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Opinion

May 16, 2013

IRS, Justice actions violate our trust

After the recent actions of the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Justice Department, belief in the integrity of our government is hanging by a very slender thread.

There are a lot of resentful taxpayers who don’t need much of a reason to distrust the IRS, and recent revelations reveal that we all have cause to be worried about that crucial part of our government.

For 18 months, beginning in 2010, the IRS targeted conservative organizations that applied for tax-exempt status. “No work was completed on the majority of these applications for 13 months, according to a report released Tuesday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

While applications from liberal groups were processed speedily, “the IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention,” the report said.

Outrageous.

Even as the IRS is pinning much of the blame for this obscenity on two “rogue” employees, it all stinks to high heaven.

President Obama on Tuesday said in a statement that the actions revealed in the report were “intolerable and inexcusable.”

We couldn’t agree more. Republicans have tried their best to pin the blame on Obama, something Democrats would certainly be doing if the president were a Republican. While it’s true that the buck stops at the president’s desk, we’re hoping he becomes part of the solution.

“The federal government must conduct itself in a way that’s worthy of the public’s trust, and that’s especially true for the IRS,” he said. “The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test.”

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