Fox News Inadvertently Proves Phoniness Of Phony Scandals

When President Obama correctly noted that Republicans have spent an inordinate amount of time obsessing over so-called “scandals,” rather than addressing the real issues that matter most to Americans, it touched off a spate of pundits spending an inordinate amount of time obsessing over Obama’s remarks, rather than addressing real news.

Fox News, of course, created a bunch of fancy new graphics with scary fonts alerting their perpetually frightened viewers that the President had called a bunch of phony scandals phony. Which makes it all the more delicious that a Fox News contributor pulled the veil aside this morning and exposed the fallacy at the center of one of the alleged scandals.

Radio loudmouth Lars Larson squared off with Democratic strategist Mark Hannah over the question of whether the IRS targeting of Tea Partiers was a legitimate scandal. The answer is obvious in that the GOP, despite a concerted witch hunt, has never found the least bit of evidence that the White House was connected to any of it.

The real scandal in all of this is that most of the groups seeking tax-exempt status, whether from the left or the right, should never have received it. They are overtly political operations disguising their activities as educational or charitable. They deserve to be scrutinized and rejected. They are the detritus of the Citizens United decision that effectively legalized special interest and corporate influence peddling. But this larger question always seemed to get lost in the skirmish over trivialities. Until today.

Near the end of what was otherwise a typical cable news spitting match, Larson let his guard down and expectorated some truth:

Did you catch that? Larson admitted that the activities of the Tea Partiers are political. And as Hannah astutely noted, that is not permitted under the law that governs tax exempt organizations. Here is the transcript:

Larson: The fact is that those groups were delayed. The law says that they are supposed to get an answer within 180 days. Some of them were delayed up to 27 months. And they described in detail to congress what those delays do in an election year to the ability of political groups to engage in politics, which is protected by the Constitution.

Hannah: You mean social welfare organizations, right?

Larson: No. I’m telling you that when they go out to educate people about the issues.

Hannah: They’re not allowed to be political.

To be clear, this was not a gaffe. This was an accidental articulation of the truth. Larson even brushed back Hannah’s polite (and somewhat snarky) correction before stumbling toward a step-back. The IRS is entirely justified in denying preferential tax treatment to these sort of groups, and they should be even more aggressive in doing so. And now we have a conservative on Fox News making the need for enforcement and reform abundantly clear.

This is precisely why Citizens United is so dangerous. It allows Super PACs to game the system, collect unlimited donations from conflicted parties, and keep their identities secret. And while pretending to be non-partisan, social welfare organizations, they brazenly engage in political activities. Everyone in politics knows it and, on occasion, when they aren’t carefully watching their words, it slips out.

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18 thoughts on “Fox News Inadvertently Proves Phoniness Of Phony Scandals

  1. People like you will be the reason that this nation will fall. You don’t see the facts here. The IRS apologized from the beginning about the unfair targeting. If they weren’t doing anything wrong, what did they apologize for? People like you try to keep making excuses for them. They seriously were asking what these groups praying about at their meetings! How is that any business of the IRS? If you think it is, then once again, you’re proving my point about being the kind of person that will eventually help America fall.

    • Damn. You’re onto me and my plot to bring America down.

      • My butt hurts over how mean Abraham Lincoln was to the Patriots of the South!

    • I suspect you believe President Obama was behind this as well..? The IRS has singled out Democrats and Democratic Organizations as well. This is what they should do. This time around is what the Tea baggers. And the Tea Baggers whined and cried foul and over exerted their authority. So since the IRS had singled them out, I suspect they, he or it felt the need to apologize. Well, now thanks to Republicans and Tea Mongers, they’ve just prevented a government agency from further doing their job, thus allowing certain groups and organizations to fraud the government.

    • Blank (brain), you’re argument has no merit. Yes, the IRS was investigating groups of all flavors and Issa tried his hardest to pit it on Obama. Even after the FACTS, I know you can’t stand facts, but even after the FACTS came out, Issa still tried to blame Obama personally. Now if your tiny mind which is incapable of critical thinking, incapable of any kind of reason want’s to continue Issa’s investigation which he himself has backed down from, you go right ahead. We already know you’re a moron, but you can keep proving it all you’d like.

    • I think you are missing a very important point here, Blank.
      The involvement of the POTUS. ie; There was no involvement! Yet, Fox constantly tries to frame it as though the POTUS was behind this charade.
      Regarding social welfare organizations, they are not allowed to be political under the tax laws!!!! But Lars messed up and indicated that is exactly what they are doing. The IRS has a duty to investigate regardless of political affiliation.

      It’s always better to understand the problem before you try to fix the “problem”.

    • Hmmm Blank, you do not understand the concept of non-profit, which means non-political. It is in the law. The IRS did screw it up when they replaced the word “exclusively” with “primarily” which they SHOULD NOT have done.

    • They apologized because they got caught, the IRS. They should not have been approving any of the applications that were politically oriented. Duh!! The IRS screwed up when THEY decided to effectively re-write the law.

    • Tell me, Blank, is your screen name a statement about your mind or did you have to work extra hard to be so stupid? The IRS has every right to ask questions of organizations wanting tax-exempt status. It is in the LAW, you blithering idiot, if you ever bothered to read it.

  2. I am glad that I am not the only one to have caught this “gaffe” and wondered why it is not on everyone’s tongues. BTW, “Blank”, the only thing the IRS apologized for was using such Tea Party specific names to weed out those who are falsely applying for tax-exempt status. They did the same thing with the left. One specific example was any group with “Occupy” in their name. Both sides were targeted, not as a political agenda but because they used political agenda names to define themselves. No one on the Right seems to be sad that Lefties also got targeted.

    Blank, these groups are one campaign contribution shy of a PAC. Tea Party Patriots “educating” people about the evils of Obama, the glories of voter restriction or gerrymandering redistricting, or the Biblical superiority of their favorite candidate is not social welfare. Habitats for humanity is a social welfare group. A group using private funds to rehabilitate the animals and environment affected by the BP oil spill is a social welfare group. A group helping with landscaping trees, bushes, etc, that goes beyond what insurance or the government is doing to rebuild disaster areas is social welfare. Campaigning is not social welfare.

    Remember, Blank, not one of these groups was denying their illegitimate tax-exempt status. The law was written “exclusively” social welfare or education. Someone redefined it as “primarily”. Even so most of these fail, except on paper, either definition. When they were being scrutinized no one told them that they could not continue doing whatever they were doing. There was no injunction preventing them from fundraising and the campaigning and political work they were doing. They just knew that there was a chance that they might have to pay taxes on it later if they could not prove their case. If they were so sure they were in the right, what stopped them from doing what they were doing? If they slowed down or stopped it was because they wanted to stop being scrutinized so that they could start / go back to breaking the rules. Lars says it quite clearly, “And they described in detail to congress what those delays do in an election year to the ability of political groups to engage in politics,” which they are legally not allowed to do if they are claiming charity, educational, or social welfare status. “True the Vote” should not be tax exempt. Give me a list of all the groups that say they were targeted and we’ll see who really qualifies. But the Right wants to ignore the same targeting of the Left and no one on the Right wants a comprehensive list put out there. That list would allow the American people to judge for themselves who is lying for tax exempt and who qualifies.

    The IRS Scandal is only a scandal when it is able to be shrouded in the mysteries of closed door hearings and unsubstantiated innuendo that Obama directly made it happen.

    • Hear Hear David. Good job.

  3. NONE of those organizations should be tax exempt.

  4. The IRS “scandal” is just the continued dittohead assault on the President (their sour grapes over losing twice and payback for Bush’s ineptness). The reich wing is only interested in politics, not governance. GOP = Greed Over Principles.

    Benghazi is an attempt to start laying phoney issues on Hillary in advance of her anticipated run for the Presidency.

    These are all “brush fires”, the republiCon pyromaniacs running around trying to distract peoples attention from the facts that despite their obstruction, the President IS fixing the economy, getting us out of 2 wars and focusing on jobs and the middle class. He IS fixing what 8 years of failed republiCon policy did to this country.

    As far as the government “snooping” into my private affairs… really? I have significantly more problems with private corporations “snooping” in my affairs… cookies from sites I visit, application for credit cards, requiring my SSN, credit reporting agencies, ad nauseam. The government doesn’t then go and sell MY personal info to the highest paying pimp either.

    Fox is for Idiots.

  5. I don’t think the republicans should be complaining about anything. Barak Obama won the election because the majority of americans voted for him. We like his policies, we like what he stands for and we want him to be able to function as the leader of this nation. The GOP are guilty of treason for blocking almost everything he wants to accomplish. Not even willing to compromise because the feel as if they are elite. We will see how elite they really are in the next election!

  6. Every now and then the truth gets in these idiots way, Fox! You might have to reference it every now and then if you want to have any kind of conversation, let alone an intelligent one. Don’t ya just love??!!

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