This is turning out to be the summer of scandals by government agencies and elected officials of our great democracy, and by the sounds of the conversations coming out of Washington, D.C., this is indeed going to be a long hot summer.
By G.D. GRANGER
Special to The Star
Lots and lots of people were all upset with the Internal Revenue Service for targeting ultra-conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status and for the length of time it took for the IRS to approve their applications. So many IRS officials have gone before our elected politicians and thrown themselves on the mercy of Capitol Hill.
I am going to offer a different take on the IRS scandal.
Instead of insisting that the IRS now rubber-stamp any and all organizations that wish to gain tax-exempt status, let the IRS investigate any and all organizations that apply to ensure they are who they say they are. Make them prove they are not Internet scammers or groups posing as nonprofits when in fact they are political action groups for the rich. These groups provide funds for unscrupulous politicians who wish to raise large amounts of cash for their political careers from the wealthy, without being detected by the American public or the American press.
Once the IRS has tackled that problem I would like them to review all previous tax-exempt status of nonprofit organizations and have them all verify that they are who they say they are. Especially, as it relates to their mission(s) to provide services for the poor, the needy, sick children, veterans and poor children around the world. For many, many organizations this audit will be time-consuming, maybe maddening, and costly, but it will allow them to operate with the trust of the American people once they had passed the IRS smell test.
My last request of the IRS is that after it catches all the phony nonprofits, please set your sights on Americans and American companies that hide billions and billions of dollars in non-taxed profits in offshore accounts.
And as for the whole FBI and National Security Agency scandals please dont let your organizations bend to political grandstanding. My bet is that most if not all of our elected officials were well aware of your activities, including the surveillance of private information, which some agencies I am sure have had the approval of several administrations.
My professional experience with criminals is that they rarely reveal their core nature all at once but rather move slowly in the direction of criminal thinking and illegal behaviors leaving only small bits of information. Only after they have done their dastardly deeds does it seem so clear what they were really up to. It is smart of law enforcement to gather intelligence in bits and pieces because today that is how it must be done in order to keep all of us out of harms way. Have we already forgotten the lessons learned from the Boston bombers?
So, here is my advice to the FBI and NSA: tighten up the really shady-gray areas of your surveillance techniques. Americans including myself have no real understanding of the evil that lurks behind closed doors, in emails and postings on social pages. What the head thinks and what the heart feels are never too far apart.
As for Edward Snowden, the whistle blower, he may or may not be guilty of a lot of things but he is guilty of putting Americans at greater risk for danger.
G.D. Granger of Kansas City is a unit supervisor for the Missouri Department of Corrections. To reach her, send email to email@example.com or write to Midwest Voices, c/o Editorial Page, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.