I am not one to sympathize with those in the radical right who coopted the Tea Party movement and turned it into a tool for radical right wing causes. Nevertheless, I too was offended when I originally heard about the IRS people in Cincinatti who profiled the Tea Party in adjudging applications for 501 (c) (4) status. Profiling of any kind violates the American ideal of fair play, whether it is against Hispanics, as they do in Arizona, or against African-Americans as they do to some extent in every state, or against women, or gays, or the poor or aged or sick.
That said, there is a problem here. The IRS got thousands of applications for this tax-free status, which was meant for groups primarly promoting social welfare. A great many of these applications were made immediately after the Citizens United case came down from the Supreme Court. One could legitimately infer from that flood of applications that a good many of them were intended by the applicants for use primarily as a tool to support a political person or program. As it turns out, many of the applicants who did obtain the tax-free status did just what they should not do, i..e., use the status to promote their politics. After all, is there anyone on this planet who thinks that Karl Rove’s 501c4 exists for any purpose at all other than a political purpose?
So, if the radical right makes a bunch of applications, and they all look lke political dodges, it is likely that those who analyze such things would begin to suspect the radical right applications more than others. In fact, it is fairly amazing that the radical right, which has endorsed profiling in a host of other circumstances, should now feel so righteously offended when they are caught out on it themselves.
I have a grave suspicion that we will see yet another flood of these pseudo-groups applying, and each of them will claim discrimination if it is turned down. So I am just sending word to those embattled folk at the IRS — if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, keep calling it a duck. Don’t let ’em get you down.