This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
After a weeklong media blitz about a so-called IRS scandal, it was refreshing to have the Treasury Department inspector general's office finally put an end to it, finding no evidence of political bias.
The real story is worth telling, though. It starts with the Supreme Court's egregious 2010 Citizens United decision that enabled corporations and powerful interests to spend unlimited money on political campaigns. That resulted in a flood of corporate money in the 2012 election and a record number of applications for 501(c)(4) nonprofit "social welfare" organizations that allowed donors to conceal their identity and get a tax deduction.
This, of course, raised suspicion among IRS auditors, who, badly understaffed, took shortcuts to identify such groups. As the tea party movement was especially prominent, any group with "tea party" in its name naturally drew special attention. With conservative political groups accounting for 84 percent of the $322 million spent by these organizations, it was simple math, not bias, that caused IRS auditors to single out more of them.
The scandal is not about IRS field workers who were only trying to do their job; it's about Citizens United and the mostly right-wing organizations taking unfair advantage of it.
Salt Lake City