Letter: Where IRS Scrutiny Is Merited

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

To the Editor:

The IRS has been subjected to a witch hunt lately over its scrutiny of conservative organizations. Unfortunately, one important issue is getting lost in the stampede to heap scorn on the IRS. From the media coverage, it seems clear that some of the questioning of scrutinized organizations has been inappropriate. However, the complaint that the organizations have been unfairly targeted has been exaggerated.

If an organization with the words “Tea Party” in its name applies for tax-free status as a humanitarian entity rather than a political one (which does not qualify for tax exemption), a reasonable person will suspect that the organization in question may be political. In this case, some additional scrutiny is clearly called for.

Hopefully, inappropriate questions and delays will get addressed so that future applicants will be treated fairly. I am concerned that the present witch hunt will make the IRS too gun-shy to scrutinize conservative organizations even when there is reason to believe that an organization is not what it claims to be.

Alv Elvestad