Says Ezra Klein, who's afraid that now the IRS will go wimpy on everything.
I'm not enough of a policy wonk to have any opinion about how harshly 501(c)4s should be scrutinized, but I do have a strong opinion about the relative seriousness of the 2 problems Klein identifies and distinguishes, and I'm sure he's wrong.
The unequal, politically skewed enforcement of a law is a far more serious problem than the level of harshness of a neutrally enforced law. We can disagree about what the tax laws should be and how strictly or harshly they should be enforced, but everyone knows it is fundamentally wrong to vary the degree of enforcement, selecting victims by their politics. If government cannot be trusted to avoid that fundamental wrong, it cannot be trusted with any power at all. It would be better to wipe the tax code clean and rebuild it without any complicated corners where government officials — great or small — have a place to do their dirty work.
ADDED: Instapundit writes:
Remember, Obama joked about auditing his enemies in 2009. At the time, I warned about the damage to the “trust and voluntary cooperation of citizens upon which this democracy depends,” but Obama didn’t get much pushback elsewhere. Now, however, people need to be fired, and most likely prosecuted, to drive home the appropriate lesson. And Obama himself needs to be taken to task. The Post editorial is just a start.Here's that Washington Post editorial.