When the IRS went fishing for information from those Tea Party groups, it cast a very wide net.

For instance, as David Weigel reports in Slate, it asked, in a letter “sent to the Ohio-based Liberty Township Tea Party—35 questions, most of them with multiple sections. Question 3: ‘Provide details regarding all of your activity on Facebook or Twitter.’ Question 5 asked for biographies of ‘each past or present board member, officer, key employee, and members of their families,’ to check whether any of these people might run for office, or might have filed a 501(c)(4) request for somebody else. Question 12 asked for a tally of all activity ever engaged in by the group, by percentage, adding helpfully that the ‘total of all activities should equal 100 percent.’ Question 34 asked for “copies of articles printed or transcripts of items aired” if the Tea Party had been covered by the media.”

The IRS was encouraged in these exertions by at least two long-serving U.S. senators, Max Baucus and Carl Levin. Perhaps, as a way of making amends, these two could draw up a new method of taxation – a flat tax, perhaps, or a national consumption tax – that would take the discretionary powers away from the bureaucrats, slash compliance costs, and raise taxpayer morale.

But it would limit the favor-granting powers of U.S. senators, so where is the fun in that.

Instead of fixing the system, there will be hearings, investigations, commissions, etc. etc. designed to ensure that this sort of thing never happens again.

Lots of luck with that.

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