Do you believe the Internal Revenue Service targeted tea party and “patriot” groups for special scrutiny for years but that it wasn’t politically motivated?
Do you believe the IRS has come clean about all of its actions as a political attack dog against adversaries of the Obama administration?
Do you believe a half-hearted and half-truthful apology by the IRS should excuse the Obama administration of any legal culpability or restitution?
Do you believe the Obama administration just became aware of this abuse last week and quickly cleared the air publicly last Friday afternoon?
Do you believe the Obama administration has taken decisive action to ensure that all political abuse of and by the IRS has ceased?
If you believe any of that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.
Here’s the truth:
- The tea party targeting has been going on for years – and may have been a significant contributing factor to the decline of the grass-roots movement. Last year, in a congressional hearing on just such accusations, then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman declared in sworn testimony, “There’s absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people.” The IRS insists officially today that none of the abuse of tea party and “patriot” groups was “due to any political or partisan rationale.” It took press exposés, lawsuits and congressional hearings to force this admission – and still it was done on a Friday afternoon when the administration knew most Americans would not be paying attention.
- There is strong evidence already emerging that political harassment of 501(c)3 groups that promote educational programs at odds with Barack Obama’s worldview is still going on today. IRS officials told at least one new pro-life nonprofit group that it would need to promote “both sides” of the life issue to obtain a tax-exemption. Cherish Life Ministries was created to be a nonprofit so that churches would feel comfortable working together for pro-life causes. Peter Shinn was also told he would have to prove the group was not involved in political activity. This is akin to demanding that Greenpeace not only promote saving whales but killing whales, too.
- From December 2012 to January 2013, the IRS released pending applications for tax exemptions for six organizations. The release of such information is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to five years. No one was prosecuted or fired as a result of the leaks.
- In 2010, Austan Goolsbee, then chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, divulged in a conference call confidential IRS information on how Koch Industries, which supports libertarian causes, was organized. In a background call with reporters, a “senior administration official” used Koch Industries as an example of how large corporations used corporate structures to avoid taxes.
- On the eve of the 2010 elections, conservative donors to nonprofits were told that past donations could be taxed as gifts. After not levying a gift tax for decades, the IRS investigated five donors to political advocacy nonprofits. Among those to receive letters threatening additional levies and taxes was conservative philanthropist Foster Friess. The move was protested by congressional investigators.
- Mitt Romney supporter Frank VanderSloot was attacked by name by the Obama campaign. A few months later, VanderSloot and his wife were told by the IRS they were being audited for the first time.
- The IRS claimed just last month that it can read your emails without a warrant.
- Once Obamacare is fully implemented in 2014, the IRS will enforce 47 new tax provisions along with distributing subsidies to 18 million people and tax credits to small businesses. The Treasury Department expects the cost of enforcement from 2010 to 2013 to total $881 million. Shulman informed Congress last year the agency would need an additional $13.1 billion in 2014 for this purpose.
I wrote a column in 2010 predicting that Obama’s IRS would audit me for my criticism of him. A year later, my prediction came true. I had not been audited since Bill Clinton launched a similar campaign of political audits against organizations and individuals – his “enemies list,” if you will. I remember because not only was I a target, I also exposed the systematic effort by the last Democratic president with the help of an 11-part series in the Wall Street Journal. (There was no WND back then.)
This is serious stuff.
This cannot be swept under the rug.
When one president gets away with this kind of abuse, it becomes a precedent for the future. If that happens, we cease to live in a free society under the rule of law.
The stakes are high.
Every American, regardless of their political leanings, should recognize it is not in the interest of liberty to permit such abuse by politicians against anyone.