The Continuing Agonies of the Super-Rich

As we well know by now, being rich in America is tough. Imagine driving your Porsche out the Goldman Sachs garage, intent on a relaxing weekend at your Hamptons retreat, only to find some wretched Occupy sympathizer giving you a dirty look through the haze of patchouli and resentment that surrounds him. Who could endure it? No wonder they keep comparing their fearful existence to that of the Jews of late-1930s Germany.

But now, according to the Washington Examiner, America's plutocrats have a new worry:

Democratic super PACs have outraised their Republican counterparts by millions, a factor attributed in part to GOP donors' fear of being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service—or "getting Koch'ed."

Republican political operatives concede that there are multiple reasons for the Democrats' advantage in super PAC money raised.

Among them: Labor unions have become among their largest and most consistent donors. But this election cycle, two new challenges have chilled GOP super PACs' effort to raise cash from wealthy individuals and corporate donors: anxiety that they could get slapped with an IRS audit and unease that donating could lead to public demonization.

Not to let facts intrude on their paranoid fantasies, but let's not forget what the IRS scandalette actually involved. There's never been any credible allegation that anyone was audited because of their political beliefs. There's never been any allegation that the IRS "targeted" donors to Republican super PACs. The worst thing that happened was that some Tea Party groups that had applied for 501(c)(4) status—claiming, utterly falsely, that they were charitable, non-political organizations, I might add—had to wait longer than they should have to get approval on their applications. (And, I have to repeat, when you're waiting for your approval, you're permitted under the law to act as though you've gotten your approval. You can raise and spend money, which they did.)

On the second point, I suppose one might be concerned that Harry Reid would go to the Senate floor and denounce you for undermining our democracy with your donations, even if those donations are perfectly legal. But in order for that to happen, you're really going to have to get into the first rank of donors. A couple hundred thousand dollars isn't going to do it; in order to be "demonized," your contributions are going to have to reach at least eight figures.

Nevertheless, I'm sure it's unpleasant for the Kochs to get criticized by politicians. But being criticized—even vigorously, and even sometimes unfairly—is the price you pay for certain choices you make. If you decide to do anything that puts your efforts in front of the public—running for office, becoming an actor, or being a writer, among other things—people who don't like that work are going to tell you so. They may even say rude things, like "You're an idiot" or "You suck," or whatever other insults their limited creativity can produce. People track me down to tell me things like that all the time. It certainly isn't fun to hear, but since I've chosen a profession where my work is public, it's just part of the deal.

Spending large amounts of money on politics is both a right and a privilege. Some rights, like the right to practice your religion, are available to everyone. The right to spend significant political money is technically available to everyone, but in practice is only open to those who have large amounts of money to spend. In the same way, Lebron James and I are both free to dunk basketballs, but because the cruel genetic lottery left me a couple of ticks under six feet, I can't actually exercise that freedom.

Obviously, the IRS shouldn't audit anyone because of their political beliefs, and fortunately, we have no reason to think it does. Part of me suspects that a lot of conservative donors are using the fear of "demonization" and audits as an excuse to brush off requests for contributions, since once you become a big donor, you're going to get besieged by candidates and organizations asking you for money. But if super-rich conservatives are sincerely afraid of the fallout from giving, they have two choices: they can make contributions that don't put them quite on par with the Kochs, and thereby be ignored, or they can just decide to suffer the slings and arrows bravely in the cause of liberty. It's up to them.

Comments

There is rock-solid evidence of the IRS auditing someone and here it is:

We applied for nonprofit C-3 status early in 2010:
Since that time the IRS has run us through a gauntlet of analysts and hundreds of questions over and over again. They’ve requested to see each and every tweet I’ve ever tweeted or Facebook post I’ve ever posted. They also asked to know every place I’ve ever spoken since our inception and to whom, and everywhere I intend to speak in the future.

As Breitbart News also reported, True the Vote's application for tax-exempt status started the left's war on Engelbrecht and her organization and also "triggered aggressive audits of one of her family’s personal businesses as well." Engelbrecht's business had never been visited by the federal government before:

The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) began a series of inquiries about her and her group; the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) began demanding to see her family's firearms in surprise audits of her and her husband’s small gun dealership – which had done less than $200 in sales; OSHA (Occupational Safety Hazards Administration) began a surprise audit of their small family manufacturing business; and the EPA-affiliated TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environment Quality) did a surprise visit and audit due to “a complaint being called in.”

( http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/02/06/True-the-Vote-Founder-on-IRS-I-Was-Targeted-Because-of-My-Political-Beliefs )

You want more? Here you go:

Veuger writes: “It is a well-known fact that the Tea Party movement dealt the president his famous “shellacking” in the 2010 midterm election. Less well-known is the actual number of votes this new movement delivered—and the continuing effects these votes could have had in 2012 had the movement not been demobilized by the IRS.”

The research paper Veurger and his colleagues have put out notes that, in Veuger’s words, “the Tea Party movement’s huge success [in 2010] was not the result of a few days of work by an elected official or two, but involved activists all over the country who spent the year and a half leading up to the midterm elections volunteering, organizing, donating, and rallying. Much of these grassroots activities were centered around 501(c)4s, which according to our research were an important component of the Tea Party movement and its rise.”

More: “The bottom line is that the Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes—more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012. The data show that had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5-8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.” ( http://blogs.wsj.com/peggynoonan/2013/06/21/where-was-the-tea-party/ )

So, you may start telling the truth at any time.

Atlas Shrugged was supposed to be a warning, Not A Newspaper!

501 c-(4) organizations are not supposed to do more than 1/2 their business on political activism and are not to take direction from particular candidates. What did you the rest of the time? That may be why you were audited.

Can you give me proof that does not come from a right winger! We finally god the facts on the IRS investigation of the NAACP and ACORN! Not to mention two elections where the Tea Party's efforts on intimidation did not work!
I think most Tea Partiers fear the Beauty Shop Voters, the Soul To The Polls folks! We have more than "data" to prove what happens when we get riled!

Most wealthy people are financially astute and involved in business of one kind or another. They know a good brand when they see one and they know a bad brand. They can see that the Republican brand has been tarnished by the crazy wing of the party. Are they really going to give away millions of dollars just to lose again? Why would they do that?

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