Monday, July 29, 2013

On Saying “Yes” [Katja’s speech to the Contemporary Club*]

Winston (circa 1972)

Dear George,
There are times when saying “yes” to something is really a response to years of having said “no” – a response to an ache, a need, a feeling of emptiness and stillness that permeates the house and calls for one to be reanimated.

In 1986 our beloved Bedlington Terrier, Winston, finally died at the age of 17.  When he died we vowed never to have another animal in our home.  We assessed the damage caused by Winston’s incontinence, his blindness, hearing impairments, even dementia.  Memories of Winston -- careening off walls, bumping into furniture, tripping over water bowls – all reinforced our determination to avoid any future animal presence.  We were exhausted by caring for him, by our worries about his state, and finally by the expenses of his care.  When he died, we started the long road to repairing and replacing floors, carpets, woodwork, and furniture.

As the years went by, our lives underwent changes in concert with the house. Our parents died; shockingly, siblings died at premature ages; old friends died.  Children went off to school and began their lives afresh.  There were new jobs, new careers, new friends, new relationships, new life styles for us.

The house grew more silent, more still.  The damages were repaired and there were no more renovations needed.  We said “no” to any more changes, losses, and grief.

One morning, while glancing over the Saturday newspaper, an advertisement in the “Dogs for Sale” column caught my eye.  A breeder in Hamilton was selling Old English Sheepdogs [OESs].  This was a breed distinguished by its fanciful grooming.  It resembled a gigantic fluffy dandelion with eyes covered by great poofs of teased hair.  Whenever it was shown at the Westminster Kennel Club competition, the breed was described as being a herding dog – loyal, trustworthy, hard-working, non-shedding, friendly, and possessing a bark that would provoke fear in an intruder.

On a whim, I called the breeder and asked if I might come out and take a look at one of these dogs in person.  I also remarked that I was really not interested in purchasing a dog – just looking.  He was amenable.  He mentioned that he had eleven six-week old pups running around and I would get a good look at their various personalities, coloring, body types and sizes.  He said the mother and father of this litter were named Sarah and Abraham – fitting names for parents of such a large litter.

The sight of eleven puppies running freely over and under a porch, along the fencing, up and down the stairs and into the garage where their mother (Sarah) was resting and then out again into the enclosed meadow – all this activity, energy, curiosity, and chaos was life affirming.  It was akin to being thrust into the actual making of a Jackson Pollack painting, and I was caught up in the vitality of life’s own painting.

And so I said “yes” – yes to life and change – yes to loss and grief, and yes to the beauty and joy that the two puppies (yes, two) brought to our lives.

When they were 12 weeks old, Mike and Duffy were introduced to their new home and our new/old home.  A picture of Winston sits on the wall at the entryway.  He is a reminder of the happiness and sadness that come from saying “yes”.

*Katja’s speech to the Contemporary Club on June 3, 2013, members’ task being to describe an occasion when they said “yes” to a suggestion and it changed their lives.

* * *

G-mail Comments
-Vicki L (7-30): Hi David,   Katja's account of saying 'yes' moved me very deeply. So many years after George's passing - I still step so tentatively into the world of re-engagement. The spectre of loss is so daunting. And yet emptiness challenges that pain. It's a great sporting event. Moving toward engagement, I agree, takes backbone and is the 'way to go'. The older I get, the more I gravitate toward old fashioned values like 'courage', 'fortitude', 'true grit', etc: ....I'm so appreciative of your and Katja's accounts of adventuring forward in life 'post retirement'.. (or whatever this phase is called).  Much love to you both. Are you going to Menominee?   Sis
-Linda C (7-29): So lovely, so true, just made me feel happy. (ps I have a cat now)
-Donna D (7-29): as i was reading, i thought, did david write this?  then i thought, sure, he's just using poet license and writing this as if he were really the one who did it.  then i thought, wow, maybe he really does think it was he, not katja, who did this!  then as i kept reading, i thought, well, this doesn't seem to be david's writing style...a bit too something.  i'm not sure he would write, "It was akin to being thrust into the actual making of a Jackson Pollack painting, and I was caught up in the vitality of life’s own painting."  just didn't sound like his writing.  but then i thought, well, he does use other's words sometimes.  anyway, i was puzzled by it all.  then i got to the bottom and, voila!  it was katja's writing!  loved it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Crosley's Innards

Crosley Tower

Dear George,
I’d conservatively estimate that I’ve spent 30,000 hours in Crosley Tower since the Sociology Department moved to the tenth floor there around 1970.  The university administration presented this as a temporary move – for maybe a couple of years, pending the construction of the new social science building.  Now it’s forty plus years later, the new social science building remains on the back burner, and Sociology is still on the well-worn tenth floor.  The faculty weren’t too thrilled with the move from the beginning.  Despite its being the newest building on campus at the time, most observers regarded Crosley as aesthetically unpleasing – sort of like a Middle Ages fortress with parapets at the top designed to pour boiling oil on the huddled masses below.  It was constructed to be a physical science building, but the floors were insufficiently sturdy to hold up the Physics Department’s massive equipment, so they put the lighter weight social sciences there instead (Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, and Political Science) along with Biology and Chemistry.  The architecture seems more attuned to dour physical scientists than to cheery social scientists.  The windows are small and above eye level, the hallways are bleak, there aren’t ready places for people to congregate, and office entrances are set back from the corridor so there’s minimal visual access to office interiors.  The building is insulated with asbestos, so, when it comes time in the not so distant future for its replacement, it can’t be imploded.  Rumor has it they will use giant helicopters to remove one floor at a time.  Despite these quirks, I’ve always had a certain fondness for Crosley Tower.  The offices are larger than those in most buildings on campus, and I think the structure has a certain bold, almost comic book quality.   It’s not only the tallest building on campus, but one of the higher spots in Cincinnati.  

My office (Room 1603A)

After I retired, the Soc Department acquired some extra space on the sixteenth floor, the top floor in Crosley Tower, and the department head graciously offered me an office there to continue my various pursuits.  I was very pleased about that, and I normally go in several afternoons a week.  When I commute between my office on sixteen and the main department offices on ten, I usually forego the elevator and take the interior stairwell up or down.  Aside from occasional visitors to rest rooms there, you rarely encounter anybody going up and down between floors.  It’s a sort of an isolated, eerie place.  At least in my imagination, I figure I spend more time walking up and down on Crosley’s staircases than any other living human being.  One day I took a couple of snapshots of the stairwell, and I decided that it posed an interesting photographic challenge.  It’s such a drab, homogeneous, and  inhospitable environment, yet it has its own peculiar sort of interest as the physical interior of a thoroughly bureaucratic institution – something that alien beings might have designed for humanoids.  Here’s what Crosley’s innards look like, with photos taken at various spots between the basement floor and the roof). 

G-Mail Comments
-Jennifer M (7-26): Nice thoughts and photos of Crosley. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

More Than Six Birthday Lists

Steve and I on my tenth birthday (VAL photo)

Dear George,
Because it’s my birthday, the moment I woke up I was overwhelmed by an urge to get organized.  The first step, of course, is to create lists of important things.  So far I’ve concentrated on lists which are pertinent to birthdays.  I hope they are as helpful to others as they are to me.  

A list of amazing birthday facts

"Happy Birthday", which is the most popular song in the English language, was written in 1893 by Louisville teachers Mildred and Patty Hill.  They adapted it from a song they’d written for kindergarteners called "Good Morning to You."  You rarely hear "Happy Birthday" sung on TV because it's copyrighted and subject to licensing fees (earning about $2 million a year).

The earliest birthday parties in Europe were gatherings held to protect loved ones from evil spirits who were believed to seek out people on their birthdays.

World record for number of birthdays: Jeanne Calment of Arles, France (1875-1997) had 122 birthdays, having died at age 122 years and 164 days.

The least frequent date for birthdays in the U.S.:  December 25.  (Hmm, is that a coincidence?) 

Mathematicians have demonstrated that, if there are 23 people in a room, there's a 50/50 chance that two of them will share the same birthday.  (If 60 people are in the room, the odds go up to 99%.)

Origen (185-254 A.D.), an early Christian theologian, wrote that Christians should not only refrain from celebrating their birthdays, but should view them with disgust. 

North Koreans don't celebrate birthdays on July 8 and Dec. 17 because these were the dates of the deaths of President Kim Il-sung and his son, Supreme Leader Kim Jon-il.  Over 100,000 North Koreans celebrate their birthdays on July 9 or Dec. 18 to avoid these dates. 

In 1996 the Sultan of Brunei spent $27.2 million on the world's most expensive birthday party in order to celebrate his 50th.  Michael Jackson did three concerts at the festivities. 

In the U.S. more people are born on Oct. 5 than any other day.  (Oct. 5 is exactly nine months after New Year's Eve.)

A list of birthdays in my immediate family

Jan. 12             Ami G (sister-in-law; b. 1943, Philadelphia, PA)
Feb. 2              David W (brother-in-law; b. 1944, Philadelphia, PA)
Feb. 24            Vicki L (sister; b. 1947, Menominee, MI) 
Feb. 25            Doris L (mother; b. 1910, Omaha, NB)
Feb. 27            Steven L (brother; b. 1941, Menominee, MI)
Mar. 27            George L (brother-in-law; b. 1944, Cambridge, MA)
Apr. 18            Gayle C L (sister-in-law; b. 1958, Hopelawn, NJ)
May 1              Bruce G (brother-in-law; b. 1939, Bronx, NY) 
June 9              Peter L (brother; b. 1945, Menominee, MI)
June 30            Margie L (sister-in-law; b. 1942, Richmond, VA)
July 21              David L (myself; b. 1937, Menominee, MI)
Sept. 15            KKB (daughter-in-law; b. 1968, Alpena, MI)
Sept. 16            VDL (granddaughter; b. 2008, Thibodeaux, LA)
Sept. 19            JML (son; b. 1969, Cincinnati, OH)
Sept. 30            LSL (grandson; b. 2008, Taiyun, China)
Nov. 22            Faith W L (sister-in-law; b. 1946, Onchiota, NY)
Dec. 9               Katja L (wife; b. 1937, Roanoke, VA)

A list of my favorite birthday quotes
Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.  (Unknown)
Inside every older person is a younger person - wondering what the hell happened.  (Cora Harvey Armstrong)
Looking fifty is great -- if you're sixty.  (Joan Rivers)
If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself.  (Unknown)
Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative.  (Maurice Chevalier)
Age is not important unless you're a cheese.  (Helen Hayes)
Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.  (William Shakespeare)

A list of famous people born in July 1937
7-3-37               Tom Stoppard, Writer
7-5-37               Brooke Hayward, TV and movie actress
7-6-37               Ned Beatty, Movie actor
7-6-37               Gene Chandler, R&B/soul singer
7-12-37             Bill Cosby, Comedian/TV actor
7-18-37              Hunter S Thompson, Author-journalist
7-19-37              George Hamilton IV, Country singer
7-29-37              Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH)
7-31-37              Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY)

A list of some significant birthdays in my life so far:
1946 (age 9): My dad had come back from the war and my friends (e.g., Skipper B., Frankie S., Bill C.) came to the first of my childhood birthday parties at our new house on the Menominee River. 
1953 (age 16): I got my driver’s license, inaugurating a nightly ritual of cruising the loop in the Twin Cities
1955 (age 18): A new high school graduate soon to enter Antioch College, I skipped having a party but was enjoying my final summer living at home.
1960 (age 23):  My birthday was a month after graduating from college and a month before getting married and starting grad school in social psychology at the University of Michigan.
1970 (age 33):  Our infant son J was approaching his own first birthday. 
1977 (age 40): Katja arranged a birthday party for me with 4 or 5 of her beautiful female friends (e.g., Renee, Monique, Ellin).
1979 (age 42): Our son J entered his first city-wide tournament in early summer, launching his junior tennis career (and our transformation into maniacal tennis parents).
1992 (age 65): Katja arranged for the two of us to go up in a hot air balloon on my birthday.
2006 (age 69): My younger brother Peter tragically died of a heart attack on my birthday while he was vacationing with Gayle in the Hamptons on Long Island.
2008 (age 71):  Katja and I were on the verge of becoming new grandparents.
2009 (age 72): My first birthday as a retired person (and my first birthday blog entry).  Seemed o.k. 
2013 (age 76): According to some gerontologists, my birthday today marks my transition from being “young old” (65-75) to being “middle old” (76-85).  So far, not that different.  Being “old old” (86+) remains in the distant future.   

A list of the dumbest birthday jokes ever

What did the birthday balloon say to the pin?
"Hi, Buster."

Were any famous men or women born on your birthday?
“No, only little babies.”

What does a cat like to eat on her birthday?
“Mice cream and cake.” 

What did one candle say to the other?
"Don't birthdays burn you up?"

What does a clam do on his birthday?
“He shellabrates!”

What did the bald man say when he got a comb for his birthday?
“Thanks, I’ll never part with it.” 

Why did the birthday cake go to the doctor?
“Because it was feeling crumby.” 

A list of some of my birthday wishes
I wish health, well-being, and happiness for all our family and friends.
I wish our sheepdogs’ arthritis continues to be tolerable and that they get heaps of love.
I wish that our grandchildren have an exciting kindergarten year and that we see them more than ever.
I wish that we’d get together with my sister Vicki, here or in Santa Cruz.
I wish that a new grocery store opens in our neighborhood (after a two-year wait).
I wish Homeland would start a new season on TV
I wish I could have a story published on the back page of the New York Times Magazine section.
I wish somebody would go with me on a camping road trip to Michigan.
I wish my line dancing class would appear on Channel 12 news.
I wish Roger Federer would win another Grand Slam tournament.
I wish the Tree Service helps the giant yew tree in the front yard with its dead branches makes a comeback.
I wish the Dr. would clean the wax out of my ears so I hear better.
I wish that we all get our wishes to come true.    

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The IRS Hubbub

Protesters outside the downtown Cincinnati IRS office (July 2013)

Dear George,
The so-called IRS scandal has been front-page news for the last month and a half, and it’s been particularly conspicuous here in Cincinnati because the government’s IRS Tax Exempt office (at the heart of the scandal) is located downtown on Main St. in the Federal Building.  To get a better handle on it all, I’ve looked at a bunch of recent news reports and other accounts.  Here’s a summary.  (Note: numbers in parentheses refer to citations listed at the end.)

What is the IRS “scandal” about?
U.S. federal tax law exempts various types of nonprofit organizations from having to pay federal income tax.  These include things like churches, charities, civic groups, political action committees, educational institutions, and, of particular interest here, social welfare groups (i.e., groups devoted to the common good).  In May 2013 the Inspector General of the Internal Revenue Service revealed that the IRS has been using political groups' names or political themes to target and give special scrutiny to groups applying for tax-exempt status as social welfare groups.  The Inspector General’s report suggested that the IRS had almost exclusively targeted conservative groups with terms such as “Tea Party”, "patriots", or "9/12" in their names. (19)  The implication was that the IRS was harassing Tea Party and other conservative groups and treating them unfairly.  The claims generated immediate uproar in the media and by politicians across the political spectrum, including Barack Obama who labeled the situation “outrageous”. (13)   Faced with accusations of political malfeasance, the acting IRS commissioner promptly resigned, and other IRS officials retired or were placed on administrative leave.  Republicans charged that conservative groups receive far rougher treatment from the IRS than liberal groups, and critics suggested that the White House was using the IRS to crack down on its political enemies. (11)

What are social welfare groups?
Section 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code exempts civic organizations which are "operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare" from paying federal income taxes.   This phrasing (i.e., “exclusively”) would seem to exclude organizations that engage in partisan political activity from being categorized as social welfare groups.  However, Treasury regulations based on the code have adopted a looser standard, i.e., that the organization "is operated primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterments and social improvements."  As a result, the IRS has traditionally granted social welfare tax exemptions to groups engaged in some political activity as long as those are not the groups’ primary activities. (19)  Examples of 501(c)(4) tax-exempt social welfare groups recently approved in Ohio include fishing groups, bicycling clubs, garden associations, and an ultimate Frisbee league. (2)  The NAACP, Sierra Club, NRA, and AARP are well-known examples of 501(c)(4) groups that are classified as promoting social welfare for the common good though also engaging in lobbying and some political activity in pursuit of their aims. (4)   One of the hitches is that it has never been clear what "primarily" really means, and neither Congress nor the IRS has clarified the limits of acceptable political activity for tax-exempt social welfare groups. (19)

What is the difference between social welfare organizations and political organizations?
The federal tax code distinguishes between social welfare groups and political organizations (as well as other types of nonprofit, tax-exempt groups).  According to the tax code, political organizations (Section 527) are "operated primarily for the purpose of directly or indirectly accepting contributions or making expenditures" to influence the "selection, nomination, election or appointment of any individual to any Federal State or local public office..." (5)  Examples of such activities include: endorsements of a candidate, publication of statements favoring or opposing candidates, financial donations to a candidate or party, organizing volunteers for a campaign, devoting staff time to a campaign, etc.  (1)  Technically, 527 groups include almost all political groups, e.g., political parties, candidate committees, traditional political action committees.  However the category is most often used to refer to organizations that are not regulated under campaign finance laws because they don't "expressly advocate" for the election or defeat of a candidate or party (the best known recent example being Super PACs).  There are no upper limits on contributions to such 527s and no spending limits.  However, they do have to register with the IRS, disclose their donors publicly, and file regular reports of donations and spending.  (20)  Recent examples of 527 political groups include the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Texans for Truth, America Coming Together, and (20)

Are 527 political groups mostly conservative?
No.  They’re common on the right and the left.  Considering the 20 largest 527 political groups active in the 2010 elections, Democratic/liberal groups spent about $201 million and Republic/conservative groups spent about $215 million. (20)  

If both categories pay no federal income tax, why do groups want to be categorized by the IRS as 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations rather than as 527 political organizations?
It’s not a matter of tax breaks or reducing costs.  The important distinction is that political organizations are required to disclose their donors while social welfare organizations can keep donors anonymous.  The rationale for social welfare groups is that anonymity protects individual and corporate donors from political retaliation.  Anonymity, of course, can also foster greater donations by corporations and wealthy individuals.  A major issue is that some organizations consequently masquerade as social welfare organizations to increase their income when they are in fact political organizations.  The IRS has the task of determining whether an organization is a social welfare organization or a political organization and screens applications for tax-exempt status accordingly. (5) 

Why has there been such a recent upsurge in groups applying to be considered social welfare organizations?
The major reason is the Supreme Court’s January 2010 decision in the Citizens United case which allowed nearly unlimited spending by corporations and groups to influence elections.  Some Tea Party tax-exempt groups promptly formed political action committees, and by September 2010 tax-exempt groups had spent over $100 million on the mid-term elections.  Most of this spending favored Republicans.  Crossroads GPS, founded by former Bush strategist Karl Rove, was the heaviest spender in 2010 Senate elections, and Americans for Prosperity, a pro-Republican tax-exempt organization founded by the Koch brothers, was the top spender in House races. (8, 18)  In the 2012 elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, conservative nonprofits spent over $263 million, and liberal nonprofits spent about $35 million. (18)

Don’t Super PACs spend much more on elections than social welfare groups? 
No.  In 2012 social welfare nonprofits (with anonymous donations) outspent Super PACs (who must disclose their donors) by a 3 to 2 margin. (18)

How much politicking do social welfare groups do?
Though supposedly not primarily political, 501(c)(4) social welfare groups spent about $322 million on the 2012 elections. (13, 15)  Both Republicans and Democrats employed so-called “social welfare” groups. PrioritiesUSA, which supported Barack Obama's re-election in 2012, was granted tax-exempt status, as was Americans Elect which tried to make viable a third-party presidential candidate. (4, 13)  According to the New York Times, "in recent years, many overtly political organizations have abused that (social welfare) designation, calling themselves 501[c][4]s even as they run ads for an against candidates and raise tens of millions of dollars." (11)

In assessing groups’ applications for tax-exempt status, did the IRS exclusively target "Tea Party" groups?
No.  Though the Inspector General’s initial report in May implied that only conservative groups were targeted, IRS agents had been also instructed to examine groups with words such as "progressive", "occupy" or "Israel" in their names.  (19)  Other types of groups singled out for more extensive IRS investigation included medical marijuana suppliers, organizations formed to carry out Obama's health care law, open source software developers, and advocates for people in "occupied territories."  The IRS lists often focused on commercial businesses pretending to be nonprofit groups or partisan political campaign organizations seeking tax-exempt status.  (10)  Records from a July 2010 Cincinnati IRS workshop indicated that screeners were instructed to mark all potential political groups for more investigation.  In 2012 the IRS flagged 296 organizations as being from potential political groups.  (10) Seventy-two of these groups had "tea party" in their title, while 13 had "patriot" and 11 had "9/12". (16) While screeners were instructed to put liberal groups on a watch list, Tea Party groups were to be put in  an “emerging issues” category pending further guidance from the IRS Washington office. (14) Though no Tea party applications were denied, many remained "on hold" for lengthy periods. (19)  In addition, there were many more IRS applications from conservative political groups than from liberal groups.  For example, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that 359 applications have been approved since 2009 for 501(c)(4) nonprofit status in Ohio and Kentucky.  Twenty-six of those were considered political: 21 conservative groups and 5 liberal groups. (2)

How did the scrutiny of Tea Party groups start?
The Cincinnati-based IRS official who launched the effort (and who describes himself as a conservative Republican) said it began when an employee noticed a surge in applications from organizations associated with the newly emerging Tea Party".  The official stated, "I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do, other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development." (6)

Was there a political motive behind the IRS's actions?
IRS officials testifying before Congress -- including Republicans, Democrats, and Independents -- have uniformly described no White House involvement and no political motivation accompanying the IRS's actions.  Rather, facing an upsurge in 501(c)(4) applications along with simultaneous budget and personnel cuts, IRS employees in the Cincinnati office used keywords as a shortcut to identify political organizations deemed appropriate for further scrutiny.  Former Acting IRS Commissioner, Steven Miller, testified: "I think that what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection." (9)

What is the current status of the IRS issue?
As of this writing, congressional hearings are still in progress but have become increasingly partisan.  Republicans are pressing to find any evidence of White House involvement, while Democrats want to know why initial reports didn’t reveal that liberal groups’ applications were also given extra scrutiny. (14)  A number of credible commentators have concluded that all of this is a “non-scandal”, but rather a product of limited resources and faulty management. (6)  

What conclusions can we tentatively draw from the available evidence?
Contrary to the initial report that generated the “scandal”, the IRS targeted both liberal and progressive political groups for extra scrutiny in judging tax-exempt status. (10, 14)
The White House never ordered the IRS to target political enemies. (11)
No Tea Party applications have been ultimately denied. (6)
A major part of the problem is that some political groups, both on the right and the left, claim their primary purpose to be common welfare when they are actively engaged in partisan political activity.  (3)
There is ambiguity in the distinction between “social welfare” and “political” organizations, as well as ambiguity about what constitutes politics as a “primary” activity, thus making such judgments more complicated and tenuous. (19)
The IRS has been ineffective in stopping organizations run by politicians for their own political self-interest from gaining tax-exempt status as “social welfare” groups. (7)

Is there a solution?
New York Times editorial writer David Firestone suggests that the IRS should return to the original language of the tax code which prohibits social welfare groups from engaging in political activity altogether, as well as instituting a requirement that such groups disclose their donors.  That would remove the main incentive for abusing the code and would eliminate the need to use keywords in assessing applications. (11)  Other commentators, however, are pessimistic about the chances of a dysfunctional Congress implementing such changes.

So I guess we should tune into our favorite cable news channels to see what happens next. 

SOURCES:  (1) ("Explainer: 501[c][4]s and Political Activity"); (2), “”More conservative groups sought IRS exemptions”, 7/8/13); (3) ("IRS targeting scandal reshaped by new details", 6/25/13); (4) ("Social Welfare or Political Advocacy?", Oct. 2012); (5), "FAQs on 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organizations"); (6), "The Vanishing I.R.S. Scandal", 6/25/13); (7) ("IRS To 'Social Welfare' Groups: Show Me The Political Ad Money", 3/30/13); (8) ("Donor names remain secret as rules shift," 9/20/10); (9) (“IRS office at heart of scandal was understaffed backwater”, 5/19/13); (10), ("I.R.S. Scrutiny went Beyond the Political", 7/4/13); (11) ("Revisiting the I.R.S. 'Scandal'", 6/25/13); (12), "How nonprofits spend millions on elections and call it public welfare", 8/18/12); (13) ("The Real IRS Scandal", 5/14/13); (14) (“IRS scandal becoming increasingly partisan”, 7/14/13); (15) ("Did tax-exempt groups mislead the IRS on political spending?", 1/17/13); (16) ("Lingering questions about the IRS targeting of conservative groups", 5/13/13); (17) ("The real reason outside groups want tax-exempt status", 5/14/13); (18), (“What is a 501[c][4] anyway?”, 5-13-13); (19) ("2013 IRS scandal"); (20) ("527 organization") 

G-mail Comments
-Linda C (7-18): This was very helpful, can I stop paying taxes if IRS is this messed up?