by CHRYSTAL STASICKY Staff Writer
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since 2011 has been targeting conservative groups looking for tax-exempt status with extra scrutiny.
Documents that The Washington Post obtained showed that IRS staff had a meeting with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner on June 29, 2011. They spoke about paying close attention to situations where the case files judge the way the country is being run. However, the file was revised several days later because Lerner raised objections.
It was on January 15, 2012 that the IRS officially decided to target the groups that are involved in limiting/expanding the government and educating Americans on the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution.
Senator Rand Paul claimed on May 12 that there was a “written policy” that stated the IRS was targeting groups who opposed the president.
“And when that comes forward, we need to know who wrote the policy and who approved the policy,” said the Republican senator on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Paul has only heard about the policy, but has never actually seen it. However, there are statements of those who have been targeted.
“Well, we keep hearing the reports and we have several specifically worded items saying who was being targeted. In fact, one of the bullet points says those who are critical of the president. So I don’t know if that comes from a policy, but that’s what’s being reported in the press and reported orally,” Paul stated. “I haven’t seen a policy statement, but I think we need to see that.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the IRS was giving punishment by targeting the opposing groups.
“When someone does me wrong, I get back at them by just ignoring them because that is the right thing to do instead of starting a fight, but the IRS decided to punish its opponents. However, those who opposed had their own personal opinions whether it is or is not justified. An opinion is an individual’s own thought like the IRS officials had their own,” commented sophomore Nicole Farganis.
The groups tried to achieve tax-exempt status, which resulted in them facing heavy scrutiny and taking long questionnaires for the past few years. IRS officials said they made mistakes when its office in Ohio singled out groups that had names with “tea party” and “patriot” from getting tax-exempt applications.
Because of these doings, both Congress and President Barack Obama have criticized the IRS. A poll that Internet users took early Sunday morning on May 12 known as CNN/ORC International survey, showed that 71 percent of Americans found that the IRS’ targeting was unacceptable.
“Although I did not take the survey, I agree with those who voted that the IRS was wrong in their doings. If the groups do not agree with the way the country is being run then that is their right. But just because the IRS did not support the groups opinions does not mean the IRS should give them punishment. The IRS officials would not like it if they were targeted for their opinions. What if the groups turned around and did the same to them because they did not agree with what the IRS thought?” questioned sophomore Hiral Patel.