I absolutely agree with former NAACP Chair, Julian Bond. This entire faux outrage fiasco is designed to make the president look bad. That has been the objective of the GOP since Tuesday, January 20th, 2009.
As my colleague Egberto Willies wrote on Tuesday, this whole tempest in a teacup over the IRS scrutiny of groups who used “tea party” or “patriot” in their names is foolish. He is correct in stating that the IRS was well within its boundaries and, indeed, was doing exactly what it should have been doing. The granting of a 501(c) status is a very big deal. When I was on the staff of the one of the largest Pagan churches in the country, it took us years to be approved for that tax-free status. The IRS doesn’t hand those exemptions out like candy: you must prove that you fit the qualifications. Most of the Tea Party groups most certainly did not, not if they were engaged in politics.
We are not the only ones who think that the IRS was doing its job, either. Former NAACP Chairman, Julian Bond, told Thomas Roberts of MSNBC:
“I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at the tea party. Here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who’ve tried as best they can to harm President Obama in every way they can.”
Mr. Bond found himself in a similar situation back in 2004 when, after a speech he’d given criticizing then-President George Bush, he received a letter from the IRS advising him that the NAACP was being investigated because of what he said. He thought that he was exercising his right to free speech but, as some of us know, criticism of Bush was not covered by that right.
But criticism of Obama? Well, that’s an entirely different matter. We’ve seen it time and again: Tea Party “patriots” with outrageous signs saying horrible things about a duly elected president. And these are most definitely not non-political groups. As Mr. Bond noted:
“They are the Taliban wing of American politics. We all ought to be a little worried about them.”
When Roberts asked Bond if that wasn’t a bit harsh – calling the TP the “Taliban wing” of American politics – Bond replied that it wasn’t at all too harsh and that we should all be concerned about their influence. He did say that it was wrong of the IRS to be so heavy-handed and chided them for not explaining their actions better. But Bond was adamant that this situation has no parallel to the targeting of the NAACP in 2004.
Now a liberal group called Progress Texas has come forward saying that they received the same level of scrutiny that the Tea Party groups did. Their executive director, Ed Espinoza, said in a statement:
“Progress Texas and the Tea Party strongly disagree on the role of government. Yet, when we applied for tax-exempt status, Progress Texas received the same type of additional scrutiny that Tea Party groups are complaining about. The similar treatment indicates the IRS was likely addressing a flood of 501(c)4 applications after Citizens United, and undermines the paranoid notion that Tea Party groups were singled out.”
Exactly. This entire “scandal” is being blown up out of all proportion. The IRS, the agency that collects the taxes for the American people to run our government, should be wary of groups that apply for 501(c) status. Even more so when the applicants have been so brazen about its involvement in politics. This faux outrage is silly. The IRS was just doing its job and the Tea Party groups are doing what they do: blame the government and whine about taxes. Same as it ever was.
Here’s the video of Bond’s appearance:
- NAACP Chair Emeritus: ‘Legitimate’ For IRS To Target ‘Admittedly Racist’ Tea Party: ‘Taliban Wing’ Of Politics (mediaite.com)
- Watch: Fmr. NAACP chair calls Tea Party groups ‘Taliban wing of American politics’ (tv.msnbc.com)
- Former NAACP Chair Julian Bond Calls Tea Party Loyalists ‘Taliban Wing of American Politics’ (opposingviews.com)
- Former NAACP Chair Says The IRS Was Right To Target Tea Party Groups (VIDEO) (addictinginfo.org)
- NAACP Chair: Tea Party Is ‘Taliban Wing’ Of American Politics (freebeacon.com)