It seems that the IRS has targeted any one that is a threat to them, be it an individual citizen who carries out most of their business abroad or the Tea Party who threatens their existence in general. But what bothers me more is that the media, and those heavily invested in politics, turn an abuse of power, a simple scandal, into a platform for intense political debate. Not only has the IRS targeted conservative groups as powerful in voice as the Tea Party. They have targeted individual citizens, and who knows how many of those victims did not deserve to be so heavily taxed or audited. Who knows how much that they have profited from has been unfair.
The New York Times answers a personal question of mine quite well here:
Q. Why did the issue then remain quiet for more than a year?
A. It was not yet clear in early 2012 that the I.R.S. was specifically targeting conservative groups. Groups allied with the Tea Party made that accusation. But the issue remained clouded by a larger debate over politically oriented groups that seek nonprofit tax status.
To receive such status, according to the I.R.S., a group must be “primarily engaged in the promotion of social welfare.” Such organizations can engage in some political activity “so long as, in the aggregate, these nonexempt activities are not its primary activities.”
The standard for what constitutes a “primary” activity remains unclear, and many outside experts believe that political groups, on both the right and left, take advantage of the uncertainty.