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Democrats Defeat Cruz’s Effort to Protect Americans from IRS Abuses

February 27th, 2014 - 12:53 pm

As an enthusiastic fan of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), I am sorry that an ongoing project prevented me from participating in PJM’s Cruz symposium. But this relevant news just came over the transom, so I thought I’d at least pass it along.

As I’ve previously noted, Obama administration officials have been working the codify in federal law the IRS harassment and obstruction of conservative organizations that President Obama and Attorney General Holder claimed to find “intolerable,” “inexcusable,” “outrageous,” and “unacceptable” back when the scandal first came to light. As usual, it has been Senator Cruz leading the charge to try to stop them.

In the Senate today, Cruz offered two amendments that would have safeguarded the First Amendment rights of Americans against being profiled and targeted for IRS harassment. Specifically, it would have made it unlawful for IRS employees to:

[W]illfully act with the intent to injure, oppress, threaten, intimidate, or single out and subject to undue scrutiny any person or organization in any state.

One might think that discriminating against groups based solely on their political beliefs is something so manifestly wrong and un-American that everyone could agree it should be prohibited – especially after all the Obama administration’s bloviating about how terrible it is. Instead, Democrats unanimously opposed the Cruz amendment. Their majority assured the measure’s defeat.

The second amendment, Cruz’s office explains, would have “amended the tax code to use the bipartisan, independent FEC’s definitions to determine whether an organization is engaging in political activity.” The senator sensibly reasons that, as a tax collector, the IRS should focus on taxation. The agency is clearly not very good at assessing the nature and extent of “political activity” for purposes of determining whether a group gets tax-exempt status. It decided, for example, that hard Left activist MoveOn.org was not too political to get the tax break despite its proclamation of a mission “to lead, participate in, and win campaigns for progressive change.” Yet, after Democrats got hammered in the 2010 midterms, the IRS started wondering whether Tea Party groups were a tad too political … just in time for President Obama’s reelection run.

Democrats also unanimously voted down the second Cruz amendment.

In a press released just issued by his office, Senator Cruz states:

Nearly nine months ago, President Obama declared the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative groups ‘intolerable and inexcusable,’ yet his administration has authored a new rule to specifically limit free speech for many of those groups, which are classified as ‘social welfare’ organizations.

Free speech is not a partisan issue. The IRS has no business meddling with the First Amendment rights of Americans. Rather than further stifling free speech, the IRS and the Department of Justice should provide the American people with all the facts surrounding the IRS’s targeting of certain organizations based on their political activity. We should all agree the IRS should not be used as a tool for partisan warfare.

Senator Cruz has also been pointing out that today is the last day for public comments on the proposed new rules limiting free speech. Details on how to make your voice heard are here.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Where's the rest of the GOP on this? Where's the outrage? Why does it take Cruz and the Tea Party to fight on about this, but yet we have to get crap from the GOP establishment and their supporters?

Where are McConnell, McCain, Graham -- how come they're not leading the way against this when it's clearly un-American and the IRS is so clearly weaponized?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (25)
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Correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't it John McCain along with Russ Feingold who got this whole mess started under the auspices of "Campaign Finance Reform"? The reason the GOP, or as I like to call them, the republican branch of the Democrat party, hasn't voiced outrage about the IRS scandal is that they are totally OK and allied with them since they share common enemies. We don't need a third party, we need a valid second party. "There is not a dime's difference between the Democrat and Republican parties."
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lois Lerner, that "innocent" gal who was, in fact, perfectly willing to do Barack's bidding and use the IRS according to his agenda, she who took "the fifth" after declaring her lack of culpability in congressional testimony, is spozed to reappear for testimony on March 5.

Her lawyer has asked for "immunity" if you expect her to do anything besides "take the fifth" again.

I guess immunity is the only way Lois will spill the beans.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Give her immunity and she will then fall on her sword taking all blame.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
you don't give immunity until you know exactly what is going to be said.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's not the way immunity works. You don't get immunity until the prosecutor knows what your testimony will be, and if you don't render the expected testimony, your immunity deal is null and void.

So if Lerner gets immunity, she can't take all the blame and expect to get off without severe punishment.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would be stupid to grant her immunity without knowing what she would say- and not to revoke it if she does not do so.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Seems to me that the true enemies of the American people have drawn a line through our Constitution. That same Constitution that they swore to "support and protect" while destroying in with their dishonorable acts. Remember when McCain called Cruz "wacko bird", well now we know who the real wacko birds are and in addition they are despicable rats.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Instead, Democrats unanimously opposed the Cruz amendment. Their majority assured the measure’s defeat."

The same knee jerk majority voted in the thing that no one read and no one understood, the so called ACA.

The Senate majority leader, the guy who apparently singlehandedly determines what bills can even be considered, says today that all the stories of people being screwed by Obamacare are lies.

We are so completely degraded.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"[W]illfully act with the intent to injure, oppress, threaten, intimidate, or single out and subject to undue scrutiny any person or organization in any state."

If he could have worked the phrase, "any gay, minority, Muslim, feminist ....." (you get my line of thought) into the amendment, it would have passed in a heartbeat.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think one could say that, from the snippet shown, it is too vague:

Specifically, it would have made it unlawful for IRS employees to:

[W]illfully act with the intent to injure, oppress, threaten, intimidate, or single out and subject to undue scrutiny any person or organization in any state.

Thus, any action with the intent to "single out" someone for "undue scrutiny" would be unlawful. So, if I cheated on my taxes, but could come up with an argument that the scrutiny of my taxes was "undue", then I could take the IRS to court over the issue. So, an Al Capone could force the IRS to waste time and money proving that their scrutiny of him was NOT based on his fame.

It's likely that I'm wrong since I've never studied law, but I think that might be the basis for an argument against such an amendment. On the other hand, I like the idea of the government hesitating to inflict it's full powers on private individuals or groups unless they have a reason.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
" ... then I could take the IRS to court over the issue."

You say that after cheating on your taxes you then are going to sue the IRS with the expectation that they are going to drop their investigation and back off? That should indeed make your life interesting. You surely are an optimist.

"I like the idea of the government hesitating to inflict it's full powers on private individuals or groups unless they have a reason."

Reason? That's it? Nothing about constitutional constraint and proper judicial process? Just a reason? Wow!
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"You say that after cheating on your taxes you then are going to sue the IRS with the expectation that they are going to drop their investigation and back off?"

I'm imagining a very rich individual who has done things that may be considered unlawful, like Al Capone. The idea being that he'd be able to tie the government up in court forcing them to prove their attention to him was "undue". At which point, all he'd have to do is donate to Organizing for America and the IRS would drop the whole thing. Then he'd be appointed Ambassador....

"Unless they have a reason". Yes, unless they have a valid, constitutionally constrained reason to pursue a judicial process. Pardon me for not fully explaining what I meant by "a reason".
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes thank you. And today the Republicans in the Senate blocked the bill to provide health, education, and job training for 22M US military veterans. Not a single Republican voted for the bill. So much for supporting our veterans. What a bunch of phonies. Time to clean house.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was about EXPANDING all those things, not about simply providing them at current levels. They would also have been mocked as failing to be fiscally conservative for providing additional benefits to those veterans while attempting austerity elsewhere. The trouble with spending other people's money is that we eventually run out of it no matter how meaningful the spending.

It was a cynical move by the Democrats, since Republicans would look bad whether they supported it or opposed it.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Republicans tried to attach Iran sanctions to the bill, the Dems rejected it. So they blocked the bill to provide additional benefits to our veterans. Hardly a cynical move, rather a move that showed Senate Republicans for what they are: phonies and posers who hate our troops when they think it serves their narrow politicial interests. And don't natter on about "spending". Two major wars without paying for them? Republicans have zero credibility on spending.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is reducing pay and housing allowances and health care and PX privileges for active-duty, front-line military members -- while increasing pay for other government workers. That's after Michelle and Dr. Jill have gone to one photo op after another declaring their deep commitment to "military families."

There are also the insane rules of engagement that have resulted in a soaring rate of military casualties under Obama -- but the Democrats who used to claim they were grieved and outraged by soldiers' deaths have been eerily silent.

What a bunch of phonies.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sure,the new defense bill cuts the size of the military among other military related expenditures (ooh, cheap stuff at the PX. Better that than food stamps). "Insane rules of engagement"? How about honoring our soldiers by getting them out of stupid wars where they are being killed for no reason.
So: defend the vote by Senate Republicans against our veterans. You cannot.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Mitchey the Kid can rest a little easier tonight.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where's the rest of the GOP on this? Where's the outrage? Why does it take Cruz and the Tea Party to fight on about this, but yet we have to get crap from the GOP establishment and their supporters?

Where are McConnell, McCain, Graham -- how come they're not leading the way against this when it's clearly un-American and the IRS is so clearly weaponized?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
The republican establishment types want the Tea Party repressed at least as much as the democrats.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
They are busy helping to put the finishing touches on the amnesty bill that Boehner is going to jam through the House as soon as the Republican primaries are over.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have taken to referring to them as the Fascist-Democrat Party.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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