Phil: So, it looks like the Internal Revenue Service has decided that conservatives should be denied their rights simply because they are conservative. And you wonder why other conservatives and I sometimes question whether government is of, by and for all the people.
Ethan: This issue is definitely a significant problem if it turns out that they actually targeted groups based on ideology. I was glad President Barack Obama condemned it so quickly and then sought the resignation of IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller.
Phil: He did say all the right things. Facts, I predict, will prove that he didn’t do all the right things. Government power was abused and used to intimidate people exercising their constitutional rights well before the last election.
Ethan: Please tell me you aren’t insinuating that Obama was involved in this controversy? Even Bill O’Reilly has been slamming conservatives for this guilt-by-association McCarthyism.
Phil: Please don’t put words in my mouth. I am suggesting that policy is set by the president. Evidence shows that his appointed leaders knew of this and lied to Congress. Their inaction condoned this abuse.
Ethan: Apparently, I am not putting words in your mouth because you are still insinuating the president was involved. Every time there is a controversy, you folks seem to believe that all roads lead to the White House. You know what? Sometimes, most of the time, they simply don’t.
Phil: Does your opinion change when you learn that Obama’s half-brother was improperly running a tax-exempt organization for two years before he complied with the law? In his situation he was granted retroactive tax exempt status within 30 days!
Ethan: Do you also believe that singer Paul McCartney is dead and that former Cuban President Fidel Castro tried to shoot John F. Kennedy? Honestly, the bigger problem is that it appears the IRS spent a ton of time going after these small groups, while the big “non-profits” like Crossroads and Priorities USA were never investigated. These two groups, from both sides of the aisle, spent hundreds of times what the smaller groups spent.
Phil: Now you’re suggesting Obama appointees should have targeted other similarly minded organizations? All the while expediting Democratic progressive advocacy groups?
Ethan: “Obama appointees?” The entire IRS has only two political appointees, and the guy in charge was appointed by former President George Bush. But, whichever ideology or whichever administration, government should not focus on little fish and let the big fish slide. The IRS should be hard on all groups that want to be tax exempt. I run a not-for-profit, and I am happy to withstand the scrutiny.
Phil: Obama’s two Treasury Secretaries Timothy Geithner and Jack Lew (also former chief of staff) are Obama appointees, and they both oversaw the IRS during the year and a half this abuse of power was happening and did nothing. Using your defense, the only people who report to Obama and take responsibility for his orders is Seal Team 6.
Ethan: You should have joined the CIA; you see operatives everywhere. Here is the bottom line; no one needs tax exempt status to exercise their constitutional rights. They want tax exempt status to avoid paying taxes and get donations that they don’t need to publicly report. If they want special status, they should be scrutinized.
Phil: Well, isn’t that the point here? Powerful government targeted people simply because they wanted to advocate smaller government and less taxes.
Ethan: It is a problem that certain groups were singled out. What isn’t a problem is whether the IRS should be scrutinizing 501(c)4 organizations across the ideological spectrum. Treat both sides equally, and be tough.
Phil: Well, the fact is they weren’t treated equally. Those who don’t agree with the president’s policies were targeted. Not only that, it looks like the IRS even shared confidential information with progressive and liberal groups.
Ethan: Well, that organization, ProPublica, is a government watchdog group that asked the IRS for the applications. The IRS certainly should not have sent them, but once they realized what happened, they immediately knew it was a mistake and tried to get them back.
Phil: Mistake? C’mon, Ethan. They sent nine confidential applications of conservative groups to a bunch of liberal journalists. If the tables were turned, you’d be demanding the president be held personally responsible.
Ethan: Why would I hold the president of the United States accountable for what the inspector general has determined was limited to “first line management” in Cincinnati? And look, ProPublica is run by the former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, so your ideological bent is a bit of a stretch. Your paranoia runs a little too deep.
Phil: What difference does it make who runs ProPublica (another tax exempt organization)? Step away from your political tactics, and consider the impact of what they did with their power to deny, intimidate and tyrannize. This behavior proves that Americans who believe government is trampling on their rights are right.
Ethan: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Look, no one is defending the IRS. But “tyrannical?” Whether it is Benghazi, guns or the IRS, your team always overreacts. Stalinism has not arrived in the United States.
Phil: Perhaps not, but maybe now you understand why we conservatives believe a small, efficient, less-intrusive government will make America better.
Ethan: Have no fear. I’ll be there for you when the black helicopters arrive.