Here are a few other dots that may or may not be connected to the IRS’s anti-Tea Party efforts:
• In 2010, as the Jewish Press notes, a pro-Israel group called Z Street sued the IRS “claiming it had been told by an IRS agent that because the organization was ‘connected to Israel,’ its application for tax-exempt status would receive additional scrutiny.” As we wrote at the time, defenders of the IRS argued that the IRS’s actions might have been justified under Bob Jones University v. U.S., a 1983 Supreme Court decision that held the IRS could deny tax exemptions on the ground that an organization was “contrary to established public policy.” But Bob Jones did not permit viewpoint discrimination; it was the university’s conduct–racially discriminatory admissions practices–to which the IRS objected. (The first hearing in the Z Street case is scheduled for July.)
• In March 2012, the Puffington Host published a confidential form that the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, had filed with the IRS. The website obtained the document from the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-same-sex-marriage outfit. In a press release issued today, NOM says its analysis of the images “has determined that the documents came directly from the Internal Revenue Service.”
• Last July, our colleague Kim Strassel reported on the troubling case of Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot, who’d donated money to a pro-Romney organization. In April, an Obama campaign website “called out Mr. VanderSloot and seven other private donors by name and occupation and slurred them as having ‘less-than-reputable’ records.” Two months later he received an audit notice from the IRS. Two more weeks later the Department of Labor informed him it would audit his business.
• Last September, the Obama campaign issued an ad demanding that Mitt Romney release more of his tax returns: “What else is he hiding?” Earlier, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, claimed to know, the Puffington Host reported.
While no evidence has surfaced directly implicating the White House in the IRS abuses, it is not unreasonable to think that the pattern of abuse is responsive to the tone set by the man at the top of the executive branch. As Strassel observed:
Entrusted with extraordinary powers, Mr. Obama has the duty to protect and defend all Americans–regardless of political ideology. By having his campaign target a private citizen for his politics, the president forswore those obligations. He both undermined public faith in federal institutions and put his employees in an impossible situation.
Rush helps us remember that this is nothing new:
Did the White House use Romney’s tax returns against him? Was Harry Reid getting his crazy allegations about Romney’s taxes from the IRS? Remember when Harry Reid said, “Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes.”
“How do you know?”
“Well, good friends have told me.”
“I’m not gonna tell you who’s told me.” But it is clear, Austan Goolsbee demonstrates, you could pick up the phone, call the IRS, and they’d tell you what you wanted to know. Somebody at the IRS, it had to be the IRS, told Goolsbee about the Kochs’ tax returns. How did Harry Reid find out about Mitt Romney’s taxes? And we know that all of these Romney donors were targeted for audits by the IRS. We know that what’s-her-face, Janet Napolitano, in a memo to the Department of Homeland Security, warned law enforcement officials to be on the lookout for right-wing extremist grouped who were concerned about illegal immigration, abortion, increasing federal power and restrictions on firearms.
Folks, the fact of the matter is, this administration has targeted right-wing groups from practically every bureaucracy in the government. The idea that it’s something new and uncommon from the IRS is ludicrous. Clinton did it. Clinton had targeted audits of conservative groups. It isn’t anything new. But for some reason the media has joined the chorus of criticism on this one. And I’m convinced it’s because they have to save the IRS, and so it’s a little bit of damage control, among other things.
RUSH: Under Clinton the IRS went after the NRA, the Heritage Foundation, the National Review, the American Spectator, Freedom Alliance, American Policy Center, Citizens for Honest Government, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, Concerned Women for America, and on and on and on.
I am audited every year by the state of New York, still, after being gone since 1997. I’m in the middle of a nine-month audit right now for just the last year. I didn’t live there. I didn’t work there. I didn’t earn any money in New York, but it doesn’t matter. They’re so cash strapped they’ve got a division in Albany, I’m convinced, that just follows people who leave and move to no-income-tax states.
Local conservative columnist and radio host, Howie Carr, recalls the time when the administration of Governor Michael Dukakis launched a state audit of him (only to have to cancel it and apologize later). He faced federal audits as well. (Here’s some audio that comes in on the middle of the story.)
Conservatives are a persecuted minority.