CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Editorials

May 16, 2013

EDITORIAL: The IRS' Turn to Answer Questions

The following editorial appeared in Tuesday's Washington Post

Washington is now sinking its teeth into a real scandal: the Internal Revenue Service using ideological criteria to choose the targets of its attention. What we already know is bad enough. Given the seriousness of the charges and the unreliability of IRS disclosures so far, purposeful, sober investigation is exactly what is needed.

At first, the IRS' admission that it flagged applications for tax-exempt status from tea party-type groups brought reaction that broke along partisan lines. But on Monday, President Obama called the news "outrageous," adding: "I've got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it. And we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this." Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, Nev., joined other Democratic lawmakers to support an investigation in his chamber, something Republican leaders in the House had pledged on Friday.

Any unequal application of the law based on ideological viewpoint is unpardonable — toxic to the legitimacy of the government's vast law-enforcement authority.

A forthcoming Treasury Department inspector general's report finds that IRS staffers looked for applications for tax-exempt status from groups that used in their names words such as "Tea Party," "Patriots" and "9/12," as well as ones that contained expressions of concern about government spending or criticism of how the country is run. One manager worried — with reason — that this targeting might result in "over-inclusion" of applications that needed no such scrutiny. By 2011, IRS staff had set aside more than 100 applications for added review. It wasn't just a couple of wayward staffers involved but rather a number of IRS agents and managers.

The inspector general also reports that Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS' tax-exempt organization office, knew about the targeting in 2011; she seemed to say Friday that she learned about it from news reports last year. That inconsistency raises suspicions about the agency's statements that higher-ups didn't know about the targeting and that there was no political motivation.

Text Only
Editorials
  • EDITORIAL: Gaining a lifetime of success

    The arguments for a deeper investment in the arts for public school children are overwhelmingly favorable. The money is simply not following the logic.

    April 6, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Gun bill backfires

    State Sen. Scott Beason, a Gardendale Republican, who will soon vacate his seat, is feeling a sense of disappointment that his bill to allow Alabamians to carry loaded handguns in their cars without a concealed weapon permit was shot down this week.

    April 5, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Above and beyond

    The announcement of the annual Distinguished Citizen and Unsung Heroes recipients by The Cullman Times has revealed another lineup of caring people who go the extra mile in building a better local community.

    April 3, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: A chance to lead growth

    In an era that concluded about a generation ago, residents of any average town or city in America had pretty much one destination for shopping.

    April 2, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Out of date, out of time

    The Alabama State Constitution, one of the nation’s oldest at 113 years old, continues to linger despite a wide range of efforts to completely rewrite the document.

    April 2, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: A private matter on display

    Following the arguments generated by legalized abortion leave many people in this generation walking away from the issue with a sense of confusion.

    April 1, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Drug policy sensible, needed

    Cullman City School officials’ decision to slow plans for implementing a student drug testing program was reached after a series of public input meetings.

    April 1, 2014

  • Rage against the weather

    A lot of things can be predicted in life. Economic downturn. A sour reaction to a bill in Congress or the president’s State of the Union address.

    February 3, 2014

  • A legacy protected by truth

    The holiday commemorating the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. passed with various celebrations and speeches across the nation.

    January 21, 2014

  • Ignoring the state’s needs

    Two points about the Alabama budget process are coming to light, and both are disturbing.
    With the Legislature in session, reports are already showing that lawmakers will have more money to spend on education and less for all the other vital state services that fall under the strained General Fund.

    January 20, 2014