On July 10th, the IRS held a press conference to formally apologize for elements and/or individuals within the organization who they now admit were specifically targeting conservative organizations during the 2012 election season for additional scrutiny. Any organization using the title “tea” or “patriot” was flagged for a review of their tax returns. Of the 300 organizations flagged for scrutiny in Cincinnati, 75 of them were conservative organizations identifying with the tea party movement.
But this is not the worst part of the problem. There’s good evidence that, across multiple states, conservative organizations were targeted by the IRS in numerous ways. From unusually long questionnaires demanding membership rosters and donor lists, to warning letters sent out to donors suggesting that their contributions to 501(c) groups could be retroactively taxed. And all this right as the 2012 election season began to heat up.
Could this be seen by some as an attempt to chill political speech? Of course. Even liberal NY Time opinion columnist Maureen Dowd agrees with this!
How did the White House respond to this revelation? How do you think? They blamed Bush of course!
The claim made by IRS representatives that these are isolated incidents from low-level workers is not credible. Already there are indications that other types of groups were targeted. Yesterday, National Review reported that “Along with targeting tea-party groups, the IRS may also have given extra-special attention to the tax-exempt status of some Jewish groups for political reasons.” They are calling this, appropriately, the “IRS Inquisition.”
Coming on the heels of a looming (and blooming) Benghazi scandal, this is very bad news for the president. Last week, Obama was trying to explain why he was still relevant to the political process. Now this.
Despite the fact the IRS is led by a Bush appointee (this is almost certainly why the story broke in the first place), the fact is, when voices at the top of the political chain constantly suggest that your political enemies are racists and closeted terrorists, of course those who agree ideologically are going to act on those sentiments. And it just so happens that the IRS is one of the most dominant and powerful government organizations in this country, with the ability to destroy lives, companies, and harass those who are simply trying to make their voices heard through organizations they support.
This dawning new IRS scandal, with its blatant and overtly hostile assault upon conservatives, has forced coverage even by mainstream media outlets. This, in short is one of the fruits of excessive government. A government grown so large and powerful and dominant, that it ignores the boundaries set out by the Constitution and seeks hidden and subtle ways around the rights that all Americans enjoy.
Americans must express appropriate outrage over this illegal use of government power. Liberal or conservative, we must err on the side of freedom.
More coming on this IRS Inquisition.