Applications of pro-Israel groups for tax-exempt status are routinely routed to an antiterrorism unit within the Internal Revenue Service for additional screening, according to the testimony of a Cincinnati-based IRS agent.
Asked by investigators whether “all pro-Israel applicants went to the terrorism unit,” Muthert responded, “Probably . . . foreign activity, pro-Israel — if it is any type of foreign activity, it will go to the antiterrorism area.” Screeners like Muthert must consult the list of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Treasury Department office that enforces economic and trade sanctions, and “the terrorist list . . . because a lot of organizations will create charities to funnel the money to terrorist countries.”
If this is the actual case, then this is not really a bad thing. I have no problems with all groups with foreign activity being at least given the once-over to determine whether or not they’re a front group for Hamas or the IRA or Basque separatists or whatever the current crop of violent foreign causes is this week. There’s a lot of cash in the USA, still, and a lot of people who will give a ‘worthy cause’ some of that cash – and since it’s assumed that tax-exempt groups have been checked out, it behooves the federal government to, well, check things out. Because there is no shortage of shady groups wanting and waiting to take advantage of the situation.
The problem is, of course, that at this point you can’t trust the IRS to not have messed up this vetting procedure, too; which is why we’re going to need to check their work here. …And that’s why you don’t mess up in the first case. Contrary to popular mythology, at the end of the day the IRS exists solely at the sufferance of the American people. The American people are not particularly pleased at the IRS right now; and the politicians that can wreck the IRS’s collective day have duly noted that change in the atmosphere. So the IRS is just going to have to grin and bear it while they get, what’s the word? …ah, yes: audited.