Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

April 22, 2014

Letters to the Editor: 04/22/2014

Democracy for sale?

Recently a group of presidential hopefuls flew to Las Vegas to be vetted by a billionaire gambling mogul. The “winner” of this questionable process could be the recipient of many millions of dollars spent on political ads which, at best, will be half-truths and at worst, outright lies directed towards their opponents. Is this really how our founding fathers wanted our political leaders selected?

Do these billionaire power brokers think they can hoodwink the electorate with their phony ad campaigns? Do they think the voters are that stupid? What has happened to the strength of the individual voice, those that don’t have the big dollars?

Have we reached a time when our democracy is for sale to the highest bidder? I hope not.

Bill Hoff

Suttons Bay

 

Are groups legitimate?

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not-for-profit) seeking a tax exemption. Groups seeking tax-relief must be organizations which are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.” The IRS has to determine whether groups are using that definition to disguise political action activity. The Supreme Court only complicated things. Tax exempt groups multiplied.

It happened that in 2010, most of the 501(c) groups spending money for TV advertising were for Republican candidates. Both parties found this an avenue for funding campaigns, as long as they could say they were promoting “civic betterment.” Those are squishy terms.

The IRS is swamped with hundreds of new organizations. Legislators on both sides cried “foul.”

Are these groups legitimate? You may not like the way they tried to do that, or complain that those examined were mostly conservative groups, but you decide how you would respond as an IRS agent who is overworked because funding has been cut.

Bob McQuilkin

Frankfort

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