Told you so.
Or words to that effect.
The IRS, the government agency we love to hate, has stepped in it big-time.
The country’s tax collector has admitted it targeted some conservative and Tea Party groups for undue and unjustified scrutiny during the application process for tax-exempt status during the 2012 election season.
In addition to congressional hearings on such nonsense, an FBI criminal investigation is underway via the Justice Department to see if any of the stunning knuckleheadedness was also against the law. At a minimum, any number of IRS employees could be looking for work soon.
Sure to be part of the investigations will be queries culled from Political Scandal 101: Who knew what was going on, and when did they know?
We, however, knew they were up to no good at the IRS, didn’t we? Come on, it’s the IRS, pal.
OK, maybe the volume on my stereotype is a little loud, but however you want to sing this tune, the targeting of a political persuasion by a government agency will (and should) never play well.
That said, perhaps while Congress and the Justice Department take care of this nasty business, they can have a look at why so many “social welfare” groups get tax-exempt status in the first place. Nearly 3,400 groups applied for 501(c)(4) status in 2012.
A 501(c)(4) group, supposedly organized “not ... for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare,” can get tax-free donations and keep its donors anonymous as long as it isn’t engaged in political campaigns.
What gets vague is that the IRS — you remember them — apparently allows some political activity as long as it stops short of endorsing candidates. Still, billions were spent by “social welfare” groups in the 2012 elections. Go figure.
While the feds ferret out the truth about the IRS targeting conservative and Tea Party groups, now is also a good time to have another look at the entire tax-exempt marketplace.
* * *
The next one’s on the house.
That’s because a brawl over booze is brewing.
The National Transportation Safety Board has voted to recommend to the states that they lower the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold for driving to 0.05 percent. According to the NTSB, at the current iteration, 0.08 percent, we’re killing 10,000 people a year and injuring 170,000.
The vote has no force unless the Department of Transportation gets behind it. It took 21 years for all the states to get on board when the BAC moved from 0.10 to 0.08.
Pushback was swift. The American Beverage Institute told NBC News that the recommendation was “ludicrous,” that the new number “would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior. Further restricting the moderate consumption of alcohol by responsible adults prior to driving does nothing to stop hard-core drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.”
The NTSB argued that science shows some minor impairment even before 0.05 — at which time drivers can have vision issues, including impaired depth perception. Of course, critical to any BAC chart of impairment is the idea that, after tossing a few back, one believes his physical skills and judgment are better than they actually are.
Most of the world uses the 0.05 standard. Notable at 0.08 are the United States, Canada and Iraq. Nor is it an exact science.
Millions will see the new recommendation as evidence of the nanny state’s continued creep.
Some may argue — since anyone behind the wheel affects the lives of many others on the road — that the NTSB should use this guideline: How many drinks would you allow a perfectly responsible driver and still let your child be his passenger?
Stay tuned for the next round.