IRS: Tax Collector or Political Enforcer?

As a small-business owner, you work hard to establish and maintain customer relationships based on integrity and fairness. Violating that standard of behavior can ruin your business.

And, you expect the same from others, particularly those in positions of power who can determine the future of your enterprise, such as the Internal Revenue Service.

Collecting taxes is a necessary function of government, one that must always be fair and honest in order to justify citizens’ trust.

We all want to believe, for example, that the IRS Small Business and Self-employed Division is true to its mission: “Help small business and self-employed taxpayers understand and meet their tax obligations, while applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.”

But now it seems that some in the agency allegedly don’t share values of democracy such as fairness and integrity or even free speech, especially when applying the law to conservative tax-exempt, non-profit organizations that dare to criticize the current administration’s policies.

Are those suspected of suppressing political expression also administering Obamacare’s tax rules? That certainly raises concerns here at tax-exempt, non-profit NFIB, in view of our courageous decision to take the small-business fight against the president’s health reform law to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And on your behalf, we’ve been constant critics of the administration’s rapidly expanding regulatory push and demand for higher taxes across the board.

What’s more, we just won a major legal victory over the National Labor Relations Board whose pro-union top officials were blatantly overstepping their authority to require you display posters promoting union organizing in your business.

Public opposition of the administration’s labor-inspired agenda was necessary to gain a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that now protects small-business owners from frivolous union lawsuits.

As this new scandal unfolds, congressional leaders are demanding answers. House Speaker John Boehner said “The IRS admitted to targeting conservatives… My question isn’t about who is going to resign. My question is who’s going to jail over this scandal?”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said people will be held accountable if this practice was “an effort to bring the power of the federal government to bear on those the (Obama) administration disagreed with in the middle of a national election.”

We hope this scandal turns out to be just a big misunderstanding and not a dangerous suppression of opposing political views. We’re accustomed to critics’ claims that NFIB favors one party more than the other, but our record is clear and founded on integrity and fairness: we support those who support small business, regardless of political affiliation.

Let there be no doubt that NFIB will fulfill its mission to “promote and protect your right to own, operate and grow your small business.” If that means challenging any administration policy or criticizing bureaucrats who do not understand small business’ key role in our free enterprise system, so be it. That’s why more than 350,000 small-business owners depend on us.

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About Dan Danner

Donald A. "Dan" Danner was named president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small business association, in February, 2009. Danner is only the sixth president in the history of the organization. Before rising to the top spot, Danner was executive vice president, overseeing NFIB's federal and state public policy and political activities as well as the organization's three 501 (c) 3 operations: the Research Foundation, Small Business Legal Center and the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. He came to NFIB in 1993 as vice president of the NFIB Education Foundation (now known as the Young Entrepreneur Foundation) and was named vice president of federal public policy in 1995. Previously, he was chief of staff to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Danner also worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he was special assistant to the president and deputy director of the department. Before joining the White House staff, Danner was an executive with Armco Inc., a steel manufacturing company. He held leadership positions in sales and marketing, as well as state and federal lobbying on issues such as energy, environment, taxes and trade. He also served four years as vice president of federal relations at George Mason University. A native of Middletown, Ohio, Danner holds an MBA degree from Xavier University and an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University.
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