While out on the campaign trail this week, President Obama has accused “Washington” of “taking its eye off the ball” while blaming “phony scandals” for being “distractions.” Last night, Greta van Susteren interviewed victims of these “phony scandals.”
According to Greta’s interview, Martha Boneta’s difficulties started right after she hosted a birthday party for “eight little girls” on her Paris, Virginia farm. The city accused her of running a boarding house. Thus far, the city hasn’t proven that accusation.
Shortly after that, the IRS jumped into the case. Most disturbing is the fact that, according to Ms. Boneta, the city knew about the IRS intervention before she knew about it. That raises a disturbing question that’s turning into a recurring theme.
How did the city know about an IRS audit before the person getting audited knew about it? In turn, that raises another, more disturbing thought. IRS audit notices are supposed to be kept confidential. They’re supposed to be communications between the IRS and the person getting audited.
This ties into the IRS’s behavior towards the National Organization for Marriage, aka NOM. Here’s a refresher on that situation from NOM’s blog:
NOM is a nonprofit organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) asa social welfare organization, exempt from taxation pursuant to Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) § 501(c)(4). As such, it must annual file with the IRS a Form 990 tax return. It must also make portions of that tax return public, and NOM has done so in a timely fashion every year since itwas founded.
Portions of NOM’s Form 990, specifically Schedule B, which contains the names and addresses of NOM’s major donors, are not public. Like nearly every other non-profit organization, NOM does not publically disclose its donor information. Indeed, because of thevicious and at times even violent campaign of intimidation that has been waged againstsupporters of traditional marriage intimidation that the Supreme Court itself has remarked upon.
NOM jealously guards the confidentiality of its donors. Nevertheless, on March 30, 2012, NOM became aware that its confidential tax information specifically, its 2008 Form 990 Schedule B had been obtained by the Human Rights Campaign (“HRC”), NOM’s principal opponent in the political battles over the redefinition of marriage published on its website, and republished on numerous other websitessuch as the Huffington Post. The donor names were not redacted, but there was another redaction on the PDF document that had been posted, and NOM’s computer analysts were able to remove the document’s redaction layer and discover that the document had originated from within the IRS itself.
NOM’s donor information was leaked to their political opponents. Similarly, Ms. Boneta’s audit notice from the IRS was leaked to Paris city leaders before Ms. Boneta had gotten the notice.
When the IRS leaks confidential tax information to organizations’ and people’s political enemies, that’s when the IRS stops being just another government agency. That’s when it becomes a political weapon against the people.
That’s when the scandal becomes exceptionally real for the victims of IRS abuse. That’s why President Obama’s characterizing of these despicable scandals as “phony scandals” and “distractions” are disgusting.
President Obama and Jay Carney owe the American people an apology. More importantly, they owe victims of this scandal a sincere, public apology.