IRS Controversy Resonates in D.C. - Multichannel

IRS Controversy Resonates in D.C.

Raises Issues with Some of Government Access to Data, Disclosure of Nonprofits' Political Activity
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The Internal Revenue Service's targeted review of the tax-exempt status of conservative groups, including the Tea Party, has spilled over into broadcast and cable-related issues.

Administration critic and founder of Less Government Seton Motley said the "scandal" was an argument for why the public should be protected from "Big Government" data grabs, which he says include network neutrality regs and their access to the "Internet's spine," the president's cybersecurity executive order.

Elsewhere on the IRS front, the Sunlight Foundation, which has been pushing for more disclosure of campaign finance spending and advertising, blogged that the controversy "should not undermine efforts to lift the veil on groups trying to hide their political activities (and their donors) behind a false claim that they are social welfare organizations."

And finally, Ed Markey (D-Mass.), former chair of the House Communications Subcommittee and a big fan of protecting data privacy, said the controversy deserved further investigation. "Americans want a tax system that is fair and works for everyone," he said. "When it reviews applications for tax-exempt status, the IRS needs to use completely unbiased, neutral analysis without any regard for the political views of the applicants. We need more investigation into this situation, and if any group was unfairly treated by these inappropriate practices, that would be outrageous and unacceptable. This kind of action by the IRS cannot be tolerated and people must be held accountable."