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Here we go again.

I’ve been through this nightmare before.

Any day now, you can expect to begin hearing that dozens of groups and individuals critical of Barack Obama and his policies have been subjected to Internal Revenue Service audits.

That’s the way it happened during the last Democratic presidential administration. And this one is, if anything, more desperate, more ruthless and more cunning that the one run by Bill Clinton.

The evidence for my prediction is this: Administration officials, political appointees, are already accessing confidential tax information on Obama’s critics.

In a late August conference call with reporters, Austan Goolsbee, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, let it slip that he knew more than he should about the tax structure of Koch Industries, one of the primary funders of tea-party activity, including Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks.

As a result, the treasury inspector general for tax administration plans to review what Goolsbee knew and how he knew it.

With a Republican midterm election landslide in the making, Democratic lawmakers are already demanding the IRS crack down on those paying for ads attacking them.

This is the way it starts.

I know because I’ve been there.

In 1996, an IRS agent visited the accountant who represented my non-profit news agency, the Western Journalism Center. He said the center was being audited and that it was a “political case” and the decision about our fate would be “made at the national level.”

He wasn’t kidding – and he wasn’t misinformed.

Later, another IRS agent asked me, my attorney and my accountant the following: “What do you expect to happen when you attack the president of the United States in an election year?”

In other words, we were getting what was coming to us.

We were hardly alone.

Every group and individual that made it onto Bill Clinton’s radar screen by being critical of his administration was audited. I’m talking dozens and dozens of names you would know – from Paula Jones to the Heritage Foundation to the Christian Coalition. Some of the groups and individuals targeted by the intrusive audits and the fallout they caused resulted in organizations and people being destroyed.

There’s a lot of history to learn from – to get an idea of what’s coming next just as sure as you can say former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

How bad did it get?

The IRS moved into my offices for nine months like they were employees, sifting through files like they were my own bookkeepers. A Cabinet official, Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary, called one of my top supporters to tell him if he gave another dollar to the Western Journalism Center he would lose his federal contracts. Just so you know, his federal contracts were worth billions.

That’s the way it works.

Presidents have enormous powers – some legitimate and many that aren’t.

I fully expect the desperate Barack Obama, as he becomes more isolated by losing both houses of Congress, is going to lash out and attack.

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but he’s got plenty of weathermen around him.

Obama is a true disciple of Saul Alinsky, and he won’t hesitate to use quasi-legal and extra-legal means to go after his enemies.

Apparently he’s already begun putting together the enemies list.

By the way, the fact that Clinton got away with this activity will only prove encouraging to Obama to push even further in using his legitimate and illegitimate powers to punish his enemies and salvage his political future.

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