#IRS: Going after veterans’ groups?

Posted by: Phineas on August 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"Thanks for your service?"

“Thanks for your service?”

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.

Coincidentally.

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)

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4 Responses to “#IRS: Going after veterans’ groups?”

Comments

  1. Great White Rat says:

    The IRS is just doing its part to protect us. Remember than DHS document from April 2009 that pointed to military veterans as potential right-wing extremists? This is only a logical next step. If you think the veterans are hotbeds of reactionary extremism, then you’d want to keep a close eye on all those highly secret paramilitary organizations out there that recruit them for Alinsky-knows-what kind of terroristic activities.

    All these activities where they march in Memorial Day parades and the like are obviously just a smokescreen for much more sinister plots, and it’s up to the Lois Lerner types of the heroic People’s IRS to save us all from that menace!

  2. Besides the fact a DD-214 contains sufficient info to be an identity thief’s dream, one could mistakenly suppose that the IRS is requesting them as a means to get into the business of hunting down “stolen valor” law violators.

    The reason these types of abuses at IRS (aka “phony scandal”) are still going on is that the appropriate as*es were not fired and no one has been installed to straighten out this mess.

  3. Carlos says:

    So tell me:

    Why is it OK for the IRS to require proof that VFW members were in fact members of the military, but it’s not OK for states to require voters to prove citizenship?

    There’s something seriously wrong here, and it’s not just the administration. The deeply embedded socialists that run every bureaucracy in the federal government (and the states and municipalities, too) have seized power over average citizens and groups that our system of government never intended them to have.

  4. Drew the Infidel says:

    @Carlos-Keep in mind the same people who scream bloody murder over being required to show a valid ID to vote are also the ones who do not bat an eye at showing an ID for food stamps.