Media for the 99%

Outrage Over IRS Targeting Of Tea Party Shows Glaring Double Standard

Aaron Cynic asks: Why are the people outraged by the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups silent on the targeting of Occupy and NATO activists?

Tea Party Express The Tea Party Express outside the Minnesota state capitol in August 2010. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue, Creative Commons)

Tea Party Express
The Tea Party Express outside the Minnesota state capitol in August 2010. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue, Creative Commons)

Originally published at Diatribe Media.

Conservatives and President Obama alike are outraged over revelations that the IRS has been targeting Tea Party groups. Last week, the IRS admitted to giving extra scrutiny to groups applying for non profit status if their applications contained the words “patriot” or “Tea Party.” Calling it an “organizational shortcut,” Lois Lerner, director of the unit which oversees such applications said it was an “error in judgement” and inappropriate, reports ABC News.

Conservatives and tea party group members, however, did not exactly take to the apology. “It was so pronounced around the country that it was obvious that the Tea Party groups were being targeted,” Tea Party Express founder Sal Russo told ABC News. Jackie Bodnar, spokeswoman for the group FreedomWorks told ABC:

“We appreciate that the IRS acknowledged and apologized, but the real question is, how do we make sure that this never happens again? All Americans, regardless of their philosophical beliefs, should be treated equally under the laws of the land.”

This week, President Obama expressed “outrage” over the targeting of such groups from the IRS. “I’ve got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it. And we’ll make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this,” he told reporters at a press conference. The New York Daily News reports two Senate committees controlled by Democrats announced investigations on Monday and House Republicans said they would investigate as well. According to CNN, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said “We need to know who knew what, and exactly what mistakes were made. The American people have questions for the IRS and I intend to get answers.”

While it’s certainly troubling (and not surprising) that the IRS would be investigating and scrutinizing certain groups with a political agenda more than others, the “outrage” from politicians of all political stripes is nearly laughable when placed in the larger context of law enforcement targeting other political and activist groups. Just a few of many instances where law enforcement has targeted the left:

  • In 2010, the FBI raided eight addresses of homes belonging to anti-war activists in Minnesota and Chicago. Investigators were reportedly looking to connect peace activists with groups designated as terrorists in the Middle East and Columbia.
  • Hundreds of pages of documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests show that the Department of Homeland Security monitored, investigated and possibly infiltrated various Occupy movements across the country since the first Occupy Wall Street protests began.
  • In Chicago, the Chicago Police Department used two infiltrators to incite and entrap a group of activists now known as the NATO5, who have been in prison awaiting trial for a year on charges related to terrorism.
  • In the Pacific Northwest, the FBI raided homes and issued grand jury subpoenas for people and groups linked to anarchism. Search warrants issued show that agents were looking for things as simple as anarchist literature, backpacks, and black clothing.

The list could go on. The bigger question however, remains: Where is the outrage over law enforcement groups like the FBI and DHS targeting peace, environmental, occupy and other activists? Where are the calls for investigation of law enforcement monitoring and infiltrating left-leaning groups?

The double standard is maddening, and the silence from politicians, deafening.

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