By
Martin Bashir
updated 5/17/2013 12:50:50 PM ET 2013-05-17T16:50:50

The demand of Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation — or, more accurately, its political arm Heritage Action — that Congress focus exclusively on the IRS scandal to the exclusion of all else hides two personal vendettas.

Top Story: The demand of Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation — or, more accurately, its political arm Heritage Action — that Congress focus exclusively on the IRS scandal to the exclusion of all else hides two personal vendettas.

  • Heritage Action has asked — ordered? — Speaker John Boehner to “avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference.” That way, the GOP doesn’t “do anything that shifts the focus” from the IRS or Benghazi controversies. (National Review)
  • Those votes it wants to block include ones on internet sales tax, immigration reform and the farm bill — the latter, interestingly enough, because the House’s deep cuts to the so-called “food stamps” program aren’t deep enough. (The Hill) and (Chad Pergram)
  • Now why would it make this demand for Permanent Obstruction? Well, one reason is that vote on comprehensive immigration reform. Heritage likely wants to erase memories of an embarrassing, much-maligned “think” piece on why reform wouldn’t work (which cost the author his job at Heritage). (Mother Jones)
  • But the financial aspect of this demand can’t be missed either. Legally speaking, this isn’t Heritage making the demand — it’s Heritage Action, a 501(c)4. Thus, what HA is demanding  is that Congress focus exclusively on punishing the IRS for daring (if poorly) to question the motives of politically motivated 501(c)4’s — such as itself. (Heritage Action)
  • Which means that, ironically, Heritage Action is hoping to use these hearings and any roadblocks for campaign finance reform they produce as a sort of shield law — the kind that Congress doesn’t want to allow for journalists. (Politico)
  • What is a 501(c)4 exactly? A “social welfare” organization. (Wonk Blog) and (Josh Barro)
  • So what constitutes “social welfare” work? Well, previous examples have included claims that candidates want to gut Medicare or have refused to prosecute rapists. (Slate)
  • “The biggest take-away from the I.R.S. mess should be that our campaign-finance system is in desperate need of overhaul.” (Steven Rattner)
  • In fact, University of Illinois Law professor, John Colombo, believes we should eliminate them all-together. The reason: the rules are open to interpretation, which invites “wholesale noncompliance, which is pretty much what we have.” (The New York Times)

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