Remarks made by Democrat Senator Charles Schumer this week made it clear that he considers targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS to be acceptable and in fact a sound political practice.
In a speech titled “The Rise of the Tea Party and how Progressives can Fight Back” delivered by Senator Schumer on Thursday to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, he said it was time for his party to do more to counter the message of the Tea Party. Senator Schumer specifically called on the IRS to increase efforts like the delay tactics it used to hold up applications for tax-exempt status by Tea Party and other conservative organizations that opposed President Obama during his last presidential election.
“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control,” said Senator Schumer. “But there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies—we must redouble those efforts immediately.”
Senator Schumer’s remarks come only days after the FBI noted it did not expect to file any criminal charges against the IRS in connection to the additional scrutiny the organization applied against certain conservative organizations. The IRS reached this conclusion before it had interviewed any of the parties that have filed a lawsuit against the IRS for targeting.
Schumer, Tea Party Leaders Debate if Big Government is the Problem
“The Tea Party elites, with little rebuttal, have been able to make government the boogeyman,” said Senator Schumer. “They have convinced too much of America that government is the explanation for their ills.”
Senator Schumer called for efforts to promote the message that the government is a good thing for most Americans. But while the government does certainly provide benefits that are enjoyed by many Americans, that does not excuse the government from using agencies such as the IRS in a questionable if not illegal manner.
“This is a natural path that can help convince Tea Party members that government is helpful, if not a necessity,” continued Senator Schumer. “Times are ripe for a renewed and robust defense of government.”
“These people are wealthy, hard right, selfish, narrow,” continued Senator Schumer in reference to wealthy supporters of Tea Party groups. “People who don’t want to pay taxes and don’t want government interfering with their companies no matter what damage their companies may do to their workers, to the environment or to anybody else.”
But supporters of the Tea Party were quick to point out Senator Schumer’s belief about why more and more Americans are supporting Tea Party organizations.
“He continues to believe that Americans want big government,” said Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, a conservative organization in support of less taxes and less government. “But what they want is opportunity.”
“People are living the nightmare of big government,” continued Kibbe. “I would encourage Senator Schumer and the Democrats to double down on the strategy that the government is your friend.”
The debate is expected to continue to increase as the midterm elections in November 2014 draw near.
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Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.