Lois Lerner Claims the IRS Did Nothing Wrong. The Data Say Otherwise.

A look at who the IRS has been targeting


Who is the IRS targeting?
reason infographic

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  1. Given that 83% of the people who pay taxes are right-leaning, isn’t this a representative sample of the country?

    1. Do you have a link for that?

      1. Nah, I was making fun of the lefties by implying that they weren’t employable enough to make enough money to tax.

    2. But we’re talking about tax-exempt organizations.

      Speaking of representative sample, what were the percentage of applications in each group? It would help get a better idea of how disparate this was.

      Anyone have a link to the report?

      1. That would be relevant to the top part of the chart (number of apps challenged).

        It wouldn’t explain the bottom part (greater scrutiny, fewer apps approved).

        1. Right, the bottom is pretty clear evidence of bias, and I doubt the top part is explainable solely through differing numbers of applications.

          I just like looking at the raw numbers to understand context.

    3. I would argue that everyone who files a return pays taxes. Taking someones money that they could invest in something else up front interest free is a tax in itself.

      1. I would argue anybody that has SS and MC deducted from their paycheck pays taxes (unless their EIC exceeds SS and MC). Just because it isn’t on a line of the 1040 doesn’t mean it isn’t income tax.

        1. I would concur with that argument.

        2. True, they pay taxes, but what about income tax? Even many who have it deducted get it back, essentially giving the Fed an interest free loan.

        3. And somewhere between 12 and 20% of filers fit this bill. After EITC, they have “zero or negative tax liability” even after payroll taxes are considered.

          I find that when people say someone “doesn’t pay taxes” they mean federal income taxes and would clarify their intent if pressed.

          Of course everyone pays local/state sales taxes (unless you’re lucky enough to live where there are none).

          And for FICA taxes, they at least uphold the facade that they are paying into the SS and Medicare system so that they can take out later.

      2. I file a return and I don’t pay taxes. Actually, with an income technically below the poverty level and having a wife and three kids, I’m way in the negative on the tax rate. We get almost a 10k return every year, and pay probably 2.5k in taxes.

        As a Libertarian I feel kinda guilty, but the system is mandatory, and there’s the fact that the government raises the price of all goods I consume through other taxes and regulations anyway, so there’s no telling how much higher my standard of living would be if it weren’t for the government helping me so much.

  2. See? And you don’t hear the leftists making a big deal out of their slice of the scrutiny pie, do you?

  3. Who killed the Kennedys?

    1. When after all
      It was you and me
      (Who who, who who).
      But what’s confusing you
      Is just the nature of my game

  4. Fake infographic

    1. Phony comment.

  5. If anybody could or would do anything to bring justice to this, I might care.

  6. Nails on chalkboard. “The data SAY…” Data is plural unless you’re a toothless sister-banging hick from West Virginia.

    1. +1 datum

    2. Maybe it’s a Star Trek reference.

    3. Data is plural

      Shouldn’t that be “Data are plural”? 😉

      1. No. The word itself is singular, the data are not.

        1. Datas.

        2. It’s been my custom to treat “data” like an unquantifiable noun i.e. ‘water’ or ‘grain’. With that approach I can’t go wrong, even if I’m wrong.

      2. Howsabout “Data be plural”. Bitchez.

    4. That sounds seriously awful though. Have you no sense of aesthetics, man?!

      Also, the Oxford English Dictionary seems to think that both are acceptable:

      (1) In scientific, philosophical, and general use, this word is usually considered to denote a number of items and is thus treated as plural with datum as the singular. (2) In computing and allied subjects ( and sometimes in general use ), it is treated as a mass ( or collective ) noun and used with words like this , that and much, with singular verbs. e.g. useful data has been collected. Some people consider use (2) to be incorrect but it is more common than use (1). However, data is not a singular countable noun and cannot be preceded by a, every, each, or neither, or be given a plural form datas

      But that book might be written by Appalachian incest enthusiasts, for all I know.

      1. Limeys are catering to the ignorami.

  7. Nit picky question: Shouldn’t that be “The Data SAY Otherwise”, as “data” is plural but “datum” is singular?

    1. I fixed it. Thanks!

  8. Goddamit, sorry Old man with candy…

    1. So you’re making a reference to the blind guy on Star Trek.

      1. Stevie Wonder was playing a different character than ‘Data’ who is essentially an android analog to Spock.

        1. But Monty Crisco just admitted he hadn’t seen Old Man With Candy’s post.


          1. To be fair, I was only 1 minute ahead of him, so it’s not likely he could have seen mine before he thoughtlessly and carelessly clicked “SUBMIT.”

  9. Of all the shit this administration has done, I think using the IRS to target the opposition has been about the worst thing that could happen. It sets a precedent so bad, historians will look back on it as one of the key turning points towards the totalitarian state that must surely follow.

    1. Historians maybe. The general population will latch onto some superficial characteristic of the first obvious strongman, and blame everything on that.

      Who remembers Paul von Hindenburg and Article 48, even in Germany?

      1. Residents of La Crescenta, CA remember Paul von Hindenburg.

        The people of Lakehurst, NJ, might have some clue who he is, too?

  10. Hi Jason and Emily,

    So I should be concerned about the IRS doing its job in making sure “charitable groups” aren’t really front groups for political activities? What if right-wing groups are investigated more because they engage in more political activity as surrogates for corporate political interests? Shrugs. As someone who doesn’t want money in politics at all I say we double her salary.

    If ayn rand’s political ideas are so great why do they need so much corporate money to disseminate them? People actively seek out Marx and Guevara shirts on their own volition. I’ve yet to see a “Fountainhead” shirt around. Why?

    1. amsoc reliably misses the point, which isn’t that the IRS is scrutinizing applications, but that they are doing so with a political bias. One confirmed/revealed in emails, BTW.

      What if right-wing groups are investigated more because they engage in more political activity as surrogates for corporate political interests?

      Even if this is true, so what? Its perfectly legal, if the group is organized and structured correctly (which isn’t hard to do at all).

    2. I guessing you don’t mind how how Barrack Obama’s entire campaign apparatus became a pac the second he was elected and got green lit right away that’s okay but those pesky conservatives need extra scrutiny.

    3. What if right-wing groups are investigated more because they engage in more political activity as surrogates for corporate political interests?

      Actually, the biggest user of this particular corporate form are the PIRGs. Why do I suspect you’ll be crying like a stuck pig when a President Gingrich or a President Santorum decides they’re a worthy target of scrutiny.

      The devil just hasn’t yet turned ’round on you.

    4. I noticed you completed ignored the data breakout indicating that conservative groups were also subject to more intensive scrutiny as well.

      And people like you seek out Guevara shirts because they’re hipster douchenozzles that are completely ignorant to the fact that the guy emblazoned on their pre-faded “vintage” attire also had people lined up and shot for being gay.

      1. He is worse than that. From his blog:

        I am a working class, self-taught, unrepentant Marxist-Leninist…

        He makes those people to whom you refer appear intelligent.

        1. That’s not my blog. That’s my middle finger pointed at people on this website who say I support mass- murderers.

          1. How do libertarians support mass murder? Is it by advocating the non-aggression principle?

          2. You do support mass murderers, if you describe yourself as Marxist-Leninist. Mass murder is inseparable from that economic philosophy.

            Just because you’re too stupid to figure out that you support a philosophy of mass murder doesn’t change that you still support a philosophy of mass murder. Fuck you if you don’t like it…take your little bitch feelings to another website if we’ve hurt them that badly.

            1. “Mass murder is inseparable from that economic philosophy.”

              There’s no need to get that esoteric. Lenin was a mass murderer.

              “To that effect, among other acts, at Moscow, execution lists signed by Lenin authorised the shooting of 25 former ministers, civil servants, and 765 White Guards in September 1918. Most historians concur that Lenin ordered the execution of the Russian Royal Family.

              The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and the reactionary bourgeoisie that we succeed in shooting on this occasion, the better” As a result of this letter, historian Orlando Figes estimates that perhaps 8,000 priests and laymen were executed. And the crushing of the revolts in Kronstadt and Tambov in 1921 resulted in tens of thousands[clarify][quantify] of executions.[199] Estimates for the total number of people killed in the Red Terror range from 50,000 to over a million.


              1. To put his murders in perspective, the Czarist government that preceded him executed about 650 people in the previous hundred years. The Bolsheviks were executing 20,000 per month.

              2. You’re correct, of course. Although being that esoteric also includes the millions who died during the Great Leap Forward and other communist/socialist-caused famines in the discussion.

                It just depends on whether you want to focus on Russia itself or expand it to socialism’s long history of mass murder. I choose to blame people like american socialist for enabling the entire history of communist/socialist-led mass murder…because that’s what he does.

          3. “That’s my middle finger pointed at people on this website who say I support mass- murderers.”

            “I am a working class, self-taught, unrepentant Marxist-Leninist…”

            So, you are shooting them the bird and declaring that you do indeed support mass-murders? Well, aren’t you special.

          4. You do support mass murders.

    5. “People actively seek out Marx and Guevara shirts on their own volition. I’ve yet to see a “Fountainhead” shirt around. Why?”

      Oh! Oh! I know!

      Because leftist morons are more closely aligned with communist mass-murderers than libertarians are with literary works of fiction?

      1. Hey, now, Marx didn’t kill people. OTOH, people don’t usually put his face on shirts, so you both lose.

      2. I’ve never seen a Marx shirt that wasn’t Groucho. I’ve seen tons of Mao shirts though.

        You know what? I think you’re onto something Anon – leftists reveal their love of power and the ability to kill and destroy through their t-shirt preferences.

        They’re literally wearing their hidden desire to eliminate disagreement with mass violence on their sleeves.

    6. Don’t you have to go dig and prepare graves somewhere?

    7. Those who subscribe to the philosophies of Ayn Rand can afford to wear nicer clothes than t shirts.

      1. Funny, but there is some truth in that.

        I’ve had half a dozen Randian t-shirts in my life. But once I left school, I only wore them as pajamas or at the gym.

    8. american socialist|9.23.14 @ 11:32AM|#
      “Hi Jason and Emily,”

      Hi, dipshit.

    9. If Marx’s political ideas were so great, why did he need so much Ermen & Engels money to disseminate them?

      1. If Marx’s political ideas were so great, why are they usually imposed and maintained at gunpoint? Funny how something that claims to care about the average man causes so many of them to become refugees.

      2. I wonder if all that cotton they were spinning in the mid 1800s were picked by slaves in the new world?

        Could it be that Marxism was spread using slaver money?

    10. First, you’re a raving lunatic.

      But as to your last question, from personal experience, I learned all about Marx and Che in high school and college, but was never exposed to Rand, or anything resembling Libertarian philosophy, in school. I didn’t know of the existence of either until after I entered my post-education life.

    11. By the way, note the change in the Talking Point from “no bias existed” to “so what if bias existed, those teabagging koch suckers deserved it”. Oh and “Ayn Rand” for good measure.

      I wonder how many of these lefty trolls are just algorithms that are programmed to spew out the same tired stuff, because I never see anything new from them.

      1. I think these trolls are made of meat but the rest of your comment still applies. How else can one describe a group that champions the failed ideas and policies of the past and calls themselves progressive?

    12. So why has this communst cunt being lying about shit and dragging her feet all this tie?

      Also, Fuck off slaver.

    13. Ah, the argumentum ad t-shirtem. Classic.

    14. And if Ayn Rand is such a great thinker, why does Capital have more pages than Atlas Shrugged? Huh?

    15. People actively seek out Marx and Guevara shirts on their own volition. I’ve yet to see a “Fountainhead” shirt around. Why?

      Not that I’m a Rand fan but perhaps its because leftists don’t know how to read anything more complicated than a T-shirt slogan and wearing a T-shirt is the near-perfect act of collectivist conformity?

    16. american socialist|9.23.14 @ 11:32AM|#
      “If ayn rand’s political ideas are so great why do they need so much corporate money to disseminate them?”

      Because, you slimy piece of shit, no one is using government thugs to steal money to promote the message.
      And, you slimy piece of shit, no one is killing millions of innocents to promote that message, unlike you preferred dictators.

  11. Just in the interests of logic and whatnot, there is another relevant infographic — an identical breakdown of the applications that were not delayed. Because if 80% of the overall applications were right-leaning, it doesn’t tell us much.

    Ideally you would have two additional charts, one for accepted applications and one for rejected applications.

    1. if 80% of the overall applications were right-leaning, it doesn’t tell us much.

      The bottom part does. And what it tells us is that conservative groups got more scrutiny and rejections.

      Now, if you want to do a deep dive and audit each of those apps, go right ahead. But I’ve seen enough, myself, especially because the few emails that have leaked out refer specifically to targeting conservative groups.…../?page=all

      1. The bottom chart may tell us that there was bias, but it doesn’t technically show that delays were a means of effecting that bias unless we see the other breakdowns.

        1. I’m pretty comfortable concluding (a) the IRS was overtly biased against conservatives (see, e.g., the emails), (b) that bias was carried out (see, the chart on denials and scrutiny), and (c) that a bureaucracy implementing a bias against a certain group will use the bureaucrat’s favorite tool, delay.

          This is the fucking IRS. They don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

          1. Wait, was this chart intended to persuade you and me? I would have imagined it was for people who weren’t already convinced something shady was going on by the mysterious failure of 7+ hard drives within a month of the start of a Congressional investigation.

  12. I think focusing on the delays misses the point!

    What were the delays caused by? The IRS demanding things like donor lists and minutes of meetings and the like.

    The question should be why the IRS is asking for that information? What were they doing with it? Where they passing it on to other departments within the government? Were they passing it on to outside parties, such as certain political campaigns or activist NGO’s?

    1. The IRS asked for such information to determine whether the groups actually met the legal qualification for tax-exempt non-profit status. If a group’s primary purpose is political advocacy, they do not meet the legal requirements under section 501(c)4 of the tax code.

  13. Just so you guys know the law…

    “On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.” section on 501(c) organizations

    I’ll be sure to tell my local Tea Party organization at their next meeting when she says that “we all need to get out there and support people like Tom McClintock”

    I’m thinking of forming my own charitable group, SocialistWorks. The goal is to promote the political advancement of socialists in the U.s. Senate. You guys got my back?

    1. Yep. And that rule was vigorously enforced against Media Matters and other left wing whacko groups, right? LOL.…..ty-Suffers…..cized-irs/

      What american socialist doesn’t understand (among many other things) is that the laws are supposed to be enforced uniformly.

      1. What american socialist doesn’t understand (among many other things) is that the laws are supposed to be enforced uniformly.

        Unless, of course, one subscribes to the “some animals are more equal than others” philosophy, which is a cornerstone of socialism.

      2. Despite what the liars at Human Events claim, liberal groups were the ONLY ones to be DENIED tax-exempt status by the IRS. Not even a single conservative group suffered that fate.

        1. Then you should be all for Congress crawling up Lois Lerner’s ass with cross-examination.

    2. american socialist|9.23.14 @ 12:39PM|#
      “Just so you guys know the law…”

      Hi, dipshit.

    3. ‘m thinking of forming my own charitable group, SocialistWorks. The goal is to promote the political advancement of socialists in the U.s. Senate. You guys got my back?

      Sure, but I doubt you need my support. The IRS wasn’t targeting “people who get involved in politics”, it was targeting “conservatives who get involved in politics”, so you should be fine.

    4. Haha…socialist”works.”

    5. You socialists are the reason that the IRS even attempting to break ‘donor anonymity’ is a violation of the law.

      Ever since 1974, the Socialist Workers Party has been exempt from filing donor information or being required to answer questions about donors. Specifically because the SWP argued that they were a controversial group and that donors, if known, would potentially be subject to harassment and discrimination. An exemption that has now been extended through to at least 2016.

      It is completely unsurprising that you sacks of socialist shit are now pretending that only you should have special privileges and bureaucratic protections. Hell, you all have been the pigs on Animal Farm since forever – and you pigs still don’t even realize that everyone else knows your game (and has known it since Animal Farm was written).

      1. From the quality of his posts, I think he’s more of a sheep than a pig.

    6. That’s for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations, to which donations are tax-deductible and are generally considered “charities”.

      That rule does not apply to 501(c)(4) organizations, which are tax-exempt, but to which donations are *not* deductible.

      Taxing a 501(c)(4) would be double-taxation, for one thing. Virtually all funding for 501(c)(4) comes from donors who have paid taxes on the money already (since it’s not deductible). These “corporations” generally have no other source of income.

    7. To be tax-exempt as a social welfare organization described in Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 501(c)(4), an organization must not be organized for profit and must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare. The earnings of a section 501(c)(4) organization may not inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

      Seeking legislation germane to the organization’s programs is a permissible means of attaining social welfare purposes. Thus, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may further its exempt purposes through lobbying as its primary activity without jeopardizing its exempt status.

      The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity.

      I’m *sure* that, which is a 501(c)(4) did not advocate on behalf of or opposition to any candidate for public office in excess of it’s *primary* activity…what is’s *primary* activity again, anyone? Anyone?

  14. Thanks Jason and Emily for providing this graphic.

  15. “83% right leaning organizations”

    Duh, because they’re all in bed with corporations, which makes them profit-lovers, not non-profits. They deserve scrutiny! /prog justification

    1. Blah blah they’re all in bed with blah blah capitalism is stupid blah blah give me my entitlements blah blah I suck at life, had too many kids too young and am stuck working at mcdonalds for minimum wage blah blah obamas awesome blah blah mouth vomit vomit vomit vomit vomit

      1. The irony, of course, completely lost on you guys that this entire thing is about conservative organizations wanting free shit from the government and whining when someone dares question their entitlement to it.

        1. No, the irony is that if we were looking at any data and replaced “liberal” with “white” and “conservative” with “black/minority”, you’d claim that it’s clearly the evidence of institutional discrimination.

          1. We should just call progs cisideologues, since they’re so privileged.

        2. The irony is that you claim to support equality.

          They weren’t applying for Federal grants dumbass.

          How old were you when your father abandoned you/your family ?

        3. So you don’t even understand what the scandal is about because you don’t even get what the IRS was granting.

          What public school shit you out and called you a graduate? If it wasn’t a public school, your parents got ripped off…which, considering your brainlessness, had to be the easiest con in history.

        4. Tony|9.23.14 @ 4:51PM|#
          “The irony, of course, completely lost on you guys that this entire thing is about conservative organizations wanting free shit from the government”

          The stupidity, of course, is completely lost on the lying asshole Tony.
          Not paying taxes is not ‘wanting free shit’.
          You know that, but without lies, you really have nothing to say.

      2. Schacklenerd is now my favorite commenter.

  16. my friend’s sister makes $74 every hour on the computer . She has been out of work for eight months but last month her payment was $15002 just working on the computer for a few hours. you can try this out……….

  17. That is “the data” as made up by the Republicans in Congress. The claim that only 45% of conservative groups were approved for non-profit status is particularly laughable. The actual figure is 100%. That’s right, not even a single one of the supposedly “targeted” conservative groups was actually denied tax-exempt status. Every last one of them got their applications approved.

    1. This is reason. The absolute height of scholarly integrity here is a small, vague reference to an entire agency or think tank. Usually they just reference other reason articles in a feedback loop of disinformation. Regardless, they can handle the number crunching themselves.

  18. my co-worker’s mom makes $78 hourly on the computer . She has been fired for 6 months but last month her payment was $21331 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit this website ….


  19. Here we have a recent entreaty on the part of Public Citizen, which is a progressive organization structured as a 501(c)(4), which I’m sure didn’t receive any undue IRS scrutiny, who’s current purpose is to fund political advocacy to urge Congress to overturn the right of 501(c)(4) organizations to fund political advocacy.


    Public Citizen does the hard work behind the scenes that helps get good laws passed and bad bills stopped.

    I really don’t know another organization that more skillfully and effectively counteracts the vastly better funded legions of corporate lobbyists that infest the halls of Congress day in and day out.
    And ? most significantly at this moment ? nobody is doing more than Public Citizen to fight the U.S. Supreme Court’s stupid and stupefying decision in the Citizens United case.

    It’s largely owing to Public Citizen that the movement to overturn Citizens United ? and its evil twin McCutcheon v. FEC if it goes badly too ? with a constitutional amendment has taken root so deeply and so quickly.

    In this season of giving, I hope you will join me in making as generous a contribution to Public Citizen as you can.

  20. Recall that the Citizens United case hinged on the fact that a 501(c)(4) corporation produced a movie that had a political purpose, in this case a documentary “Hillary: The Movie” that was intended to highlight Mrs. Clinton’s shortcomings at a time when she was running for president.

    I subscribe to some liberal sites, and as a result get regular emails from them. I recently received an email from Now, is also a 501(c)(4), who’s primary purpose lately seems to be opposing the ruling handed down in the Citizens United case.

    The email from Public Citizen was urging me to donate money to support their production of a documentary that highlights how bad the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United was.

    That’s right: a 501(c)(4) corporation made a movie with the express political purpose of protesting the Supreme Court decision that a 501(c)(4) corporation could make a movie with an express political purpose!

    Quote from the email “Support Public Citizen’s fight against runaway corporate power with a contribution of $40 or more today and get your own copy of “The Story of Citizens United” on DVD.”

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