**Posted by Phineas
Well, here’s a surprise (he wrote in sarcasm): while harassing Tea Party and other conservative groups –and interfering with their ability to participate in the 2012 elections, coincidentally enough– our public servants in the IRS decided it would be a good idea to audit veterans organizations, the members of which are largely opposed to the Obama administration.
From The Army Times:
A Kansas senator wants the IRS to explain why veterans groups are being asked to prove their members actually served in the military.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said he is “troubled” by an IRS rule that could make veterans service organizations provide DD-214 separation documents “for every member at posts around the country.”
The American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans group, has about 2.4 million members and 14,000 posts. Veterans of Foreign Wars, with 1.5 million members, is the nation’s second largest veterans group. It has more than 7,600 chapters
The policy that has Moran and others excited was published in January 2011 in an Internal Revenue Service Manual chapter covering tax-exempt veterans’ service organizations. Apparently, the policy is just now getting attention from veterans’ groups.
The tax code sets requirements for veterans groups to qualify for exempt status; for example, 75% must be current or former members of the Armed Services. That’s reasonable enough, but what has Moran and others up in arms is the apparent lack of notification to these groups that they have to provide DD-214s and that failure to comply can mean fines of up to $1,000 per day.
As you can imagine, American Legion, VFW, and other groups are pretty upset, and Moran has some questions for IRS Acting Commissioner Werfel that he wants answered. Now.
From Bridget Johnson at PJM:
- What legal authority does the IRS have in carrying out a mandate for personal, military service records? Was this mandate reviewed by IRS general counsel? Please provide documentation that gives the IRS the authority to collect this information;
- Under whose leadership was this mandate initiated, for what direct purpose, and who had approving authority for this mandate?;
- Were veteran service organizations ever specifically notified of the requirement? If so, please provide the documentation that was issued to these organizations. If not, please explain why organizations were not notified; and
- Is it true that an organization unable or unwilling to provide this information could be charged penalty fees of $1,000 per day? Please provide clarification regarding the penalty for noncompliance.
I can see auditing groups about which there have been reports of fraud. But that would be on an individual, case-by-case basis when there’s been credible reports of a violation. But this kind of blanket “prove to us you’re not doing anything wrong” sweep looks like more of the “We don’t like small-government/conservative types, so we’re going to make their lives miserable” arrogance that we’ve seen plenty of already from our “Lois Lerner” bureaucracy. Rather than a conspiracy, it seems like Leviathan has developed an attitude problem towards their bosses — us.
And it looks like an attitude adjustment is in order.
PS: But I do want to thank the IRS for handing every Republican candidate in veteran-heavy areas even more wonderful material for campaign commercials. You guys are the bestest!
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)