Mitch Perry Report 5.13.13: IRS scandal will redound on local government

The American people's trust in government began eroding in the 1970s, and it has never fully recovered. That erosion, coupled with an ideological aversion amongst Libertarians and some conservatives to what they label "big government," has created an environment where Second Amendment fans can argue against universal background checks for guns because of fears of a national gun registry, which they claim would lead the government to take away their guns.

Gun control advocates have been angry about that mindset, but guess what folks? That paranoia about the government only got more octane over the weekend when it was made public that officials with the Internal Revenue Service singled out nonprofit groups that criticized the government, including those with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names, and those seeking to educate people about the Constitution.

The effort apparently stemmed out of a desire to bust the surfeit of "social welfare" groups potentially exploiting their tax-exempt status, which included groups like Karl Rove's American Crossroads and others that burst forward after the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision in January of 2010.

The big story here of course is how Glenn Beck and other Patriot groups don't have to make up some of their rhetoric anymore — it's been handed to them on a silver platter by these IRS officials. This news will further reduce trust in government. One of the reasons voters in Hillsborough County rejected the transit tax two-and-a-half years ago was because they didn't trust local lawmakers about how that tax would be administered. Although the federal government hasn't reneged on any major commitments financially, state lawmakers justify rejecting federal funds for Medicaid expansion because they don't trust the feds to hold up their end of the deal. Believable? No, but again, they just got a gift with this new revelation about the IRS behavior, redolent of Richard Nixon's White House activities in the 1970s.

Back to politics. I spent a chunk of my Saturday night on the clock, covering the Hillsborough County Kennedy/King Dinner in Tampa, where Charlie Crist did not announce his candidacy for governor, nor talk extensively about much of anything, other than how the Democratic Party is a much better fit for him.

Speaking of outrageous behavior, what the hell is going on with our military and the reporting of sexually violent acts? These days on Capitol Hill, women lawmakers in particular are disgusted by what's happening with the lack of prosecutions in rape cases, and it looks like they're ready to change current laws on the books to better deal with this crisis.

And if you missed it on Friday, John McCain wants to allow folks like football fans in Tampa the right to watch Buc games this season on local television, regardless of whether the game is sold out (or 85 percent sold out). Folks who get to see better national games because of the blackout rule may question whether this is a good thing or not.

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