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As Attorney General Eric Holder orders an investigation of the Internal Revenue Service after a top official admitted targeting conservative groups with extra scrutiny, an outspoken critic of Obama who claimed more than half a year ago that the administration was using the IRS to punish him is feeling vindicated.
“I feel like a million bucks. I feel absolutely vindicated. I knew this was going on,” Wayne Allyn Root told WND.
Root, the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 2008 who has claimed Obama was strangely unknown to him and his fellow Columbia University classmates, recounted his story to WND last October of becoming the target of unusual audits, beginning in January 2011, despite a “spotless” 30-year tax record.
He charged in October that the order to audit him came from Obama himself, and he is even more convinced now.
“I believe this is not rogue agents, who would be risking their pension and careers,” he said.
In October, Root said the order to audit him “must have come from the highest levels of government.”
“Obama is using the power of the IRS and other government agencies to punish his political opposition and intimidate and silence his critics,” Root charged at the time.
At that time he was calling for congressional hearings “to determine if the Obama administration is misusing its power to damage or ruin the lives, drain the finances, or just distract Obama’s critics and political opposition.”
Now, the House Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a formal hearing for Friday to probe the IRS scandal.
In March 2012 hearings before the Financial Services and the Ways and Means Oversight subcommittees, former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman twice denied that the IRS had targeted conservative groups.
On Monday, Root contacted the office of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offering to testify before Congress.
Root said that until this week, he would not have expected scrutiny of the Obama administration to get much traction, but with the news Monday that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of Associated Press journalists, he thinks the media “woke up overnight and realized this is a tyrant that we’ve got in charge.”
Root has been a relentless critic of Obama in thousands of appearances on political talk shows on TV and radio over the past four and a half years, focusing on what he calls the president’s anti-capitalist policies. He also writes columns and commentaries for many popular conservative websites.
He is the author of “The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide: How to Survive, Thrive, and Prosper During Obamageddon,” which was published last month.
A pre-law and political science major in the class of 1983, like the president, Root told WND that he received an “unsettling” telephone call from an IRS agent in January 2011 who called himself a fan of his and considered it “an honor” to audit him.
Root won a complete victory last summer in tax court, which found no taxes owed in his 2007 and 2008 filings. But then, he said, he and his tax attorney were shocked when he was hit with a new audit just five days later, for 2009 and 2010.
Root told WND in October he knew of many cases like his that pointed to a pattern of abuse by the Obama administration, including audits of high-profile friends who contribute to the Republican Party and GOP bundlers.
Last year, billionaire Frank VanderSloot became the target of investigations by both the IRS and the Labor Department after he gave $1 million to a super PAC that supported Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The GOP’s biggest donor, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, said a federal criminal investigation into his company’s business practices was politically motivated. Another casino giant, Steve Wynn, also has been investigated.
This week, Root has received many emails from people who identify as conservative and believe the IRS has been harassing them for political reasons.
He said he was contacted by a Mormon man who said everyone he knew in his small Mormon community was being audited for the first time in their lives.
The man told Root the Mormons are easy to identify because their tax forms show they give 10 percent of their income to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Root said the Mormon man told him, “Everywhere I go, I run into people who are being audited, and they have never been audited before.”
Root sees the alleged targeting of Mormons as consistent with the report Tuesday that the IRS was targeting Jewish groups that are pro-Israel.
“Who in America would be more conservative Republican and donate more to Romney than Mormons?” he asked.
Cloward and Piven
Root has charged that Obama is borrowing from the radical, collectivist strategy of former Columbia professors Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven.
The aim is to overwhelm the welfare system for the purpose of collapsing it and replacing it with a system of guaranteed annual income.
“I’ve been saying it since he was elected in 2008,” Root said of Obama, “his goal is the Cloward and Piven plan we learned at Columbia University – you’ve got to bankrupt your opposition and you’ve got to bankrupt the United States of America. You’ve got to bankrupt it with debts, entitlements and spending. And it’s all happening in front of our very eyes.”
The new admission by the IRS, he said, supports his contention that Obama aims to attack business owners who fund conservative candidates and causes until they have no money left.
“If you raise people’s taxes and regulate them to death, and assess IRS liens and audit them to death, eventually the people who write all the big checks to conservative causes will go bankrupt,” he said.
Root acknowledges his assessment of Obama opens himself to charges that he is extreme, but he insists anyone who has met him “would describe him as a family man or a man of faith” who does not exaggerate or “wear a tin foil hat.”
“And yet,” he said. “I believe with every bone in my body that Barack Obama is a Marxist out to destroy capitalism and the United States of America.”
Now, he said, as Obama is hit with a perfect storm of scandals, “you tell me if anything I’ve said now appears to be extreme.”
“No,” he said, “the only extremists here are the radical Marxists sitting in the White House.”
After Obama’s inaugural speech in January, House Speaker John Boehner seemed to agree that Obama was undertaking a scorched-earth political strategy, notably declaring that he believed the president wanted to “annihilate” the Republican Party.
Boehner said the broader goal of the administration was “to just shove us into the dustbin of history.”
Recalling Boehner’s statement, Root commented: “That’s how you become a communist or socialist nation.”
In September, Root announced that he was stepping down from his positions in the Libertarian Party to focus on helping elect Republicans to office who share his small-government values. He reasoned that it’s not enough to have a “philosophical foundation rooted in liberty” if you can’t win as a third-party candidate.
No sign of Obama at Columbia
Root drew wide attention as the Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate in 2008 when he contended that although he and Obama were both pre-law and political science majors in Columbia’s class of 1983, he never even heard of Obama during his time at the university. None of the classmates with whom he’s spoken knew of him either, he claimed. A 2008 Wall Street Journal article cited a Fox News survey of 400 people who were Columbia students from 1981 to 1983 and found no one who remembered Obama.
Root told WND Tuesday it’s telling that still no one from his Columbia days has come forward and declared any knowledge of Obama during that time.
“Every kid I went to school with was a liberal, trending toward Marxist. They all said it. They all said they were proud Marxists,” Root said. “You would think they would defend the president, and you would have students saying, ‘I knew him, and Wayne Root is wrong.’ No one has.”
There’s “just dead silence,” he said.
“Nobody saw him there. There is something wrong with the story, I am telling you.”