Thursday, May 16, 2013

Calling Darrel Issa Some More

Poor Guy.  Darrell, a man who never passed a TV camera without falling in love (Those polished teeth! Those room-scanning eyes! The need!  The need!), has now found himself pushed off the air just when he thought he had picked the right horse to gallop to the eternal Republican wet dream  of the Impeachment of Barack Obama.  And pushed off the air by some mid-level functionary nincompoop at the IRS in Cleveland.  Cleveland!  Oh, the bitter irony. Nobody cares about what one of my blog readers calls Oh My Gahazi.  Darrell's horse foundered over at Faux News and is now wobbling around in the back stretch, spavined and wheezing while Darrel keeps kicking it in the ribs saying, "Giddyup! Giddyup."

But it's too late.  That old horse left the gate and fell over, killed by public ennui and public fickleness.  They've thundered on to something new, something better:  Yes, the IRS scandal.

And Darrel's nowhere in sight on that mess.  Oh, the unfairness of it all!

Well, Darrell should take heart.  There's sure to be something juicy for his "Committe For The Garnering Of TV Face Time" to "examine" coming along any minute.  In a city filled with lean, hungry, "ambitious" men, too many of whom live on the dodgy edge, there will be no end of F--k ups to "examine."

But here's one that Darrel won't be touching with a ten foot pole -- one that desperately needs examining.  And it won't get a good hard look because Washington is also a town filled with piano players in Madame Cecile's fancy establishment who make a very fine living absolutely ignoring (and denying) the fact there are ladies of the night plying their trade right up the stairs. The ladies tip well, the money buys Momma a new pair of shoes, so what's not to love?

In yesterday's L.A. Times, Michael Hiltzik had a splendid column on the 501(c)4s that were responsible for this latest IRS kerfuffle.  Far from decrying the IRS's bringing extra scrutiny to these C4s, Hiltzik writes, "It's about time the IRS subjected all of these outfits to scrutiny.  The agency's inaction has served the purposes of donors and political organizations on both sides of the aisle, and contributed to the explosive infection of the electoral process by big money from individuals and corporations.   . . . Thanks to ambiguity about what it means to be 'primarily' concerned with 'social welfare,' political activists have reaped a bonanza for years while the IRS ignored their chicanery.  "

Continues Hiltzik, "C4s are curious creatures in the tax code.  They're allowed to engage in lobbying, but not ("primarily") in campaign activity.  Their donors don't get a tax deduction, but the organizations are tax-exempt.  For example, they don't have to pay taxes on income they earn by investing donated funds.  But what makes C4s especially attractive to people who want to funnel money into politics is this:  They don't have to identify their donors."

In short, C4s are perfect money laundering machines. And so are perfectly poised to allow handfuls of wealthy people (and corporations) to have profound impacts on our elections.  Control (i.e. "buy") your local Congressmen and you control Congress. Local races are easy targets, a great bargain for your money.  All of it untraceable, all of it legal, thanks to our Supreme Court.

Concludes Hiltzik, "Let's remember that a tax exemption handed over to any group costs all of us money.  It's proper for the IRS to scrutinize applicants.  The biggest laugh line uttered in this affair is that the IRS is somehow "harassing" these public-spirited organizations by asking them to justify their statuts.  Here's a good rule of thumb:  You don't want to get harassed by the IRS? Then don't claim a tax exemption you may not deserve."

But that's one important horse Darrell won't be mounting.  Holding real hearings on the C4s might actually result in exposing this flim-flam and might lead to much needed reforms -- what his Committee is supposed to be doing in the first place. But much needed reforms are the last thing Darrell wants.  They're too much work, all that wonky noodling.  TV cameras don't do "wonky noodling," they do outrageous sound bites and for Darrell, it's all about the face time.

Those shiny teeth, those eyes, those headlines!

1 comment:

FOGSWAMP said...

I believe this present-day situation is fraught with peril for the IRS, which of course, needs to be seen as apolitical when it cracks down on political abuse proscribed by the 501(c)4 regs and thus is inevitably branded as partisan.

In the past decade the IRS has been rather silent about the increasingly aggressive political abusive activity by U.S. churches, mosques & synagogues proscribed under 501(c)3 involving billions taken from U.S. tax collections.

Reuter reported in a June 21, 2012 article that in New York City's 9.500 churches, synagogues, and mosques, for example, will avoid $626.9 million in property taxes alone.

It's past time for churches to stop political electioneering or lose their tax-free status and "Render unto Caesar".