The FBI office in Albany NY has apparently wasted the past year or so entrapping two morons who proposed to build a super atomic radiation-fired death ray for use on Muslims in an effort to protect Israel, on behalf of the KKK. Or something.
What likely drew the FBI’s rapt attention and investigative overkill was one of the men allegedly belonging to a website called “Americans Demanding Liberty and Freedom” which the local “progressive” newspaper describes as a “tea party group.”
Why didn’t the FBI just refer the “tea party” x-ray terrorists to the IRS? Surely the IRS would have known how to handle them!
“[T]his scandal isn’t a discrete event in which a president picks up a phone and tells someone in the White House to look into the finances of some steel industry executives, or to check out the returns of some guy on an enemies list.
But my friend got to the essence. He wrote, ‘Watergate was bad—don’t get me wrong. But it was elites using the machinery of government to spy on elites. . . . It’s something quite different when elites use the machinery of government against ordinary people. It’s a whole different ball game.’
It is . . .
In previous IRS scandals it was the powerful abusing the powerful—a White House moving against prominent financial or journalistic figures who, because of their own particular status or the machineries at their disposal, could pretty much take care of themselves. A scandal erupts, there are headlines, and then people go on their way. The dreadful thing about this scandal, what makes it ominous, is that this is the elites versus regular citizens. It’s the mighty versus normal people. It’s the all-powerful directors of the administrative state training their eyes and moving on uppity and relatively undefended Americans.
That’s what makes this scandal different, and why if it’s not stopped now it will never stop. Because every four years you can get yourself a new president and a new White House, but you won’t easily get yourself a whole new administrative state.
Former IRS chief Doug Shulman’s wife works with a liberal lobbying group, Public Campaign, where she is the senior program advisor. Public Campaign is an “organization dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.”
The goal of Public Campaign is to target political groups like the conservative non-profits at issue in the IRS scandal. The Campaign says it “is laying the foundation for reform by working with a broad range of organizations, including local community groups, around the country that are fighting for change and national organizations whose members are not fairly represented under the current campaign finance system.”
CEO of Public Campaign Nick Nyhart has offered words of support for the IRS’ targeting: “There are legitimate questions to be asked about political groups that are hiding behind a 501(c)4 status. It’s unfortunate a few bad apples at the IRS will make it harder for those questions to be asked without claims of bias.”
Public Campaign gets its cash from labor unions like AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, and Move On.
There’s no chance President Barack Obama knew nothing of the IRS targeting conservative groups, says political pundit Dick Morris.
“The incredible frequency of the White House visits — essentially weekly — indicate that Obama must have been deeply involved with the inner workings of the audits and harassment of conservative groups,” Morris writes on his website, DickMorris.com. Morris asks what other reason would have brought Schulman to the White House 157 times during the period that groups with “tea party,” “patriot” and other conservative buzzwords in their names were being targeted for extra scrutiny.
“Not ObamaCare. Not without having (Health and Human Services) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in attendance, you wouldn’t,” Morris says. “About Treasury issues? Deficit reduction? Not without Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.”
The reason, Morris says, is that Obama was following the IRS actions with an “obsessive, personal involvement.” The Citizens United ruling galvanized Obama into action, Morris says, and “tapped so deeply into his psyche that he was determined personally to supervise the castration of the wealthy people and groups whose access to the political system was opened wide by the (U.S. Supreme) Court.”
“Publicly released records show that embattled former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House at least 157 times during the Obama administration, more recorded visits than even the most trusted members of the president’s Cabinet.
Shulman’s extensive access to the White House first came to light during his testimony last week before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Shulman gave assorted answers when asked why he had visited the White House 118 times during the period that the IRS was targeting tea party and conservative nonprofits for extra scrutiny and delays on their tax-exempt applications.
By contrast, Shulman’s predecessor Mark Everson only visited the White House once during four yearsof service in the George W. Bush administration and compared the IRS’s remoteness from the president to “Siberia.” But the scope of Shulman’s White House visits — which strongly suggests coordination by White House officials in the campaign against the president’s political opponents — is even more striking in comparison to the publicly recorded access of cabinet members.
An analysis by The Daily Caller of the White House’s public “visitor access records” showed that every current and former member of President Obama’s Cabinet would have had to rack up at least 60 more public visits to the president’s home to catch up with ‘Douglas Shulman.’”
“The Washington Examiner reported on Monday that Mark Everson, Commissioner of Internal Revenue from 2003 to 2007, during the Bush administration, visited the White House exactly once while in office. Indeed he felt like he’d “moved to Siberia” so out of the ordinary political loop was he. But Douglas Shulman, Commissioner from 2008 to 2012, during the Obama administration, visited the White House 118 times just in 2010 and 2011. His successor, Steven Miller, also visited “numerous” times.”
“But the most important IRS story came not from the hearings but from Mike Huckabee’s program on Fox News Channel. He interviewed and told the story of Catherine Engelbrecht—a nice woman, a citizen, an American. She and her husband live in Richmond, Texas. They have a small manufacturing business. In the past few years she became interested in public policy and founded two groups, King Street Patriots and True the Vote.
In July 2010 she sent applications to the IRS for tax-exempt status. What followed was not the harassment, intrusiveness and delay we’re now used to hearing of. The U.S. government came down on her with full force.
In December 2010 the FBI came to ask about a person who’d attended a King Street Patriots function. In January 2011 the FBI had more questions. The same month the IRS audited her business tax returns. In May 2011 the FBI called again for a general inquiry about King Street Patriots. In June 2011 Engelbrecht’s personal tax returns were audited and the FBI called again. In October 2011 a round of questions on True the Vote. In November 2011 another call from the FBI. The next month, more questions from the FBI. In February 2012 a third round of IRS questions on True the Vote. In February 2012 a first round of questions on King Street Patriots. The same month the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms did an unscheduled audit of her business. (It had a license to make firearms but didn’t make them.) In July 2012 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did an unscheduled audit. In November 2012 more IRS questions on True the Vote. In March 2013, more questions. In April 2013 a second ATF audit.
All this because she requested tax-exempt status for a local conservative group and for one that registers voters and tries to get dead people off the rolls.”
“In the 1990′s, [Lois] Lerner also served as chief of enforcement at the Federal Elections Commission. Under her direction, the FEC undertook the largest enforcement action in its history — suing the Christian Coalition for violating campaign laws. The Christian Coalition won, but in one deposition, FEC lawyers asked a defendant if televangelist Pat Robertson prayed for him.
James Bopp, the Christian Coalition’s lawyer, said he was “shocked and appalled” by that. “Both political activity and religious activity are specifically protected by the First Amendment,” he said.
When Bopp learned years later that Lerner had been promoted to an IRS position, he became concerned. “She was in effect being promoted for what she had done at the Federal Election Commission and now was going to be expected … to replicate that at the IRS and now we know that’s exactly what happened,” he said.”
The Obama strategy for avoiding the political and legal consequences of the three primary scandals facing him is becoming clear. The Center sees the Obama strategy as follows:
1. AP/Fox News scandal: Obama’s “preferred” scandal. Obama is betting that the public will ultimately hold little sympathy for the mainstream media in the context of Obama protecting “national security” interests. Holder will soon take one for the team and resign.
2. Benghazi: This is Obama’s second favorite scandal because it is the most easy to politicize by blaming Republicans for “prolonging” a tragedy when “there is no there, there,” according to Obama. Besides, ultimately, Hillary is responsible and will eventually find herself under the bus.
3. IRS suppression of the Tea Party during the Presidential election: Obama’s most difficult challenge. The emerging strategy is to vigorously shove as many IRS employees, and soon White House staffers, under the bus as is necessary to insulate Obama. The campaign to portray the IRS as somehow confused by the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United v FCC opinion, and to further vilify the Tea Party, is beginning in earnest.