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A Victory for Common Sense on IRS Rule Proposal

Could the withdrawal of proposal targeting donors signal a culture shift at the IRS?

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I recently wrote for TheBlaze about a new proposed rule the Internal Revenue Service was promoting, seeking to have nonprofit organizations collect and report the social security numbers of donors who give at least $250 to the organizations in a single year.

I am glad to report that the IRS has officially withdrawn the inane proposal.

Could this signal a culture change at the IRS?

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The official notice said:

The Treasury Department and the IRS received a substantial number of public comments in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking. Many of these public comments questioned the need for donee reporting, and many comments expressed significant concerns about donee organizations collecting and maintaining taxpayer identification numbers for purposes of the specific-use information return. In response to those comments, the Treasury Department and the IRS have decided against implementing the statutory exception. … Accordingly, the notice of proposed rulemaking is being withdrawn.

The comments it’s referring to numbered 37,977. They included one I helped draft for Concerned Women for America where we expressed grave concern, given the IRS’ recent scandal targeting religious groups.

“As a religious organization, we are especially sensitive to the IRS’ proven hostility toward certain religious convictions and their willingness to inflict injury on political opponents,” it read.

We are thankful that the IRS heard our pleas. It is simply amazing that this proposal got serious consideration while Lois Lerner is still sipping Mojitos in the Bahamas somewhere (potentially anyway) on the nice pension she got (reports estimated she “could qualify for a starting pension at the annual equivalent of as much as $102,600, and up to $3.96 million over her lifetime”) and the $129,300 in bonuses (in three years!) she got while she targeted conservative groups. Recall that when confronted with the reports that clearly show the targeting of conservative groups because of their political ideology, Mrs. Lerner asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, refusing to testify and aid the investigation.

The targeting case is still ongoing, but the agency’s time for change is now, and we are hopeful that this withdrawal signals a willingness to change.

In his final State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama expressed regret at the state of the political discourse and distrust in our nation after seven years of his presidency. He said:

[D]emocracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens. It doesn't work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic. Democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise; or when even basic facts are contested, and we listen only to those who agree with us. Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get attention. Most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn't matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest.

Too many Americans feel that way right now. It's one of the few regrets of my presidency — that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. There's no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I'll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office.

Well, Mr. President, here is the perfect example of where you could have done more (way more!) to bridge the gap you so clearly see. You still can.

Virtually no one has been held accountable for this egregious abuse of power by the IRS. And the groups targeted have been largely ignored by the president himself. When asked about it on John Stuart’s Daily Show, he said there was no IRS scandal. And (unbelievably!) said, the “real scandal around the IRS is that they have been so poorly funded that they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.”

So yes, apparently the $43,000 average bonus Louis Lerner got is not enough, that’s the scandal, as far as the president is concerned. They need more money! Then the president wonders why there is such a charged political divide in the country.

I truly hope he was sincere when he said he would keep trying to do better. Let him do better here. Let him do better for the groups that were illegally targeted by the IRS. May the IRS’s withdrawal signal a new era of common sense and fair play at the IRS.

We can only hope.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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