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The Washington Post Quotes Mortimer Caplin: An 'Unthinkable' IRS Scandal? More Like Unavoidable.

May 17, 2013, The Washington Post

The Washington Post quoted Mortimer M. Caplin regarding the predictability of the IRS controversy and how the agency has struggled to regulate political behavior during previous administrations; most notably the Nixon and Kennedy administrations. For the complete article, please visit The Washington Post's website.

Excerpt taken from the article.

In 1961, the IRS established an Ideological Organizations Project to examine the activities of various political groups. The agency took its cue from President John F. Kennedy, who had publicly questioned the activities of conservative nonprofits. "I remember that the president made a speech and I got a call from the White House again," recalled then-Commissioner Mortimer Caplin in his official IRS oral history. "The right-wing organizations were believed to be overstepping their ­tax-exemption bounds."

Caplin understood, however, that the agency couldn't go off on a crusade to take down conservative organizations. "We in the IRS were very careful to try to make a balance," he recalled. "We saw the problem in terms of: If we went running all over right-wing organizations only, we'd be in treacherous administrative waters and would be all over the newspapers the next day." So Caplin added some left-leaning organizations to the project's target list. Whether you consider those additions merely window dressing or a genuine effort at evenhandedness depends on your level of cynicism.


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