At one point, the IRS criterion for flagging political groups included “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government.” Although this standard might seem evenhanded, it isn’t. One thing that unites conservatives is a proud, vocal commitment to “limited government.” (Granted, GOP politicians often stray from this in practice.) Liberals, on the other hand, seldom say flat-out that they support “expanded government.” In fact, they often go out of their way to deny it, as President Obama has done on a number of occasions:
“I have no interest in expanding government, contrary to what some critics might say” (February 13, 2009).
“I think that there are some opponents who have used — seized on this and tried to use this as a proxy for saying that somehow we are vastly expanding government and taking over every sector of the economy. That’s what a lot of this debate is about. I think they’re wrong” (September 20, 2009).
“The steps we took last year were about saving the economy from collapse, not about expanding Government’s reach into the economy” (February 24, 2010).
A Google search this morning turned up 12.9 million hits for the phrase “limited government organizations.” A search for “expanded government organizations” found just three hits.
The effect of this ostensibly even criterion was to target conservative groups instead of liberal ones.