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IRS political targeting on steroids

Posted By Joseph Farah On 01/13/2014 @ 7:57 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments

When Barack Obama and his entire administration were given a free pass for using the Internal Revenue Service as a political attack dog against their adversaries, it was a given that the practice would not end but take on more serious threats to dissent.

That’s exactly what is happening because of the abject failure of House Republicans to hold Obama accountable.

To date, no one has gone to jail or even been prosecuted for using the IRS to go after tea-party groups, conservatives and anyone deemed by Obama-ites to be a threat. These days, that list is growing exponentially as his policy failures become more evident.

In fact, Steven Miller, the former acting commissioner of the IRS who resigned from his post last year after the agency admitted it had improperly scrutinized the federal tax-exempt status of certain conservative groups, has landed what appears to be a plum job with the Houston-based AlliantGroup as the specialty tax service provider’s national director of tax.

In his new role, Miller will lead the company’s national office in Washington, D.C., where he will, according to a press release, “cultivate AlliantGroup’s Tax Controversy Services practice.” I’m not kidding. Here’s a guy who, if anything, is an expert on “tax controversy services.”

Miller joins another former IRS commissioner at AlliantGroup, Mark Everson, who is the company’s vice chairman. Everson led the IRS from 2003 to 2007.

Miller was the guy who was at the helm of the IRS when the agency apologized May 10, 2013, for what it called “inappropriate” targeting of groups during the 2012 election that had conservative titles, such as “Tea Party” or “patriot,” in their names to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. In other words, the IRS admitted targeting groups based on their political persuasion – something unprecedented in the 100-year history of the agency.

Five days after the apology, Miller resigned as acting IRS commissioner, and Lois Lerner, head of the Exempt Organizations division, who was at the center of the controversy, announced her retirement Sept. 24.

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It’s unknown whether Lerner landed a new gig. But why would she need to? She’s apparently still on paid leave from her job and will reportedly be allowed to retire with full benefits even though a review board recommended her firing. As a 30-plus year veteran of the federal government, her pension package will represent a sweet deal.

Remember, this is the woman who took the Fifth when called before Congress to testify on her role in this monumental scandal.

But what’s happening now that the smoke has cleared for the Obama administration?

The IRS is on the verge of getting the regulatory power to continue harassing tax-exempt groups that oppose the Obama agenda. It’s being called by former Rep. Ernest Istook a “license to kill” such organizations.

“James Bond’s license to kill isn’t nearly as broad,” Istook wrote. “The power to tax is the power to destroy. Its new powers will let the IRS destroy certain groups, especially those connected to the tea party, by imposing a tax on their work and messages during campaign seasons. Even the value of volunteer work could be taxed.”

There’s reason to believe Obama is directly responsible for this sleight-of-hand. He personally met with IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, an Obama political appointee and long-time supporter, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House April 23, 2012, two days before the IRS issued its key internal directives to target tea-party and other conservative groups.

Unless House Republicans man up to block these new IRS regulations, it will spell the death penalty for a 100,000 grass-roots non-profits known as 501(c)(4) groups by placing a gag order on them. Of course, the new regs specifically exempt Obama’s beloved labor unions, trade associations, political parties and other non-profit groups from the free political speech restrictions.

This is specifically a war on the tea party-style groups, many of which have already been killed or rendered moribund by the Obama administration’s offensive that began after the 2010 midterm election they swung. Obama wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again in 2014.

What about the 501(c)(4) groups that support Obama?

Come on! The Obama administration is notorious for selective enforcement, meaning it could – and will – choose to give a pass to friendly groups while it puts conservatives out of business. Obama is attempting to legalize punishment of free political expression.

Under the new proposed regulations, a speech or written information that mentions or has any connection to a candidate or public official is deemed restricted speech, even when it otherwise meets the organization’s goals. Details of such communications must be reported to the IRS when it occurs within 60 days of a general election or within 30 days of primaries.

The restrictions also apply regarding procedures to select party officers, such as a precinct, district or state party chairman, plus nominations or confirmations of an appointed official such as a judge, agency head or cabinet officer.

“These communications must all be reported to the IRS so they can be compiled, catalogued and taxed,” says Istook. “Donations made during those periods would be treated 100 percent as campaign contributions, and taxed.”

This includes:

  • Candidate forums and debates

  • Voter guides
  • Voting-record listings of incumbents
  • Public statements by officers and leaders of (c)(4)s that reference incumbents and candidates

Do you get the picture? The IRS becomes the political speech police – officially.

Keep in mind, the IRS has a virtual army of bureaucrats eager to suppress political dissent – with 90,000 workers, with 4,300 investigators, 13,000 revenue agents, 2,600 special agents, 9,500 tax examiners and 1,500 attorneys on-staff.

The only thing standing in the way of these regulations becoming the de facto law of the land is an act of Congress. The IRS budget will likely pass the House and Senate in the next week or two – and that will be the last chance to do anything to stop Obama this year.

How do you stop this?

I can’t guaranty Congress will listen, but you will have made your stand for the First Amendment and against tyranny.

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