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IRS scandal another reminder of continuing taint of money on politics

In the furor over the IRS inappropriately singling out certain organizations by an identifying tag line –such as “tea party” or “patriotic” – one thing is clear. There was a sudden deluge of applications for tax exemption under a social welfare exclusion that allowed no disclosure of donor names. The hundreds of new applicants included both identifiably liberal and conservative groups. The one thing about which all of us should agree is that it is not in our national interest to have the best elections money can buy.

The problem of approving agencies apparently lies in whether one had primarily a social welfare mission. It is unfortunate that the “separation of sheep from the goats” was not inclusive of whatever overall local community group responsible for fundraising for generally agreed-upon social concerns.

A group responsible for the Allen County United Way would have greater insights into the primary nature of some social welfare applicant than a regional IRS group in Cincinnati. If we had, for example, half a dozen applications from our area, I suspect that those who have the best interests of the League for the Blind or the Boys and Girls Clubs would offer comments more pertinent than any from the lengthiest questionnaire.

We Americans need to take this furor as an opportunity. We cannot have Samuel Johnson’s proverbial saying to be proven true: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

ROBERT COLLIE Fort Wayne

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