At yesterday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the IRS, six conservative groups — five Tea Party organizations and NOM, the National Organization For Marriage — played the victim. The Tea Party groups were angry because the IRS actually dared to investigate and make sure they weren’t scamming the system. A tax exemption is not a right, it’s a privilege, and most of the Tea Party groups claiming they are promoting “social welfare” — which the laws says has to be your primary purpose for the tax-exemption — are lying.
Some Democratic Congressmen, not that the mainstream media has bothered to report — actually challenged the “victims” at yesterday’ hearing.
But Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington state, wasn’t going to play any games:
“But as I listen to this discussion, I’d like to remind everyone what we are talking about here,” Rep. McDermott told the “victims.” “None of your organizations were kept from organizing or silenced. We are talking about whether or not the American taxpayers would subsidize your work. We are talking about a tax break.”
“Each of your groups is highly political,” McDermott continued. “From opposing the President’s healthcare reform, to abortion restrictions, to gay marriage, you’re all entrenched in some of the most controversial political issues in this country – and with your applications you are asking the American public to pay for that work. Many of you host and endorse candidates. The line between permitted political activity and non-permitted political activity can be very fine, and it’s important that tax payers know which side you fall on.”
NOM’s victim-playing did not go unaddressed either.
In an op-ed at the Huffington Post published after he participated in yesterday’s hearing, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon, continued to take John C. Eastman, Chairman of NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, to task:
Let’s get real and stop the charade about what a ‘social welfare’ organization is.
Last year, internal National Organization for Marriage (NOM) strategy documents were leaked, stating that the organization seeks “to drive a wedge between gays and blacks” by promoting “African American spokespeople for marriage,” thus provoking same-sex marriage supporters into “denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots,” and “to interrupt the assimilation” of Latinos into “dominant Anglo culture” by making the stance against same-sex marriage “a key badge of Latino identity.”
Does this sound like social welfare to you?
Social welfare organizations should work in the public interest — not to divide, exploit, and conquer.
When I brought this up at the hearing today, Dr. Eastman, Chairman of the Board of NOM, angrily groused, “To say that defending traditional marriage doesn’t qualify for defense of the public good is beyond preposterous.”
To Dr. Eastman, I say that it is the denial of my constituents, and all Americans, the right to marry the person they love that is preposterous. To exploit racial and religious differences so you can fundraise for and enforce your specific worldview is preposterous.
One last note.
I know I will make no friends among my progressive colleagues by stating this, but my responsibility is to my readers, to reporting the truth, and to moving the progressive agenda forward with facts.
I’m extremely disappointed in some larger left-leaning news organizations and their associated bloggers, and others with major platforms for not covering yesterday’s hearings better. Some didn’t cover it at all, some just pointed to the same two-minute seven second video of Eastman responding with rhetoric to Rep. Earl Blumenaur. Not all of us have the resources that some well-funded groups do. Most of these groups in the past have done an excellent job covering the lies and twisted tales the right weaves daily.
That is no longer the case.
If you don’t think the progressive news media has grown complacent, try this.
Go to YouTube and search for “IRS,” or “IRS hearing,” or anything else related.
You will find hundreds of copies of selectively-edited videos, with titles that clearly show they were uploaded by right wing Tea Party supporters.
There are (almost) none from the left.
(And thanks to The Raw Story for the above video and transcript, and for being one of the few outlets to actually report on the critical parts of the hearing, and not from a right-wing false point of view.)
I watched a good portion of yesterday’s hearing — in fact, I was, to the best of my knowledge, the first blogger to tip off the rest of the liberal media that there was a hearing scheduled for yesterday.
Rep. Charlie Rangel executed a superb, eloquent take-down of NOM’s chairman.
I’d like to see that video — other than in a non-embeddable C-SPAN version.
If someone can find it I’ll add it here.
The New Civil Rights Movement doesn’t get any funding, we don’t have any resources other than a laptop, our smarts, and our occasional wit.
Progressives are getting lazy and complacent, as I noted last week in “To The LGBT And Progressive Communities On Our ‘Loss’ In The Illinois Marriage Fight.”
Time to get back to work.
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