The paper trail I had sought to uncover for three years was revealed to
the world yesterday.
It showed that the audit of the Western Journalism Center in 1996 was
initiated by a tip passed on by the White House.
This was, by any standard of newsworthiness, a ground-breaking,
explosive story. Yet, I received no calls from the Associated Press. Not
one major newspaper in the country, besides the Wall Street Journal,
which broke the story simultaneously with WorldNetDaily yesterday,
deemed the development worthy of a follow-up. No congressmen asked to
see the Treasury Department document that proves the link between the
White House and IRS audit. Heck, not even the usually reliable Matt
Drudge would let go of his obsessive coverage of the death of John F.
Kennedy Jr. long enough to let his vast audience know about the story.
Sour grapes? Uh-uh. I would feel the same way about the treatment — or
mistreatment — of this story had the audit been directed against some
other journalist than me. I would be as outraged as I am today if the
reporters audited worked for Mother Jones or Human Events. It makes no
difference. When government messes with the First Amendment rights of
the press, the whistle needs to be blown — loud and clear.
Now, it’s no wonder why the president’s political cronies don’t speak
out about such offenses. To admit that would be to admit they were
either hoodwinked by a crook or taken in by a hustler. No politician
wants to make such an admission. Few want to concede that ideological
allies are even capable of corruption.
But what amazes me — continually — is the way this president is given a
free ride by the so-called political opposition.
Let’s face it. Bill Clinton would have been political toast a long time
ago had the Republican establishment stood up and fearlessly exposed his
Why doesn’t that happen?
I’ll tell you one reason few are standing up in vocal opposition to the
political abuse of the IRS by the Clinton administration.
Because they are afraid.
They are afraid of probing too deeply into an agency with enormous power
and with a White House that fights back and never seems to go down for
We all witnessed last year how a pitiful Congress refused to carry out
its responsibility to hold the chief executive accountable for high
crimes and misdemeanors. He’ll be gone soon enough, they told us. What
harm, they asked, can he do in another year or two?
History shows us that evil men in power can do an extraordinary amount
of harm in a very short period of time.
One thing that was encouraging about the response to our story yesterday
was the outpouring of concern and support by thousands of people on the
Internet. I appreciate that. It encourages me. But I want to challenge
you all to do more. I am going to ask you to do something I have seldom
done in this space, and that is to write to a public official to express
your anger at the continued abuses of this administration — not the
least of which is the use of the IRS to target political enemies.
One man who was outraged by my initial accusations about the
politicization of the IRS back in 1996 was Rep. Bill Archer, chairman of
the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and co-chairman of the Joint
Committee on Taxation. He immediately dashed off a letter to IRS
Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson and called for fact-finding
hearings into the charges raised right here.
But, just as quickly, Archer dropped the ball. I went to Washington at
my own expense to testify to his committee. I was met with a lackluster,
perfunctory hour or so of questions by staffers. Not one congressman
deemed the charges significant enough to hear the first-hand story of
how the administration and IRS teamed up to stifle journalists’ First
Amendment rights — yes, in America, in the 1990s.
So, what am I asking you to do? I’m asking you to give Rep. Archer
another chance. Help him to redeem himself and his pathetic colleagues
in the Congress before they are turned out of their seats in droves next
year. Give them a wakeup call. And use Bill Archer as the point man.
It won’t be as easy as it should be, because Bill Archer doesn’t
encourage e-mail from anyone outside his district — even though he
chairs powerful committees making decisions for all Americans. So,
you’ll have to settle for calling his office at (202) 225-2571 or faxing
him at (202) 225-4381.
Remember, be polite, be courteous — but be forceful. The people need to
take this country back from the government.