Polls show most Americans – Democrats and Republicans – acknowledge the Internal Revenue Service was used to target groups and individuals who were critical of Barack Obama’s policies.
So why has this scandal gone nowhere? Where are the consequences? What happened to the rigorous investigation one might expect for a high crime that strikes at the very heart of the American body politick?
Perhaps no one in America is better positioned to explain this than me.
In the mid-1990s, my nonprofit news organization, the predecessor to WND, was targeted for audit by Bill Clinton and his IRS. The tipoff? When the audit began, the IRS agent announced it to my accountant like this: “It’s a political audit, and the decision will be made at the national level.” Later, at a meeting in my office involving me, our corporate counsel, our accountant and two representatives of the IRS, one of them made the following statement about the audit: “What do you expect to happen when you criticize the president of the United States in an election year?”
But the final proof came years later when we got to see a heavily redacted version of a report on the Treasury Department’s investigation of the case. Though this report was designed to whitewash the allegations of abuse of the IRS for the purpose of political targeting, note this conclusion about the case of the Western Center for Journalism: “The audit originated from a taxpayer who faxed a letter to the White House expressing his concern over a one-page advertisement paid for by the WCJ. … The fax was forwarded to the EO (IRS Exempt Office) National Office and then to the respective Key District Office for appropriate actions.”
Bill Clinton’s Treasury Department admitted here that the audit of my news organization originated with a letter written by a taxpayer to the White House, which forwarded it to the IRS office dealing with tax-exempt organizations for action.
That taxpayer letter was specifically written to Bill Clinton who sent it on to his political appointee who headed the IRS exempt office.
Now some people, like me – and maybe you – would look at this chain of events and the supporting documents and recognize they represent the smoking gun that proves the IRS was used by Bill Clinton to target his critics. But that’s not what the Treasury Department found. Instead, it concluded that since Bill Clinton didn’t personally write a note on that letter instructing IRS officials to audit me and my organization, and since all the IRS agents involved denied any wrongdoing, there was no harm, no foul.
I was uniquely positioned to see how Clinton’s IRS scandal was covered up through delays, stonewalling and withholding evidence because I was more than a target. I was also the guy who broke the story – not just of my experience but of the Clinton administration’s systematic use of the IRS to go after its political enemies, from dozens of conservative nonprofits to individual critics to the “bimbo eruptions,” as Clinton’s inner circle disparagingly referred to the parade of women who threatened to tarnish his reputation.
There was no WND back then. It wasn’t founded until 1997. So I had to tell the story through the auspices of the Wall Street Journal editorial pages, which were good enough to devote more than a dozen reports to this subject.
So, you might say, I witnessed the Clinton IRS scandal up close and personal. I had a unique birds-eye view – both as target and as whistleblower.
After all was said and done, I made a prediction based on that experience: Since Clinton got away with “murder” when there were no consequences for his abuse of the IRS as a political attack dog, it would surely happen again.
And it has – big time – during the Obama administration.
We must not let this sad chapter in American history repeat itself with stonewalling, delays of investigations and no justice, no adjudication, no consequences.
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact [email protected].