Actually, I have a higher opinion of President Obama: he’s a pain in the ass, not the foot.
People for the American Way, founded in 1981 by television producer Norman Lear, makes no secret that it is an advocate of a “wide variety of liberal causes.” The nonprofit’s 501 tax-exempt status has never been challenged by the Internal Revenue Service.
It’s a different story for Friends of Abe, a right-leaning Hollywood group whose membership includes actors Gary Sinise, Jon Voight and Kelsey Grammer. The nonprofit’s application for tax-exempt status has been “under review” by President Obama’s IRS for two years.
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the federal tax authorities presented Friends of Abe (as in Abraham Lincoln) with a 10-point demand for detailed information about its meetings with various conservative political figures.
That follows a previous IRS demand that Friends of Abe give its enforcers enhanced access to its security-protected website, enabling the feds to identify the group’s members.
The agency’s demands on the Hollywood nonprofit raise renewed suspicion that the IRS continues to target conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they apply for tax-exempt status; continues to hold right-leaning groups like Friends of Abe to a different standard than unabashed liberal groups like People for the American Way.
The IRS hasn’t been been punished in the least for its disenfranchisement of American citizens, delivering the 2012 election to Obama. They couldn’t have been more intimidating if they had worn black fatigues and berets and carried truncheons.
Oh sorry, that was 2008:
FOA members have good reason to fear being identified to the IRS. Last year the agency was revealed to have leaked confidential donor information about the National Organization for Marriage to the Human Rights Campaign, an antagonist in the debate over same-sex marriage. HRC promptly posted the purloined information online. LifeSiteNews.com reported in October that congressional investigators had identified the leaker, “but in an ironic twist, the Internal Revenue Service is forbidden from disclosing whether the employee has been prosecuted, fired, or even reprimanded.”
The IRS’s intrusive tactics thus have a chilling effect on people who wish to exercise their First Amendment right of free association without attracting public attention–or, more precisely, the attention of vicious ideological antagonists. Even calling attention to those tactics can compound the problem, as illustrated by FOA’s need to reassure its members in the wake of the Times story. The gradual accretion of power by a vast administrative state, combined with an administration intolerant of dissent, has produced a clear and present danger to basic American freedoms.
Remember one of the demands by the IRS on one of the Tea Part groups?
“Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers.”
I’m pretty sure that violates some part of the Constitution—maybe the part about not coveting your neighbor’s donkey—but I know for a fact it’s one of the most poorly constructed sentences ever written in what I take to be English.
Obama has seen what he’s gotten away with so far, and just keeps going. The executive branch will now ignore the legislative, leaving only the judicial branch as a check or balance. How you feeling about our chances?