It is not unusual for convicted criminals to characterize themselves as victims, and as a rule they blame law enforcement, judges, and district attorneys for doing their jobs and cry they were unfairly persecuted despite mountains of evidence they committed a crime. It is part of a mindset inherent in criminals who often believe the crime they committed was justified, or to portray law enforcement and the judicial system as unfairly tyrannizing them regardless they were caught red-handed or confessed to violating the law. Under normal circumstances, only corrections officers are privy to whiny criminals’ persistent complaints they were maltreated by “the system,” and as a rule the louder they complain, the guiltier they are. Over the past ten days, all Americans have witnessed firsthand Republicans and teabags complaining they were singled out for persecution by the government, and they have taken a page right out of convicted felons’ book and accused an enforcement agency, the Internal Revenue Service, of abusive treatment despite they were doing their jobs to prevent violations of tax and campaign law, and the cries of scandal, cover-up, and persecution inform there is a conspiracy underlying the alleged scandal.
The faux outrage over the I.R.S. doing its due diligence in scrutinizing political activists’ applications for tax exempt status as social welfare organizations is shining a spotlight on conservative’s dirty practice of concealing dark money being spent on campaigns. Instead of keeping quiet and letting the controversy die down, conservatives are giving the rest of the country an opportunity to look closely into Republican attempts to circumvent tax and campaign laws. As it turns out, the groups claiming they promoted social welfare may have conspired to conceal illegal campaign donations as well as protect their donors if they illegally deducted contributions to a tax exempt “social welfare charity” they would be disallowed from claiming if they gave to Political Action Committees or directly to any particular campaign.
The reality is that the dark money so-called conservative 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations spent on conservative candidates was dirty money, and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, and various teabagger patriot clubs committed perjury if they told the IRS they would not participate in political campaigns. If any of the so-called social welfare organizations assisted donors to write off illegal campaign contributions, they must face I.R.S. audits to determine their donors and if they gave them permission to write off their political donations under the guise of charitable contributions.
According to IRS Publication 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization, “A donor can deduct a charitable contribution of $250 or more only if the donor has a written acknowledgment from the charitable organization. The donor is responsible for requesting and obtaining written acknowledgment from the donee.” An extensive audit will determine if any of the conservative groups gave written acknowledgments to donors, or if they requested said acknowledgment, but at the very least the largest groups appear to be guilty of perjury.
The application for recognition as a social welfare nonprofit, 1024 Form, explicitly asks a group whether it has spent, or plans to spend, “any money attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any person to any Federal, state, or local public office or to an office in a political organization,” and the conservative groups said no. Karl Rove’s “social welfare” organization, Crossroads GPS, complained it is among the conservative groups “targeted” by the IRS, and it should have been for spending more than $70 million in federal races in 2012. However, Crossroads GPS has not been granted tax-exemption, and yet claimed it was exempt under 501(c) on its tax return. The Koch brothers’ non-profit “social welfare,” Americans for Prosperity, spent more than $36 million despite saying it did not spend on political campaigns. Besides Rove’s group, most conservative “social welfare” non-profits applied to the IRS and were recognized as tax-exempt, and despite the IRS code rule that “promoting social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office” the groups poured millions into Republican candidates’ coffers. They are guilty of perjury and it may explain why Republicans knew about the IRS scrutiny during the 2012 election and remained silent.
As reported here on Tuesday, Darrell Issa was aware of the Treasury Department investigating the IRS in 2012, and yesterday an MSNBC host asked why Willard Romney failed to bring up the alleged scandal during the 2012 election. One can only conclude it was either because Bush appointees were responsible for the so-called persecution of conservative groups, or because they were mortified the illegal “tax-exempt” status and dark money groups would be exposed in the heat of a presidential campaign. After a judge found that teabagger non-profit True the Vote violated their tax-exempt non-profit status and illegally aided Republicans, it is hardly a stretch to believe Republicans and their “social welfare” political action committees were anxious to keep their perjury-laden applications under the radar. However, now that they are crying foul and claiming they were treated unfairly by Bush appointees and blaming the White House, it is time for a thorough FEC, IRS, and Justice Department investigation of all conservative groups that applied for, or were granted, tax-exempt status by the .
Any investigation must include delving into whether or not millionaires and corporations asked for, or received, written acknowledgment to deduct their donations to conservative “social welfare” organizations that perjured themselves by pouring money into Republican political campaigns, and if they did, if they are guilty of tax evasion by deducting them as charitable contributions. At the very least, the groups that claimed they were exempt and still donated to political campaigns are guilty of perjury, and there is the little issue of Karl Rove’s group claiming they were exempt without any record with the IRS.
Republicans may rue the day they complained they were unfairly scrutinized because it appears the IRS was performing its job well by giving extra attention to political activists claiming their work was strictly promoting social welfare. There are too many unanswered questions that give the appearance of a grand scheme to circumvent campaign finance laws as well as evading tax liability, and based on the conservative’s complaints they’ve been unfairly persecuted, it is highly likely the criminals are guilty and deserve a serious round of investigations to bring them to justice.