After an IRS official acknowledged that the agency flagged some 75 conservative groups for additional reviews due to their names including the words “tea party” or “patriot,” Tea Partiers and the people that suck up to them lost their collective minds.
Tea Party lovechild Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) demanded the IRS commissioner’s resignation. Congresswoman and all around crazy lady Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed the acknowledgments undermines the “credibility” of the 2012 presidential election.
Meanwhile, Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), offered an alternatively refreshing view about the IRS targeting of Tea Party-affiliated groups earlier Tuesday morning on MSNBC.
Bond said he didn’t think the federal government is wrong for signaling out the conservative groups for extensive reviews given that they are “overly racist.”
Back in 2006, the NAACP was the subject of its own controversial review from the Internal Revenue Service, after they criticized then-President George W. Bush during the 2004 presidential campaign. Ultimately, the IRS ruled that the nation’s oldest civil rights organization “continued to qualify” as tax-exempt. In an interview with The Washington Post, Bond said of the investigation: “It was an enormous threat” and noted that had the IRS revoked its tax exempt status it “would have reduced our income remarkably.”
Bond went further, suggesting that the investigation was politically motivated and the end result “meant that they thought they had harassed us enough and they could stop.”
So is there a double standard in Bond giving the IRS free reign to target groups whose views oppose his?
Bond told MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, “I don’t think there’s a double standard at all. I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at the Tea Party.
“I mean, here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who tried as best they can to harm President Obama in every way they can,” Bond explained.
“[The Tea Party] is the Taliban wing of American politics and we all ought to be a little worried about them.”
When asked if he thought that his comments were “a little harsh,” Bond quipped, “The truth hurts.”
Watch Bond’s comments here:
On one end, I actually agree with Bond’s assessment that the Tea Party represents an extremity in American politics. Though not all members of the fold may be racists, the movement itself has exploited White resentment toward the nation’s first Black president in order to move its agenda forward. Moreover, it’s been widely reported that many of these groups are funded by corporatists looking to move their agendas forward in the guise of a grassroots movement.
The Tea Party’s vitriol and methodology do not mirror that of the NAACP and their criticism of President Obama is far more hostile than anything the NAACP has said of President Bush in the past.
In addition, many Tea Party groups play in to libertarian ideology — some of which includes the abolishment of the IRS — from the likes of the Koch brothers. It’s not a surprise that a few in the IRS might see them as a threat, but that doesn’t make it okay.
That said, between the IRS targeting conservative groups for their political point of view as well as the Justice Department reportedly secretly collecting phone records from several Associated Press reporters last year, I’m weary of giving the government a free pass to two-step over the line when it comes to intrusion.
There is absolutely a valid reason for the IRS to review 501c organizations, but simply doing so if they have “tea party” and “patriot” in their names is profiling.
Even if some of those jackasses wouldn’t defend my right to live profile-free, I’m willing to defend theirs. So if you want to catch those who abuse their tax-exempt status, by all means do so…but fairly.