Attorney General Eric Holder Orders Investigation of IRS

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/talkradionews/7444603300/">Roger Barone</a>/Flickr

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At a Tuesday press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he had ordered the Justice Department and FBI to investigate whether the Internal Revenue Service violated the law by subjecting tea party groups applying for tax-exempt nonprofit status to special scrutiny. Other dark money organizations that have drawn criticism from advocates of campaign finance reform, including the pro-Obama Priorities USA and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, have received little attention from the IRS.

The controversy, which was first reported on Friday, is the latest in a long line of alleged IRS witch hunts against specific political and religious organizations.

The New York Times reports:

The activities of I.R.S. officials are already the subject of an investigation by the agency’s inspector general. The results of that inquiry, which are expected in the next several days, are likely to detail how officials at the agency selected political groups for extra scrutiny about their tax status.

The attorney general said there were “a variety of statutes within the I.R.S. code” that could be the basis of a criminal violation. He said officials conducting the investigation would also look at “other things in Title 18” of the United States Code. Title 18 is the overall criminal code for the federal government.

During a concurrent press conference, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that “if the reports about the activity of IRS personnel prove to be true,” President Barack Obama “would find them outrageous, and he would expect that appropriate action be taken, and that people be held responsible. He has no tolerance for targeting of specific groups.”

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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