IRS “scandal”: Rachel Maddow & Dan Rather discuss (video)

Rachel Maddow discusses the new IRS “scandal,” in which the IRS supposedly was singling out Tea Party groups and not approving, or at least delaying, their tax-exempt status.

Rachel notes that Nixon famously used the IRS to go after political opponents, that George Bush used the IRS to go after a liberal church and the NAACP.

Rachel-Maddow-interviewing-Dan-Rather-about-IRS-ScandalSo, as the natural next question, Rachel talks to Dan Rather about how this “scandal” relates to previous uses of the IRS to go after political opponents.

Rather notes that during the Nixon administration, it was the president himself who told the IRS to go after these people and organizations. There is no evidence that that’s the case here – here it appears to be relatively low-level employees involved.  But, rather still thinks there has to be an investigation to get to the bottom of this.

Dan-Rather-on-Rachel-Maddow
And that is why I like liberals, and really can’t stomach conservatives. Pick your Dan Rather of the right, in terms of their ideological gravitas – Breitbart, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, or even anyone at Fox News (if you want to make this a “journalistic” comparison, even though Fox isn’t journalism) – and ask yourself whether they would call for an investigation of the Bush administration for going after ACORN or the NAAACP? For using government agencies to go after Valerie Plame?

Never gonna happen.

It’s not about eating our own. It’s about having the conscience of our convictions, about actually believing what we believe. And defending those beliefs even when “our guy” is in power.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Dean

    “And that is why I like liberals, and really can’t stomach conservatives.
    Pick your Dan Rather of the right, in terms of their ideological
    gravitas … and ask yourself whether they would call for an
    investigation of the Bush administration for going after ACORN[?]” Now that’s freakin hilarious. Rachel Maddow didn’t call for an investigation. Only Rather did. Maddow was using an “every president does it” defense. The token Democrat (JFK) followed by example after example of Republicans. No spin there, right? Nobody at MSNBC would ever call for an investigation of the Obama Administration. He’s their political Messiah.

  • http://twitter.com/JamesRickyJR JR

    Why does anyone even listen to Dan Rather? Least we forget that this was the man who knowingly and willfully lied about G.W. Bush and was ultimately forced to resign as anchor.

    On top of that it actually sounds like Rachel is suggesting that this kind of thing has always gone on so lets just accept it and move on.

  • Naja pallida

    Well, I’ll give you credit for being half right. The IRS was founded after Teddy Roosevelt, but he did push for an income tax, estate tax, and excise taxes – making a pretty impressive use of taxation (and threat of it) as a partisan political tool. His taxation changes, and what he wanted to do, led directly to his successor proposing the Sixteenth Amendment. The IRS itself was founded after the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified, and the first form with “Internal Revenue Bureau” on it dates to 1913, though it did change it’s name to Internal Revenue Service in the 1950s. The agency has changed and reorganized as our tax system has changed, but it’s served much the same general purpose, and throughout its history it has been used as a political tool, as taxation has in general.

  • sceptic126

    ummmm Teddy Roosevelt died died January 6th 1919 the IRS was founded July 9, 1953. Your telling me Teddy came back from the dead to use the IRS against robber barons?

  • Naja pallida

    Geep! Geep!

  • Naja pallida

    It is always disturbing to think of what could have been if it wasn’t for nut jobs with absurd political motives.

  • Naja pallida

    It’s not even the political criminals and racketeers, though that is obviously the biggest part of it… but even non-profit groups like the Humane Society of the United States. Ostensibly an animal welfare group, but due to the IRS ignoring the legal requirements for non-profit status, has basically become little more than a legitimized lobbying arm for PETA. Just like the NRA, which was founded upon being a social welfare group with the intention of promoting sport shooting and hunting safety, but instead has morphed into the tax-exempt lobbying arm for the arms manufacturing industry, while the IRS jerks off in the corner, abdicating their responsibility for fear of seeming partisan.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Papa Bear

    baaaaaaaaaa…
    8-O

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Papa Bear

    You mean someone like RFK who kept getting into trouble for going after the Mob and other friends of Hoover’s?

    No, wait, he never got to be president, did he? I wonder why….
    :-(

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I suppose political criminals and racketeers are considered worthy of social welfare, being a minority and all.

  • Naja pallida

    You can go all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt, who used the IRS as a tool to go after the robber barons. I’d bet you could go even further back… tax collectors have always been a tool of the existing administration, even before they became a bureaucratic nightmare of zombie pencil pushers.

  • Naja pallida

    The law is so ambiguous, and has loopholes you could drive a 747 through. There was a time though, that social welfare groups actually supported social welfare. But due to a lack of the IRS doing it’s due diligence in investigating these groups, precisely for fear of labeled as partisan, the political pressure group cancer has metastasized within the non-profit sector.

  • Naja pallida

    And now that those powers have been entrenched and accepted by Congress, instead of investigated and prosecuted. Each successive President will be worse than the one before, regardless of party. Until we get a President who decides that the law is more important than his ability to do whatever he wants, we’re screwed.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I think the real question is how and when the IRS became a tool for political thuggery. (Or re-became, given Nixon’s shenanigans which supposedly led to reforms to stop the abuse.)

    Then of course comes the follow-up, which is whether we’re ever going to deal with our own government’s rampant law-breaking or are we going to continue being sheep?

  • Clevelandchick

    I think what’s being lost in the analysis is that Citizens United created this mess for the IRS to figure out in the first place. So, where would you go looking to try and figure out who is legit and who isn’t? The group of people, conservatives/tea party connected groups, who actually fought FOR the ability to create these dark money PACS or just randomly any group? You look for smoke where the fire originates.

    Progressive/liberal groups fought against the CU decision and have been trying to find a way to un-do it. Their political opposites are largely the group scrambling to form these dark money PACS. It’s not targeting to investigate the obvious source. It’s common sense.

    I don’t think the IRS employees were attempting to politically target anyone, I think they were trying to do their jobs after this clusterfuck was handed to them by SCOTUS.

  • ezpz

    I agree that Obama is indeed worse than Nixon. At least Nixon created the EPA – only for Obama to corrupt that one too..

  • Ford Prefect

    It’s just a shame that few complain when “liberal groups” are targeted. Still, add this in with the war on whistleblowers, running a de facto corporate protection racket out of the oval office (and DOJ), prosecuting 83-year old nuns instead of real criminals and the current AP witch hunt… yeah, Obama is worse than Nixon. Back in Nixon’s day, the Cambodian invasion and bombing were unpopular. Today? No problem!

    Why? Because if you read Nixon’s articles of impeachment, you’ll notice that no one would be impeached for any of that today. So everyone is free to be “worse than Nixon.” Bush got pass, Obama gets a pass and his successor will get a pass.

  • ezpz

    So the defense is Nixon was worse and Bush did it too?
    Oh, and let’s throw in some “where was the outrage from the other side when THEY did it?” just for good measure.
    Seriously? Wow.

  • indigo

    It isn’t a scadal unless your own ox is gored.

  • nicho

    Everybody — and I mean everybody — is missing the real point here. The real scandal is that political pressure groups are getting tax-exempt status. WTF?

  • mgardener

    And that is why I am a liberal. I will stand up and be responsible for my actions.

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