CHICAGO, May 23, 2013 — Reacting to the congressional investigation into the IRS targeting of tea party and other conservative groups, former White House counsel C. Boyden Gray finds it telling that the embattled agency never even responded to his complaint against Media Matters for America.
“Media Matters for America is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with contributions that are tax-deductible. Yet it has been behaving as an arm of the Democrat Party,” Gray remarked via telephone in an exclusive interview Wednesday. “While the IRS has now admitted that it targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny, it has continued to ignore our 2011 complaint against Media Matters for America and its ongoing violations of U.S. tax law.”
Lois Lerner, former IRS director of tax-exempt organizations, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Wednesday that she “did nothing wrong,” then invoked her Fifth Amendment rights not to incriminate herself. Lerner now heads the IRS office responsible for ensuring Obamacare compliance.
Some Democrats are already calling for a special prosecutor to be named if Lerner and other IRS officials continue to stonewall the investigation.
That has not prevented some left leaning commentators, including Slate’s David Weigel, from accusing Republicans of hypocrisy in the IRS investigation. Weigel uses Gray’s petition to the IRS to revoke the 501(c)(3) status of Media Matters, due to the non-profit’s partisan political conduct, as an example.
“The IRS scandal (or its spinners) is quickly creating a new right, a right no politician should take away—the right to start a tax-free organization that can play in politics. For the moment, anyone on the left who challenged this status quo is being retconned into an accomplice of the most hated Cincinnati IRS office in American history,” Weigel says.
“That is like comparing apples and oranges,” Gray responded. “This is specious, since our request to the IRS was to revoke the (c)(3) taxpayer subsidy granted to Media Matters’ partisan political activity, whereas the current IRS scandal involves the IRS targeting of non-deductible (c)(4) entities engaged in general policy issues not involving partisan political action.”
In a 2011 op-ed piece that appeared in the Washington Times, Gray explained in detail the IRS problem for Media Matters for America and why its 501(c)(3) status should be revoked:
What MMA actually is doing, however, moves far afield from identifying possible bias to mounting a campaign to undermine a major media outlet and to promote the Democratic Party and progressive causes associated with it. Mr. Brock [Media Matters for America] himself has described this new strategy as “a war on Fox,” an effort “to disrupt [Rupert Murdoch’s] commercial interests” and look for ways to turn regulators against News Corp.’s media outlets.
Gray filed his petition with the IRS on July 27, 2011 alleging that Media Matters for America has engaged in a “pattern of unlawful conduct” and should no longer be entitled to its tax-exempt status.
William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. He is a native from
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