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May 21, 2013

Letter: IRS probes of agencies raise questions

To the editor:

No one should have any trouble finding additional commentary about our gloriously well-written tax codes.

Yet, why are no IRS agents or tax lawyers talking fully about all the rights, obligations, and regulations concerning 501 (c) (4) organizations?

In the midst of this, it is rarely mentioned that all applicants continued to collect funds during the “scrutiny.” There has been little mention about the few applicants that were finally denied the status. There has been no mention why they were denied.

There have been discussions about 527 groups and what differences exist between them and the 501 (c) (4)s. It is far easier for a group to organize to promote a party, specific goals, and/or candidates to become tax-exempt. Faster and simpler seem like attractive features. 527s are required to disclose contributions and who contributed. Seems like a bonus in a democracy that wishes to continue to be a democracy.

There are no secrets in a 527. But to become a 501 (c) (4) organization requires tedious paperwork, a long period of “scrutiny,” and intensive surveillance afterwards. It is an expensive and tiring process, so why would any group seek this rating?

All 501 (c) (4) organizations cannot be required to disclose their donors publicly. You will never know what Kim Jong-Un contributed. Here is a question to consider. Why would you not want to know who or what is supporting a candidate? The only secrets are in a 501 (c) (4).

IRS erred when they scrutinized applicants. They should have focused on compliance.

The Houses of Congress erred when they repeatedly rewrote legislation concerning applicants and actions. They should have focused on administration, potential violations, and punitive actions against violators.

The executive branch erred when it demanded that a head should roll before investigating what happened.

The Supreme Court erred when it decreed that a legal fiction should be accorded financial privileges in campaign donations as if those fictions were people.

So we have three branches of government, four sources of feckless thugs, and millions of unquestioning enablers.

I am so glad we all accept our role in making it possible for 548 people to determine the fate of more than 300 million and hold just one person responsible.

As Will Rogers once said, “We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.”

ARTHUR THOMAS

Gloucester

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