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NEW YORK — The former chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee
during the Watergate impeachment hearings says President Clinton’s
targeting of the Western Journalism Center by the Internal Revenue
Service as exposed in WorldNetDaily is worse than similar offenses by
President Nixon and clearly warrants impeachment.

Jerome Zeifman, who headed the Democratic drafting team for the
articles of impeachment of Richard Nixon, calls attention to Article II,
paragraph one, which cites Nixon’s misuse of the IRS: “He has, acting
personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain
from the Internal Revenue Service, endeavored … to cause, in violation
of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other
income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a
discriminatory manner.”

“Article II was very artfully drafted,” said Zeifman. “Any one of the
five articles, standing on its own, independent of the other was
sufficient to impeach Nixon and remove him from office.”

Yet Zeifman recalls Nixon was not nearly as successful as Clinton in
targeting political adversaries.

“Many of the things I’ve been through in my life I’ve been shocked
by. And every time I’ve been shocked — as in the case of Nixon — I’ve
thought afterwards that I had lost my capacity to be outraged or
shocked,” said Zeifman. “But one of the things the Clinton
administration has done is to renew my capacity for being shocked.”

Asked if Clinton is getting away with misdeeds for which Nixon was
charged, Zeifman responded, “Of course!”

He said Nixon did not have a team of people routinely forwarding
investigation suggestions to the IRS.

“There was no systematic plan” under Nixon, he said. “In my opinion,
the misconduct of President Clinton and his White House is more
egregious by far than the misconduct of the Nixon White House with
respect to the misuse of the IRS. We found that in fact there was some
misuse of the IRS [by Nixon], but it was not part of an overall
systematic plan, as has been the case with the Clinton White House.”

Zeifman added that Watergate investigators also found misuse of FBI
records. Charles Colson, for instance, went to jail for misuse of one
FBI file.

“Whereas in the Clinton administration there has been regular and
systematic abuse,” he said. “It’s been documented, with Bernie
Nussbaum’s name, on regular and systematic requests for FBI files. I was
a strong proponent of Nixon’s impeachment and played a role in drafting
the Articles of Impeachment. In my view, everything we said in Article
II, Paragraph 1, clearly applies to Clinton on the basis of information
already in the public record prior to WorldNetDaily’s story.”

WorldNetDaily Tuesday broke the story of how a 1996 IRS audit of the
Western Journalism Center, the non-profit parent company of
WorldNetDaily.com, began with an accusatory letter forwarded to the
agency from the Clinton White House, according to Treasury Department
documents obtained by the Internet newspaper through the Freedom of
Information Act.

The Western Journalism Center is one of dozens of tax-exempt
organizations targeted for IRS audit after criticizing President
Clinton. Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily.com and founder of the
center, first exposed what appeared to be a pattern of political audits
three years ago. The revelations were followed quickly by the
resignation of IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson, a close
personal friend and political confidante of Bill and Hillary Clinton,
and the launching of a congressional probe by Rep. Bill Archer, R-Texas,
chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and co-chairman of the
Joint Committee on Taxation.

A heavily redacted 1997 Treasury Department report titled,
“Questionable Exempt Organization
Examination Activity,” was released July 6 to Farah’s news organization
following three years of FOIA filings and appeals for such information.
Contradicting IRS officials and their Justice Department lawyers in two
suits pending against the agency by the center and its legal counsel,
the Treasury report states unequivocally and repeatedly that the audit
began with a letter forwarded from the White House to the IRS.

Zeifman, a Democrat, says he’s ashamed of the way his party has
maintained a double-standard on crimes perpetrated by the Nixon White
House and those committed by the Clinton White House. He is particularly
critical of Charles Rangel of New York and John Conyers of Michigan who
were in the House during Watergate.

“There are two members of Congress whom I have known for 30 years,
who were congressmen in 1974 and were closely allied with me to bring
about the impeachment of President Nixon,” Zeifman said. “Both served on
the Judiciary Committee. One was John Conyers and the other was Charley
Rangel from New York, who was a newcomer at the time. My recollection is
that well over a year ago, Rangel signed on with Bill Archer, R-Texas,
to do an investigation of all this [the misuse of the IRS] and made some
statements about his own concerns.”

Quite apart from other possible offenses of the Clinton
administration, Zeifman says Democrats should hold their president
accountable for misuse of the IRS.

“For the IRS thing alone, it seems to me that the leaders of my party
as well as the rank and file Democratic members of Congress are
hypocrites in their shameless defense of Clinton,” he said. “They are
guilty of the deadly sin of hypocrisy. How these people can live with
themselves intellectually is beyond me. But the two people who should
know better and do know better are John Conyers and Charles Rangel.”

Zeifman also criticizes Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr for
choosing to focus on less substantive issues and crimes — such as the
Monica Lewinsky affair — rather than probing and prosecuting Clinton
for political use of the IRS.

“But if there were any Democratic members of Congress with any moral
integrity, after reading the stories that have appeared in
WorldNetDaily, they should walk across the floor of the House of
Representatives and introduce an article of impeachment on the basis of
misuse of the IRS,” said Zeifman. “And if I were doing it, I’d introduce
an article of impeachment based on the misuse of the FBI files as well.”

Earlier stories:

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