SACRAMENTO — The yearlong Internal Revenue Service audit of the Western Journalism Center, the non-profit parent company of WorldNetDaily, is being blamed for the death of California’s only muckraking monthly journal.
The August issue of Inside California, the 5-year-old statewide investigative reporting publication, will be the last, announced Joseph Farah, executive director of the center and editor of WorldNetDaily. In making the announcement, Farah said the financial decision was a direct result of the severe drain on WJC resources caused by the IRS “political” audit.
“There were tens of thousands of dollars in hard costs associated with the audit,” Farah said. “But, more importantly, the audit represented a cloud over our heads for many potential contributors. When you combine those factors with the active effort by the Clinton administration to smear our organization in the media and to threaten our donors, it’s a wonder we’ve managed to survive.”
Ironically, the center was cleared by the IRS last month and given a clean bill of health as a 501(c)3 educational corporation. The center, meanwhile, has filed demands under the Freedom of Information Act for all IRS files on the case, including correspondence between other government agencies.
“There is strong evidence to suggest that this audit was initiated by the White House because of its concerns about our reporting on administration scandals,” Farah said. “The administration attacked the center in its secret 331-page ‘Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce’ report and targeted us in a White House task memo as early as 1994. An IRS audit following that kind of attention by the White House seems awfully coincidental.”
Farah expressed sadness about the demise of Inside California, a publication that “took its role as a watchdog of government very seriously.” Among the many stories Inside California broke were:
- How California’s political power couple, John and Patti Garamendi, looted a family trust fund for campaign money;
- Published the first excerpts from the state’s “ebonics” handbook;
- Exposed the connection between the state’s environmental regulations and major flood damage in 1996-97;
- Documented widespread mismanagement of millions in state government funds and the assignment of dozens of employees with vague duties;
- Revealed massive voter fraud in the 1994 elections;
- How the government harassed farmer Taung Ming-Lin for running over some kangaroo rats with his tractor;
- Successfully sued then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown for documents proving his Education Summit was paid for with taxpayer funds;
- Inside California was the only periodical that dared to publish an entire copy of the controversial California Learning Assessment System test, which was later scrapped by the state;
- How one man’s opinion led to the listing of the Delhi Sands Flower-Loving Fly as an endangered species, a scientifically suspect decision which cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
Right from the very first issue in January 1993, when Inside California revealed the connections between then-Assemblywoman Barbara Lee and a hard-line Marxist organization, the journal was known for its hard-hitting reporting. Within weeks of that first issue, Inside California was threatened with a lawsuit by Lee, who changed her mind when confronted with the fact that truth is an absolute defense against libel.
“As a reader, I will miss Inside California,” said Farah. “I looked forward to the fresh insights of Managing Editor Mike Antonucci and our other gifted and dedicated contributors every month. But, thankfully, those human resources will simply be redeployed to concentrate on national issues and stories.”
Farah said he wished to remind those who long for more of this type of reporting that it does cost money.
“We are a non-profit organization that relies on the tax-deductible contributions of people who understand the importance of independent investigative reporting into government fraud, waste, corruption and abuse,” he said. “I strongly encourage anyone who is able to support this kind of work financially to do so now in our hour of greatest need.”
For more information about the Western Journalism Center, call 1-800-952-5595 or write to the center at P.O. Box 2450, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.