Bring Back the Spoils System!

I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a more cogent argument for bringing back the spoils system than some of what I’m reading in defense of the IRS’s targeting of conservative and libertarian groups.

To refresh your memory under the “spoils system” when a new administration came into office it gave its own people government jobs, right down to the clerk level. In the federal government the civil service system began to supplant the notoriously corrupt and incompetent spoils system after the Civil War. Here in Chicago it prevailed legally and officially right into the 1980s and illegally and unofficially to the present day.

To get some flavor of what I’m talking about there are some who are claiming that, obviously, any organization opposed to increased taxes deserves special scrutiny from the IRS. Imagine if, when, say, a hypothetical Republican president is elected and the entire IRS staff were to be replaced with Tea Party supporters. That’s the spoils system.

6 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    What I find ironic are the throw out the entire sink arguments that would terminate a lot of grass roots organizations, probably more damaging to the left than the right.(*) Its like the right finally got a widespread populist movement of their own and suddenly its time to rethink tax exempt status for social welfare organizations. And double irony with a community-organizing President.

    (*) Something to think about while reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

  • The Age of Competence Link

    The already have! Today it’s all just pouring out: leaking confidential information to Obama backed groups, slamming conservative groups with audits, delaying approval of conservative groups while Obama’s shady half-brother’s “charity” got fast tracked by a high ranking official, auditing Billy Graham’s organizations AFTER Graham endorsed Romney, and on and on and on.

    And have no doubt, the White House had NOTHING to do with any of it! That’s because the troops were smart enough to know which way to shoot without being told.

    And today the White House said they had nothing to do with what’s going on at Justice, regarding going after the AP. You can believe that too! Because Obama doesn’t actually DO anything, except whine to his rich buddies what a big fat meanie that Rush Limbaugh guy is!

    This has been a great couple of weeks for cynicism. There’s a scandal brewing over at HHS too, but that one has slipped by almost completely unnoticed.

  • Cannons Call Link

    It is a spoils system. Current Examples are EPA and the poster child winner — DOE.

  • The Age of Competence Link

    Speaking of the EPA:

    Here’s a potential mini-scandal to add to the list of President Barack Obama’s problems this week: The Environmental Protection Agency often refuses to waive fees for Freedom of Information Act requests from conservative groups, while almost always waiving them for environmental groups.

    That’s according to an analysis of a year’s worth of FOIA requests by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based public policy group that advocates limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty. The waivers are significant since FOIA fees can run into the thousands of dollars – enough money to discourage groups from going forward with their requests for emails and other government documents. Federal agencies usually waive fees on FOIA requests by the media or public-interest groups.

    Beautiful stuff! I mean, they really seem to have thought of everything. We’re certainly getting the Third World treatment from Obama, even if he was born in the USA. I guess blood will tell….

  • Red Barchetta Link


    And here in Chicago, with one party rule since dinosaurs roamed, its spoils all the time.

  • myth buster Link

    The virtue of the spoils system is that it allows a public who are dissatisfied with the bureaucracy to vote it out.

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