coming to them. It is what they get for playing politics and trying to stop the unstoppable. After all why should the government not take action against domestic terrorist that are holding America hostage and shut down the government.

    For my part I have stopped making donations that can be considered controversial in nature. I do not need a future audit or job loss because I am on somebody’s donor or membership list. I am even considering shutting down my social media accounts and letting my Ricochet membership lapse.

    Your actions are understandable, but they are also a terrible, terrible illustration of the insidious chilling of free speech that is the hallmark of contemporary liberalism.      

  13. PHCheese

    mikesixes:

    Misthiocracy- The high audit rate is not for the Tea Party organizations, it’s for their donors. I agree that the organizations might reasonably expect to be audited-after all, they applied for an exemption and it’s just due diligence to make sure they are complying with the conditions of the exemption. But for an ordinary citizen to be audited for donating to a politically incorrect organization is nothing but banana-republic thuggery.

     Mike, you are right and  that takes the devil’s advocate out of the equation. Also I heard that only about  1 out of every 220 individual taxpayers are audited.

  14. Deacon Blues

    Son of Spengler:

    Pilli:

    Son of Spengler:

    mikesixes:

    Misthiocracy- The high audit rate is not for the Tea Party organizations, it’s for their donors. I agree that the organizations might reasonably expect to be audited-after all, they applied for an exemption and it’s just due diligence to make sure they are complying with the conditions of the exemption. But for an ordinary citizen to be audited for donating to a politically incorrect organization is nothing but banana-republic thuggery.

    Agreed. But it’s not clear to me that the appropriate benchmark is the national average. For a long time, the IRS has audited more high-income taxpayers, because (a) there’s more room for shenanigans there, and (b) there’s more taxpayer value in finding errors there. Since political donors tend to have above-average incomes, the benchmark audit rate would have to be adjusted upward.

    Would it not be better to compare to Democrat donor audits to Tea Party donor audits? That wold tell the real story.

    Yes, that too. But that information would still be confidential, I expect.

     Yes, you would expect…

  15. Mike LaRoche

    The IRS is America’s NKVD.

  16. flownover

    I got audited. I gave money to True the Vote. It was a year where we had a net loss . do the math. 
    I hadnt been audited for 25 years prior. I have given the IRS alot of money over the years. The agent could not provide a plausible answer to my questions as to why me .
    It cost me money to get audited and they had to adjust something so they reduced the net operating loss carryforward . So it will cost me even more into the future. 
    Where do you turn after something like this has been uncovered ? 

  17. A Beleaguered Conservative:

    Fake John Galt:

    When I ask around most people seem to think the tea party donors have it coming to them. It is what they get for playing politics and trying to stop the unstoppable. After all why should the government not take action against domestic terrorist that are holding America hostage and shut down the government.

    For my part I have stopped making donations that can be considered controversial in nature. I do not need a future audit or job loss because I am on somebody’s donor or membership list. I am even considering shutting down my social media accounts and letting my Ricochet membership lapse.

    Your actions are understandable, but they are also a terrible, terrible illustration of the insidious chilling of free speech that is the hallmark of contemporary liberalism.

     And guess what? Polls supposedly show less support for Tea Party and small groups are having a hard time raising money….

    It’s not only the Left.

  18. Donald Todd

    If you asked me for documentation, I could not provide it.  Yet, in the course of my reading, I had gained the impression that Mr. Alinsky’s disciple Barry would use government against the citizens.  The IRS and other federal agencies, often using SWAT teams, have acted as though the average citizen is guilty of something yet to be determined.

    I may have misunderstood what I was reading, but the results seem to match what I expected to happen. 

    All animals are equal, but (per the IRS and other federal agencies) some are more equal than others.

  19. Dan Hanson

    This may just be an example of the home-field advantage Democrats have with respect to the government.  If the majority of agents are democrats, it seems likely that they would have a tendency to see perfidy among Republicans.   You don’t need top-down commands to do this stuff if it’s something the people in the bureaucracy want to do anyway.

  20. Trajan

    And due to their employment status as members of the NTEU, (National Treasury Employees Union) they know who butters their bread and on what side;)

  21. MJBubba

    So we need for a Congressman on the Committee to direct the IRS to conduct a study.   

    Collect the names of 12 501(c)(4) organizations that are progressive lefties, and 12 TEA party conservative 501(c)(4)s.  Then choose 50 donors from each, all at comparable donation amounts.  Supply these to a secure investigator, and compare the audit rates.

    Now I have another question.   How does the Congressional Committee audit the investigators?

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