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posted: 6/6/2013 4:40 AM

Ex-IRS boss is owed an apology

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Ex-IRS boss is owed an apology

A few words in defense of Ms. Lerner of the IRS: She had a job which could not possibly have been done right.

Ms. Lerner was to oversee the IRS administration of applications for 501(c)(4) federal tax exemptions provided to "Social Welfare Organizations." Part of that job is to assure that the tax exemptions go only to groups that fit the definition of "Social Welfare Organization."

Under IRS regulations almost as old as she is, these are defined as organizations "primarily engaged in promoting in some way the common good and general welfare of the community." These words do not include organizations primarily engaged in elective politics, if English is

still the language of choice in these matters.

After Citizens United came a wave of 501(c)(4) applications with the words "Tea Party" in the organization name. There is no more popular pair of words in use by organizations primarily engaged in elective politics today than these two words. Ms. Lerner looked into the matter or allowed people in her department to do so. What was she supposed to do?

Shortly after the politicians broke out the torches and started marching around the capital, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives gleefully exclaimed, "My question is, who's going to jail?"

After this, Ms. Lerner received a subpoena to testify before a committee chaired by rabid Republican House of Representatives member Darryl Issa and she invoked her 5th Amendment Right not to testify. What was she supposed to do? Ms. Lerner has been done dirt for doing her job. She deserves an apology.

Alfred Y. Kirkland Jr.


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